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James Bellert (#48157908)
 member for 1 year, 7 months, 12 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 Ancestry.com. 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!!!

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 (269)[Leave Message]
Diane Anderson
Fischer
Thank you very much for the photos, going above and beyond in the snow. I really appreciate it.
Added by Diane Anderson on Jan 26, 2015 5:43 PM
Martin Sohlberg
Dorothy Dolly Mason
Thank you very much for your extremely fast response to my request for the headstone photo especially in light of the winter weather.
Regards,
Martin
Added by Martin Sohlberg on Jan 26, 2015 7:26 AM
Diane Anderson
Fischer
Thank you vey much for the photo and your message. I appreciate your contributions to Findagrave.
Added by Diane Anderson on Jan 25, 2015 4:25 PM
dan smith
the grabbe family
I am wondering if you could transfer ownership of the grabbe family-henry-his wife, fred -his wife to me-also if yyou could find the true last names of fred's daughter's real last names-thank you.dan
Added by dan smith on Jan 23, 2015 11:12 AM
Wendy M.
Artie Gray memorial
Thank you so much for catching my mistake of creating a duplicate memorial for Artie Gray. I have deleted the duplicate. If you should find any other corrections to be made, please don't hesitate to let me know.
Added by Wendy M. on Jan 16, 2015 4:29 AM
Beth Hansen
RE: Betty Meeks
Hi James,

Thanks for making that change, and yes, that would be lovely if you'd transfer management. I'm on a genealogy tear right now, so that would work out well.

thanks so much,
Beth Hansen
Added by Beth Hansen on Jan 12, 2015 9:13 PM
Beth Hansen
Betty Meeks
Hello,

Could you please connect my mother to her mother and step-father?

Betty Meeks 132999556
Cora Cook 68023664
Russell Cook 68023655

They are now buried next to one another in Evergreen Cemetery, Barrington, Illinois.

Thank you,
Beth Meeks Hansen
Added by Beth Hansen on Jan 12, 2015 8:25 PM
Shaun E.
Thanks James!
Thanks so much for the quick transfer of my relatives......thank you so much for adding them, taking time to photograph the gravestones and add in additional information that you found out...

I thank you big time and owe you a big dinner out sometime soon, I am in Cary nw burbs so stay in touch....thanks Shaun Ehrke
Added by Shaun E. on Jan 12, 2015 10:10 AM
Shaun E.
Hello from Shaun Ehrke FaG Member
Hello James,

Happy New Year! I still am working hard on my family history but I wish I could sit sometime and learn from a pro like you.....hint hint...

Anyhow can you please transfer these family names to me, so far as my research is going these are my
relations....I know there are many many other Ehrkes...but I am starting with these folks as I have notes and some new photos to add to their Find A Grave sites....I of course will give you full credit for the creation and any photos you have taken......please stay in touch....thanks

Shaun Ehrke
shaunehrke@yahoo.com
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Alwine Ehrke
Find A Grave Memorial# 134520658

Ida Ehrke
Find A Grave Memorial# 134520656

Fred Ehrke
Find A Grave Memorial# 134520660
Added by Shaun E. on Jan 11, 2015 8:54 PM
Jennifer Hamilton
Matilda Edgerton Photo
Thank you so much for the photo, especially since her stone will be completely unreadable before long. I appreciate your time and effort very much. Jen
Added by Jennifer Hamilton on Jan 09, 2015 4:20 AM
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