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James Bellert (#48157908)
 member for 2 years, 17 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
Find A Grave
 • 14,383 Memorials Added
 • 14,323 Memorials Managed
 • 134 Memorials/Week
 • 22,627 Photos
 • 2 Photo Requests
 • 418 Volunteer Photos Taken
 • 14,764 Virtual Flowers
 • 5 Virtual Cemeteries
 • 85 Fame Ratings
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Virtual Cemeteries
Birth Family (21)
Crooked Creek (9)
Famous (57)
Seven Angels Victims (7)
Windridge Memorial Park a... (1)
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Carol Girvin, Carolyn Whitake..., Gary Feezel, Wendy M.
Messages left for James Bellert (331)[Leave Message]
RWS
Kobiella
Thank you for the marker photos for Kobiella family member at St. Michael the Archangel Cemetery in Palatine, IL.
Gratefully, RWS
Added by RWS on Jul 05, 2015 2:03 PM
randrjones
Biography
Thank you for sharing your story. I recently found out about an ancestor of mine putting a child up for adoption and have been in contact with my "new" cousin. Thank you for all the hard work you do on findagrave!
Added by randrjones on Jul 01, 2015 3:38 PM
Jason Bruno
Correction
James,

My name is Jason Bruno. I am a Family Service Counselor here at Windridge Memorial Park. I recently sat with the Tegtmeyer family and their Mother, who is still with us, has the wrong middle name listed. I submitted the correction from Janice to June. Please change this and if you need me or have any questions for me please email or call me at 847 639 3883. Also , if you need anything from me here I would be more than happy to help in any way that I can. Thank you!

-Jason Bruno
Added by Jason Bruno on Jun 30, 2015 3:30 PM
rmw
Henry L Stadfeld
Hi Jim,

Thank you for fulfilling my photo request. I have deleted my memorial as you suggested. I did not know that there was another memorial. I am somewhat new to find a grave and all of the tricks to "finding a grave". I will keep learning and hoping for suggestions from other contributors like yourself.

Thanks again,

Roberta
#48384373
Added by rmw on Jun 30, 2015 12:57 PM
Rebecca Wright
Nellie Fox Taylor
Dear James,

Thank you for the really nice clear photo of Nellie's grave marker. I appreciate your time to do this!

Best regards,

Rebecca #47388083
Added by Rebecca Wright on Jun 27, 2015 9:41 AM
Daniel J. Haase
RE: CHRISTIAN STEINWART
Thank you for your assistance. Keep up the great work.
Added by Daniel J. Haase on Jun 24, 2015 4:36 PM
rmw
Donald Holst 139500181
Hi Jim,

I was hoping that you would post your photo of Donald's memorial to the Charles Donald Holst #5094670 site. I believe that they are duplicates of one another, but the one that i care for was established in 2000. I am new at this, so I don't know the procedure for duplicates!

Thanks in advance,

Roberta
#48384373
Added by rmw on Jun 23, 2015 11:45 PM
DAVID MUEHLING
MARTHA MUEHLING
Jim,

Thanks for the update and flowers for my sister's grave at Evergreen Cemetery in Barrington, Illinois. My parents first child.

Dave
Added by DAVID MUEHLING on Jun 20, 2015 8:31 AM
Holly Mishke
RE: Lakowski's in St. Michael Cemetery
Thanks for getting back to me. Bradley is not a name I am familiar with. As for the spelling of the name, within the family some spelled it with an i and others with an e. Yes, it is the correct grave.
Added by Holly Mishke on Jun 17, 2015 11:19 AM
Holly Downing
Photo request fulfilled
Thank you so much for the photo of my G-G-G grandfathers grave!! Much appreciated!!
Added by Holly Downing on Jun 09, 2015 10:22 AM
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