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

Top Contributors
Success Stories
Community Forums
Find A Grave Store

Log In
Advertisement
James Bellert (#48157908)
 member for 3 years, 8 months, 3 days
[Add to MyFriends]
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?

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!

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
 • 14,367 Memorials Added
 • 14,307 Memorials Managed
 • 75 Memorials/Week
 • 22,896 Photos
 • 3 Photo Requests
 • 470 Volunteer Photos Taken
 • 15,142 Virtual Flowers
 • 10 Virtual Cemeteries
 • 168 Fame Ratings
 • 50 Sponsorships
 • 4 Friends
Search Contributor's Records

 
First NameLast Name

Virtual Cemeteries
Adopted Family (24)
Crooked Creek (9)
Famous (145)
Find A Grave Friends (1)
Inlaws (12)
Maternal Birth Family (22)
Old Neighborhood (11)
Paternal Birth Family (39)
Seven Angels Victims (7)
Windridge Memorial Park a... (5)
Find A Grave Friends
Carol Girvin, Michael Stanley..., MidwestMom, Norma Meier
Messages left for James Bellert (462)[Leave Message]
Debbie B
Fishers at Dundee Twp Cemetery
James, thanks so much for going out, finding, and documenting this couple's burials. Your taking the time is much appreciated!
--Debbie
Added by Debbie B on Feb 19, 2017 10:11 AM
Ralph Brown
John and Maria Hopp
Thank you so much for adding the photos of the John and Maria Hopp gravestones. It is very much appreciated.
Added by Ralph Brown on Feb 19, 2017 10:07 AM
wayne batz
picture
thank you for taking and attaching the picture for elizabeth r holland
Added by wayne batz on Feb 18, 2017 6:50 AM
dandrew
RichardMcClung
Thanks for looking and give it such a good go. Your time and effort is appreciated.

Yours, dandrew
Added by dandrew on Feb 17, 2017 12:21 PM
Cheryl Senescall
Edward Notson
Thanks, I really appreciate your time and effort in filling my request for Edward Notson.
Added by Cheryl Senescall on Feb 17, 2017 11:52 AM
Mary Phalan
Schneider
Thank you for the photo!
Added by Mary Phalan on Feb 16, 2017 7:56 PM
Katherine Hagedorn Smith (Thomas)
Clayton Sullivan
Hi,

Thanks so much for taken the photo of the stone for Clyton Sullivan. You posted the back of the stone. Did you take a photo of the front of the stone where the writing is?

Thanks,

Katherine Hagedorn
Added by Katherine Hagedorn Smith ... on Feb 16, 2017 1:23 PM
Jill Harris
67309674 Meta Eickstaedt
Very interesting read! Good luck with your search.

Cusious if you are related to Meta Eickstaedt. My husband never knew his father, but I was told he may be an Eickstaedt. We are from Illinois but so far, only Eickstaedt family from Wisconsin is popping up in the feed.

Jill Harris
Added by Jill Harris on Feb 02, 2017 5:52 PM
Deaf Pride
RE: COASH PHOTOS
You are very welcome. If you would like me to go back and take a close up of each name, I will be happy to do that.
Added by Deaf Pride on Jan 31, 2017 10:19 AM
Deaf Pride
Minevra Schurke
Thank you for taking the time and effort to fulfill my photo request. It is much appreciated.
Added by Deaf Pride on Jan 30, 2017 4:54 PM
[View all messages...]
 

Privacy Statement and Terms of Service