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James Bellert (#48157908)
 member for 4 years, 2 months
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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 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 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 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!


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 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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Adopted Family (24)
Crooked Creek (9)
Famous and Infamous (160)
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Messages left for James Bellert (589)[Leave Message]
Fred Grunwald
Hoppenworth Photo's
Thanks very much for the nice photo of the Hoppenworth stone. Also for posting Charlotte's memorial. I was not sure where she was buried.

Nice work!! -- thanks again,

Added by Fred Grunwald on Aug 15, 2017 12:27 PM
Ron Rusch
Bruno & Henyrka Ruchniewicz
Mr. Bellert,

Thank you so much for taking you time and effort to get the photos of Bruno & Henyryka Ruchniewicz headstones. I greatly appreciate your doing such a fine job.

Best regards,

Ron Rusch
Added by Ron Rusch on Aug 14, 2017 3:17 PM
Dana Dufield
Transfer of Memorials
Thank you for transferring the memorials for Fred & Ann Wille to me. I have been working on my family tree for around 15 years and have been able to trace some branches back 6 generations. I also see that you manage the memorials for Fred (140090145)& Jessie (140090146) Wille who are my Great Grandparents). Would you please transfer ownership of them to me as well.
Added by Dana Dufield on Aug 06, 2017 11:15 AM
RE: St. Michael Cemetery
Thank you very much for helping me out!! i really do appreciate it a lot!! i will let you know if i have any more requests for St. Michael in Palatine!! hope you have a wonderful rest of your day

Added by J B on Aug 04, 2017 2:45 PM
St. Michael The Archangel Cemetery, Palatine
Hi There!!! I have a few photo requests that I want to send out that I was wondering if you could help me out!! I want to send 3 out!! I would appreciate it a lot!!

Added by J B on Jul 31, 2017 8:55 AM
Michael Stanley Klimczak
Hi Jim,

Yes, I noticed they changed their obit rules as well; I think they realized everyone's doing it and that it's ridiculous to think people should omit living relatives for 'privacy' reasons. Living relatives are a huge part of genealogy when it comes to tracking down the correct person, particular in instances where it's a common surname like Smith or Anderson.

Not going out today even though it's nice weather for it. I have plans to do some other stuff instead. Yesterday I went to Wisconsin Dells on the Duck ride (I do this ride once a year) with my partner, went hiking at Devil's Lake State Park, and got some lunch. Looks like the weather for the next couple of weeks will omit the nasty humidity and high temps.

I got my first flat tire the other day, what a drag. After having someone come out to put on the spare for me, I had to drive to a Mitsubishi dealership just to get a new tire because numerous time places didn't carry my tire...very strange. I'm thinking about purchasing another tire and throwing it on my trunk instead of having to put the spare on, which is just a temp anyway. I also need to a get a tool so I can change the tire myself.

Are you going out today?

Added by Michael Stanley Klimczak on Jul 30, 2017 9:37 AM
Barbara Swift
I really enjoyed reading your story and loved the ending! Barbara Swift
Added by Barbara Swift on Jul 25, 2017 3:49 PM
Barbara Swift
Picture of Bernard Allbee
Thank you so much for sending this picture. It has the wife's information also. Again, thank you.
Barbara Swift
Added by Barbara Swift on Jul 25, 2017 3:45 PM
RE: Albert Schrautemyer
yeah its hard to believe and at least your m.i.l made it to her 90s!! hope shes doing ok!! thank you and i will let you know if i have more for St. Michael in Palatine.

Added by J B on Jul 20, 2017 11:34 PM
Albert Schrautemyer
Thank you for fullfilling my request!! Al Schrautemyer is a friend of my family!! his wife Marie is still living and she will be turning 103 soon!!! its amazing!! do you fulfill requests at St. Micheal Cemetery in Palatine a lot!! if so, i can let you know if i have another request for the cemetery!! again, thank you for helping me out!! very much appreciated

Added by J B on Jul 20, 2017 1:32 PM
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