Actions
Begin New Search
Refine Last Search
Cemetery Lookup
Add Burial Records
Help with Find A Grave

Top Contributors
Success Stories
Discussion Forums
Find A Grave Store

Log In
Advertisement
James Bellert (#48157908)
 member for 2 years, 2 months, 15 days
[Add to MyFriends]
Bio and Links
Bio Photo AUG. 31, 2015: SEE UPDATE BELOW!

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!!!

2015 UPDATE:

By the miracle of DNA studies, I found a genetic link to my biological father. 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 98% 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 biological half sister might know more about this, but I need to know more before I approach her. 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.
 Contact: Leave Public Message
Contributions to
Find A Grave
 • 14,393 Memorials Added
 • 14,335 Memorials Managed
 • 124 Memorials/Week
 • 22,729 Photos
 • 2 Photo Requests
 • 435 Volunteer Photos Taken
 • 14,835 Virtual Flowers
 • 6 Virtual Cemeteries
 • 85 Fame Ratings
 • 33 Sponsorships
 • 4 Friends
Search Contributor's Records

 
First NameLast Name

Virtual Cemeteries
Crooked Creek (9)
Famous (57)
Maternal Birth Family (21)
Paternal Birth Family (8)
Seven Angels Victims (7)
Windridge Memorial Park a... (1)
Find A Grave Friends
Carol Girvin, Carolyn Whitake..., Gary Feezel, Wendy M.
Messages left for James Bellert (347)[Leave Message]
J Peabody
RE: F Borchart Algonquin Cemetery
Thanks for the quick reply!
J
Added by J Peabody on Sep 01, 2015 2:34 PM
J Peabody
F Borchart Algonquin Cemetery
Hello James

I am a fellow contributor to Find A Grave. I was wondering if I could copy your picture of my 2nd G reat Grandparents F. Borchart and Fredericke Borchart?

Do you remember which side the street this grave is? I have posted many pics from this cemetery and would like to visit it myself.

Thanks in advance for your response.

Jay Peabody
Added by J Peabody on Sep 01, 2015 1:11 PM
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
[View all messages...]
 

Privacy Statement and Terms of Service