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James Bellert (#48157908)
 member for 2 years, 2 months, 11 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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Contributions to
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 • 14,393 Memorials Added
 • 14,330 Memorials Managed
 • 125 Memorials/Week
 • 22,729 Photos
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 • 435 Volunteer Photos Taken
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 • 5 Virtual Cemeteries
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Messages left for James Bellert (345)[Leave Message]
Carolyn
RE: Request for transfer of a memorial
Yes, it is sorry for the error. His son is Jr. Thank you for your prompt reply.
Added by Carolyn on Aug 26, 2015 4:56 PM
Carolyn
Request for transfer of a memorial
Hi James,
My name is Carolyn and I found you had entered a memorial for one of my uncles. His name is Jerry Severson, Jr. and his findagrave is #122663943. I would like to request that you transfer this memorial to me ... Carolyn #46784228
Thank you for your consideration of this matter.
Added by Carolyn on Aug 26, 2015 3:11 PM
Laura
Slade stones
I appreciate the pictures of the Slade family stones you took for me! I noticed you took one of Betsey Ann Slade Sefton and I got excited for a second. I'm looking for Betsy Ann (Downing) Slade who was married to John P. Slade. He isn't buried in Hillside. I believe she may be in ILL. because the last record I've found of her is she is living with her dad Digary Slade and her dau. Mary in ILL at the age of 67. Her birth year was 1843 and she died after 1910 (last record of her). Would love to find this lady.
Added by Laura on Aug 26, 2015 2:03 PM
Keith Erickson
Kenneth & Richard Hubbard Edits
Thank you very much for processing the edits for Kenneth & Richard. They are my wife's uncle and 1st cousin. We are very happy to add their cemetery information to our family genealogy. My we use your photos of the headstones to connect to our family tree on ancestry.com? Thank You very much. Nancy & Keith Erickson
Added by Keith Erickson on Aug 16, 2015 6:09 PM
Sue Tanner
Hi
Hi James, Thanks for the flower on Rose memorial. I appreciate that.
I read your story and while I do not have a similar story, I can feel some of your pain.
I hope things are getting better for you.

Just wanted to express my appreciation for the flower. Sue
Added by Sue Tanner on Aug 14, 2015 1:47 PM
Marvin & Samme Templin
Nowaczek Requests
Thanks for filling our requests.
Added by Marvin & Samme Templin on Aug 13, 2015 4:33 PM
kck
John Sedivec
Thanks so much for the wonderful pictures!
Added by kck on Aug 12, 2015 3:09 PM
Michael Stanley Klimczak
RE: Your bio
Thank you so much for fulfilling my two Pazdro photo requests. Take care.
Added by Michael Stanley Klimczak on Aug 03, 2015 11:53 AM
Michael Stanley Klimczak
Your bio
Hi James,

I stumbled upon your bio after seeing that you've claimed a couple photo requests to memorials I've made this morning.

You and I share a similar past. I was taken from my birth parents in 1989 (at age 4) and placed in a couple different Chicago area orphanages until age 17. I was then spit out of the system and had nowhere to go, so I went to college. I now teach at a college northern Illinois.

One year ago this month I saw my birth parents for the first time in over 25 years! The experience was excitingly overwhelming to say the least. I can level with you on what it's like to see pictures of relatives who look like you and sadly, discovering that many have passed on. Visiting my of my parents graves (from both sides of the family) was a very sad experience for me.

Like you, I now use Ancestry and Find-A-Grave to piece my family history back together, and boy what an experience it has been for me. I've since met my grand-aunt (my paternal grandmother's last surviving younger sister) who is now 90 years old! I was able to celebrate that milestone birthday with her this past March. I've also met so many relatives and family members. I also treasure my vast collection of photos, documents, and stories that I've dictated from stories I've heard in the family.

You're not alone and there are many more of us out there. I'm very glad that you shared your story. I share your affinity for helping others by contributing to this website. Thanks for sharing your story.

Mike
Added by Michael Stanley Klimczak on Aug 02, 2015 7:51 PM
Tree Climber
Willam Hutchinson Smith Grave Photo
Thanks for taking the grave photo. Wondering if it is okay to copy and use the photo, provided you are credited as the photographer. Thanks!
Added by Tree Climber on Jul 27, 2015 11:03 AM
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