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James Bellert (#48157908)
 member for 4 years, 3 months, 3 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 "this child is a 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 23andMe.com). 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?

And Find A Grave was a BIG help as the graves and cemetery locatations confirmed one of the bits of information about my father that I obtained from the adoption agency. My quest for my heritage has been rekindled! Any suggestions are welcome!

2017 UPDATE:

I was able to create a family tree on my biological father's side which links me to my DNA relative identified by Ancestry.com. Ancestry predicted the DNA relative and I would be 2nd or 3rd cousins. The family tree, with paper documentation, proves we are actually 3rd Cousins, Once Removed. This adds further credence to my knowledge that the man I identified as my biological father is, indeed, the correct man. I am proven to be related to the DNA-identified man, and the only way we can be linked is via the man I discovered to be my biological father.

In the meantime, I have submitted another sample for DNA testing, this time it is specifically for a Y DNA test which may be able to identify the surname to which my DNA is linked.

The quest continues!

A HUMOROUS NOTE:

I had asked my half-brother in England if he remembered anything about who my father could be. Robert was about six years old when our mother got pregnant with me. He was convinced that our mother was seeing the actor, Forrest Tucker when Robert was about six and remembers Forrest Tucker coming to his house with our mother at Christmas and giving each of the kids a present. I knew from the "non-identifying" biographical information I had paid the adoption agency to send me that my father was supposed to have been born in 1919 and, in fact, Forrest Tucker WAS born in 1919. So, I thought there was a possibility Robert was correct.

Well, I knew from the "non-identifying" biographical information about my father supplied by the adoption agency that my father was a truck driver, had German descent, was Catholic, and couldn't marry our mother. Long story short, the man I was able to identify through DNA and Ancestry.com and Find A Grave, was named Charles Coash. Charles was a truck driver, his mother was of German descent, was from Cullom, Illinois, which is very close to Kankakee where my mother was working as a waitress at the time of my conception. Charles also had relatives living in Kankakee. They were all Catholic. Charles was born in 1919 and he couldn't (or wouldn't) have married my mother without getting a divorce from his bride of less than one year (he remained married to her until about a year before he died).

The funny part of this is that Charles was a truck driver doing contract work for farmers in and around Cullom, Illinois. Cullom is 20 or 30 miles to another small farming community that would have been on his route. That other small town is Forrest, Illinois. Forrest with 2 "r's." So, my father was a Forrest Trucker, not Forrest Tucker!!!

Too bad Robert died before I could tell him about my discovery.
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Messages left for James Bellert (608)[Leave Message]
J B
RE: Reotutar's
Ok!! thank you so much for trying!! I really do appreciate it a lot!!

J B
Added by J B on Sep 18, 2017 10:27 AM
J B
St. Michael Cemetery in Palatine
Hi there!! i have a couple requests i just posted and i was curious if you could help me out with? i would appreciate it a lot!!

J B
Added by J B on Sep 14, 2017 9:37 PM
JJH
headstone request
Thank you for taking the time to try to locate a headstone for Almeda Skidmore. There is not a need to post any pictures.
Thanks again
Julee
Added by JJH on Sep 14, 2017 8:38 PM
bikerspade
Hennessey
Thank you for taking the photo in Huntley!
Added by bikerspade on Sep 13, 2017 1:16 PM
Russ Gunther
Thank you James
Hi James,
Thank you for photographing the Becker family plots.

Much appreciated,
Russ Gunther
Added by Russ Gunther on Sep 10, 2017 1:48 PM
Joanne T
Thank you!
Thank you for all your information from the library on the burials at Deer Grove Cemetery.

I appreciate it!

I hope sometime I can return the favor!

Joanne
Added by Joanne T on Sep 05, 2017 4:08 PM
Beth Flasker
You have a very interesting life story
Thank goodness for DNA for your sake and others like yourself. I further understand that the 23andme site is more on the health part of DNA matches too which are great in your instance and good in mine too as I'm sure others in my family tree also gave children up for adoption who were out of wedlock and with the day/age and even conditions back then, they had too for survival- not to justify anything but the more I dig into my relatives history the more I pay homage to them because it wasn't easy nor were the working conditions even good or healthy back in the day(I.E.: coal miners, steel workers, even window washers for skyscrapers) back then- safety and health weren't concerns as they are today, yet many people le dies due to the conditions or events (i.e.: Great fire of Chicago, potato famine, industrial revolution,to the Halocaust, etc). It makes me truely respect my older family generations who came from the old country to make a better life for themselves in America. Oddly enough I find my family roots were from the death camp areas in Poland, talking about hard to find family roots around that time.
I respect your search and thank you for sharing your story.
Respectfully,
Beth
Added by Beth Flasker on Sep 04, 2017 12:02 PM
Beth Flasker
RE: Re: John C. Thompson
Yes please, James and thank you so very much! You've helped me leaps and bounds with your response email!
Thank you
Thank you
Thank you!!!
Added by Beth Flasker on Sep 04, 2017 11:49 AM
Bob Puw
RE: Anette Edwards
Hi Jim
Request has now been removed
Thanks again
Bob
Added by Bob Puw on Aug 31, 2017 6:27 AM
Bob Puw
Anette Edwards
Hello James
I have seen your message regarding the burial of Annette Edwards in Evergreen Cemetery.
I am grateful to you for your efforts in attempting to find the grave. My interest is more in her husband, Thomas Page Edwards, who is buried in New Jersey. He was of Welsh descent and I do have a photo of his grave.
I do not really need to pursue this request further.
Thank you for your effort
Bob Puw
Cardiff
Wales
Added by Bob Puw on Aug 31, 2017 4:37 AM
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