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James Bellert (#48157908)
 member for 3 years, 7 months
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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 (447)[Leave Message]
Alan Carlton
Grave Photos
Thank you very much for taking photographs of the grave of Peter Klaus Voss.
Added by Alan Carlton on Jan 09, 2017 12:08 PM
Laura Aanenson
Edward Coash
Hi James,

I received your suggested edits (birth/death dates/locations) for the memorial above. Would you please provide the source(s) of your information?

Thank you for keeping Find A Grave an accurate and valuable genealogical tool!


PS: If you are related to Edward, please let me know how. I would be happy to transfer his memorial to a family member.
Added by Laura Aanenson on Jan 08, 2017 10:38 AM
Find A Grave Memorial# 64953833
Coash family on the memorial above.

I have posted a photo on his memorial. Please let me know if you want me to delete it. I don't want to leave it there if you don't want me to.
Thanks, Pam
Added by MidwestMom on Jan 02, 2017 3:23 PM
Gail Helton
Randall Nolde

Thank you so much for taking the photo of Randall Nolde's gravestone. I think it completes a memorial to have a gravestone included. I appreciate the time you took to photograph this.
Take care and thanks again,
Gail Karch Helton
Added by Gail Helton on Dec 29, 2016 3:35 PM
Thank you so much for the updated picture and in this weather!
Added by Todd on Dec 14, 2016 10:29 AM
RE: Barle and Hauer
Thank you for letting me know this.
Added by anonymous on Dec 11, 2016 1:33 PM
Michael Stanley Klimczak
RE: Checking in
Hi Jim,

Nice to hear back from you. So sorry to hear about the failing health of your mother-in-law, that's tough. I'm glad you're confident in who you feel is your biological father. Everyone deserves to know who their real parents were. My younger sister from adopted from birth (long story) and doesn't want anything to do with me or our parents; it's a sad situation, but life goes on. I'm having my father do an Ancestry DNA test (I already did one) so that I can see how results differ from mine. Oh, and I recently established contact with cousins in Poland, how cool is that?! They've given me SO much information that it's hard to keep up, but I'm loving it!

Have a nice holiday season, whatever you celebrate.


Added by Michael Stanley Klimczak on Dec 06, 2016 8:20 PM
Michael Stanley Klimczak
Checking in
Hi James. How are things going? Have you made any progress in your family tree since our last talk?
Added by Michael Stanley Klimczak on Nov 27, 2016 1:05 PM
Added by Deirdre on Nov 24, 2016 12:10 PM
Darlene Aeverman
Thank you ! James for the recent photo you have added to the memorial of Darlene Schaefer Aeverman her paternal great-grandparents, Michael Schaefer and Katherine Pitzen, are my maternal 2x great-grandparents. I recently discovered her memorial while 'connecting' family memorials together ~
Added by Sandie on Nov 22, 2016 7:01 PM
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