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James Bellert (#48157908)
 member for 3 years, 4 months, 3 days
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Bio and Links
Bio Photo I was born at St. Vincent's Orphanage in Chicago. I spent most of my adult years and much money and time trying to find my biological mother. Finally, in 1996, Catholic Charities SOLD me a redacted biography of my birth mother. I had also obtained a copy of the Decree of Adoption in which her name was listed. I was able to use her name and the redacted bio to focus my search and finally locate her and her other children, both legitimate and illegitimate. When I made that discovery I was in the town in which my grandparents raised my mother and other kids and the town in which my biological grandparents were buried. It was the microfiche of the obituaries which led me to the discovery of my birthmother and her family.

Unless you are an adoptee, I don't think you can fully understand the feeling of connection and authentication as a member of the human race I had when I visited the cemetery in that town and saw the graves of my grandparents to whom I was actually biologically related. I went on to do a lot of genealogy research, now made so much easier by websites like Find A Grave and I traced my mother's side back to England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, in some cases back to the 1000's!

All that knowledge obtained because I found the graves of my grandparents! If I can help another person find that feeling of connection and authentication by posting a photograph of a marker or creating a memorial on Find A Grave to go with it, I couldn't be happier.

All is not warm and fuzzy, though. Not in my case. But mine is unusual as over 92% of all birthmothers welcome a reunion with the child they "adopted out." Illinois enacted a law in recent years allowing adult adoptees to obtain copies of their original birth certificates (but not their adoption records). I had always wanted a copy of my original birth certificate because I somehow felt it would give me authenticity as a human being. Maybe that sounds ridiculous, but it's a feeling shared by many adoptees. We weren't born, we were adopted! Well, virtually ALL of the entries about my birthmother on that certificate were falsified by Catholic Charities! Her married name was shown where it required her maiden name, her marital status was false, the number of previous births was wrong, and the address given as her place of usual residence was the address of the ORPHANAGE! The father's name is "Legally Omitted." That was legal lingo for "Bastard."

Learning about my genetic physical and mental health was only one of the reasons I needed to search for my birth families. It was less a reason for searching and more of an excuse to give to non-adoptees for why I wanted to search. At least non-adoptees might understand the need to know your medical history as a reason to search.

And the discoveries you make about health issues, both mental and physical, are not always what you hope to hear. My biological mother's family is rampant with diabetes and alcoholism, two afflictions I am fortunate enough not to suffer. And I discovered that mental traits may very well be genetic. Many of my biological relatives are reclusive to an extreme. And, that is one of my traits, I do admit.

I would do all the searching again, though. The greatest experience was seeing actual living people, and photographs of people, that I actually LOOK LIKE!!!

2015 UPDATE:

By the miracle of DNA studies, I found a genetic link to my biological father (on I was linked to a man who is my predicted second cousin. This second cousin gave me enough biographical information to enable me to determine the man who was VERY probably my biological father! Without going into all the details, I am about 99% sure that this man is my father! I've explained all the reasoning to my wife (an extremely brilliant woman) who agrees that he is in all likelihood my father. Unfortunately, he died in 1977 and left no other children. Also, I'm not sure how I can verify with 100% certainty that he is my father. The second cousin has clammed up. If I had just a little bit more information from him, I could be absolutely certain.

My father died at age 58 of a heart attack. He had two brothers who also died in their 50's. My grandfather died in his 70's of heart disease. It seems heart disease may be an inherited malady. I've already outlived my father and uncles. It sure would be helpful to know for sure, wouldn't it?

My quest for my heritage has been rekindled! Any suggestions are welcome!

PLEASE NOTE: In the spirit of being helpful, I had been posting obituaries to the memorial I created, and people often suggest I add an obituary to a memorial. But, I discovered a response by Find A Grave in their "Help With Find a Grave" section that obituaries may NOT be copied from websites or newspapers and posted to memorial unless you get written permission from the source to do so. I admit the wording to that response is a bit ambiguous, so I emailed Find A Grave to ask them if they can rewrite the response so it is more clear (they're considering it), and also to verify that I was interpreting the response correctly. Find A Grave replied that we may NOT copy and paste an obituary into a memorial unless we have WRITTEN permission from the souce. The written permission need not be posted but should be kept in case a problem ever arises. If you DO get written permission, then the rules in the FAQ response should be followed. So, this is why I will not post obituaries to memorials unless you have written permission from the source.
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Messages left for James Bellert (437)[Leave Message]
Kathy Ripke
Thank you for your thoughtful response. And I understand the policy trying to protect the privacy of living individuals. If I re-write the obits into short bios, respecting the Find A Grave rules, can I have you post them to their respective memorials?
I appreciate your already making the additions to their memorials that I sent as edits.
Kathy Ripke
Added by Kathy Ripke on Oct 14, 2016 11:29 AM
RE: Windridge
Thank you for helping me out!! very much appreciated!! im sorry if i had lots of requests that made the Windridge office feel suspicious!! but i have been to Windridge only a couple of times and yes i do agree that it is a beautiful cemetery!! very nice looking!!!!

Added by J B on Oct 10, 2016 6:53 PM
RE: Windridge
Oh!!!! I did not know that!! Should I delete my requests?

Added by J B on Oct 10, 2016 11:09 AM
Thank you for helping me out!! very much appreciated!! ill have more request sent out for Windridge even though im not sure if they would have a head stone!!

Added by J B on Oct 09, 2016 11:47 AM
Howard Mueller
George Mueller
Re: Find A Grave Memorial #119884121.
Mr. Bellert. First of all I would like to thank you for adding my father's grave marker to Find A Grave. I added a photo but would like to add additional info such as parents, obit, etc. Is it possible to turn this memorial to me to maintain?


Howard C. Mueller
Added by Howard Mueller on Oct 05, 2016 4:39 PM
Roxanne S.
RE: Re: John Losin, Crystal Lake, IL
Hi James,

I appreciate the fact that their tombstone picture was even taken! I just wanted to let you know of the death year for John.

Intonation is not always easy to detect correctly in an on line message.

Thank you for your response!
Added by Roxanne S. on Sep 20, 2016 4:28 PM
Roxanne S.
Re: John Losin, Crystal Lake, IL

John is my great grandfather on my paternal side. I was 4 when he died in 1979. You did not clean off the headstone when you got his information (if you see the picture, you have 1972).

I was born in 1975 and remember his service there in Crystal lake in 1979.

Please correct, thank you for your time.

Roxanne S.

Added by Roxanne S. on Sep 20, 2016 11:44 AM
Myrtle Ennis
Sally Isabel "Dawaa" Davis Martin
Dear Mr Bellert

You managed a memorial of Sally Isabel "Dawaa" Davis Martin # 132998945--she was my cousin--if you are not related to her would you consider putting the management of her memorial in my care--Thank you for reading this request --Myrtle Ennis #47571243
Added by Myrtle Ennis on Aug 31, 2016 8:18 PM
Thank you SO much for transferring my grandparents' memorial to me.

Added by heleninnj on Aug 29, 2016 2:30 PM
Jay Wade
Rollin & Marie Peterson
Would like permission to use tombstone photo. If allowed how would you like photo credit given? My usual line is: photo credit belongs to and used with permission of Find A Grave member, then your name.
Added by Jay Wade on Aug 20, 2016 9:44 AM
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