Ancestry Helps “Hicks Baby” Find Her Mother

The following is from the August 5 New York Daily News.

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It took one woman more than half a century to find a piece of her familial roots.

Kriste Hughes, 51, was reunited with her birth mother and brother after a lengthy search.

Hughes was one of 200 children sold into adoption on the black market by Dr. Thomas Jugarthy Hicks, an unscrupulous physician in McCaysville, Ga., decades ago.

“I know this is real, but I’m still kind of in shock,” Hughes told ABC News, which helped her and eight other “Hicks babies” to locate their biological relatives.

The largest genealogy website, Ancestry.com, helped Hughes and the others track down their birth parents.

She sent her DNA sample to the lab and the site analyzed the specimen for free.

But chances of finding a match were slim. The database includes 1 million people, far less than 1% of the global population.

Despite the long odds, Hughes found her match — a first cousin named Jackie Flowers.

Another DNA test returned a match. This time she got a mom and a big brother.

Read the full article.

News from the Utah Genealogical Association

UGA

The following is from the Utah Genealogical Association:

The DNA Interest Group will meet virtually on Thursday, May 7th and June 4th at 7:00 pm. Angie Bush will present AncestryDNA: Matches Circles and NADs in May, and First Steps for Adoptees in June. Complete information is posted on the UGA DNA Interest Group page, but you may also go directly to the DNA Genetic Genealogy Community to log into the webinar. Recordings of past presentations and handouts, when provided, will be placed behind the members wall for those unable to attend. Angie Bush, the Genetic Genealogist, is also the coordinator for the SLIG 2016 Advanced DNA Course.

SLIG Scholarship: The Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy is accepting applications for the SLIG Scholarship named in honor of Jimmy B. Parker. The winner will be able to attend the SLIG 2016 course of their choice. The deadline is May 15th. Details about submission requirements and judging criteria may be found on the UGA website under SLIG Scholarships.

New Jersey Adoptees Inching Closer To Getting Their Real Birth Records

New Jersey Statehouse

According to an AP article posted at the philadelphia.cbslocal.com website, adoptees in New Jersey are now closer to receiving access to their original birth records.

The state Assembly on Thursday, May 22, voted to approve a conditional veto settlement that was worked out by Gov. Chris Christie and legislature that opens the birth records for the first time since their sealing in 1940.

The compromise does delay access for almost three years in order to give birth parents enough time to get their names removed from birth certificates – if they so decide.

The birth parents of children who were adopted before August 1, 2015 would have until the end of 2016 to get their names be removed. If they chose to do so, they will be asked to give some medical history.

Read the AP article.

Oregon Woman Meets Twin After 78 Years Apart

The following teaser is from an article posted in the May 7, 2014 edition of CBSNews.com

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ALBANY, Ore. — Her entire life, Ann Hunt believed she was an only child.

Growing up in England, she used to pretend to be a twin, CBS affiliate KVAL-TV in Eugene reports.

Friends warned her “that will come back to you one day,” she said. “But isn’t it lovely coming back to a thing like this?”

One of her daughters delved into the family’s geneology and discovered, after 78 years, Hunt’s birth mother had given her up for adoption to focus on her twin sister, who needed medical attention.

Hunt’s twin, Elizabeth Hamel, lived half a world away from Aldershot, England, in Albany, Oregon.

Hunt’s daughter wrote a letter to Hamel about the discovery.

“I do get mail from England,” Hamel said, “but I was surprised when I saw Aldershot because we were born in Aldershot.”

Read the full article.

Woman Reunited With Birth Mother Via Facebook

The following teaser is from the April 29, 2014 edition of Yahoo.com:

Washington, Apr 29 (ANI): A woman reunited with her birth mother through Facebook after a gap of 22 years…

…a few weeks ago, Leach posted a picture of herself on Facebook holding a sign with the information she had about her birth parents, People magazine reported.

Read the full article.

New Jersey Adoptees May Get to See Their Original Birth Records Under a Compromise Made by Governor Christie and the State Legislature

Republican Governor Chris Christie and the Democratic New Jersey legislature have come up with a compromise to allow folks adopted in New Jersey to access their original birth records.

Birth parents of children adopted before Aug. 1, 2015 will now have the ability to decide if they want their names disclosed to their children. Children born after August 1, 2015, and given up for adoption will have their names automatically disclosed.

Adoptees, as well as their birth parents have been trying for a change of some sort since since 1980! The legislature passed a bill, but Christie issued a conditional veto on Monday – then a a compromise agreement was worked out. Action is expected on a final version of the bill which the Governor has agreed to sign sometime in May.

Read the original AP article at the myfoxny.com website.

New Brunswick Considering Opening Adoption Records

The following excerpt is from the April 9, 2014 edition of cbc.ca:

Social Development Minister Madeleine Dubé said her department will compile and analyze all public input and prepare a recommendation for the government.
Social Development Minister Madeleine Dubé said her department will compile and analyze all public input and prepare a recommendation for the government.

The New Brunswick government is seeking the public’s input on a proposal to open sealed adoption records, Social Development Minister Madeleine Dubé announced on Wednesday.

Under current Family Services Act, adoption records are sealed and the identities of children, birth parents and adoptive parents are protected. An adopted child and parent must both request information to allow them to make contact.

But the government is looking to make it easier for adopted children to contact their biological parents.

Both adoptee and parent groups have asked for the rules to be loosened, said Dubé.

Read the full article.

Daisy’s Daughters Reunited 70 Years Later…

The following teaser is from an article posted in the April 6, 2014 edition of mysanantonio.com:

Verda Byrd sorts through photos taken in Dallas the first weekend of March of her intitial meeting with one of her sisters. Photo By Marvin Pfeiffer / EN Communities
Verda Byrd sorts through photos taken in Dallas the first weekend of March of her intitial meeting with one of her sisters. Photo By Marvin Pfeiffer / EN Communities

SAN ANTONIO — When Daisy Beagle’s daughters grew up, they remembered their mother’s stories about the baby girl she gave up for adoption. They remembered how she’d talk about the hard days, trying to raise five children in Kansas City in the 1940s. And they remembered how she’d wonder aloud if the child had a good life.

In February, one of the sisters, Sybil Panko, received a certified letter at her home in Merritt Island, Fla., from San Antonio. The writer, Verda Byrd, claimed to be the infant that Beagle had given up in 1944.

Panko was leery. She called her younger sister in Dallas, Debbie Romero.

“Guess what I got in the mail?” she said. “A letter from a woman saying she’s my sister. And there’s a phone number.”

Romero called the number. When Byrd, 71, answered, Romero said there wasn’t a doubt. The woman was her sister.

“There’s no denying,” Romero said. “I know she’s my sister, I don’t need a DNA test.”

After a 70-year separation, Byrd found sisters she never knew existed. After an exhaustive search on the Internet and library archives, she located three living siblings: Panko, 76; Romero, 56; and Kathryn Gutierrez, 59, of Omaha, Neb.

Read the full article.

Scottish Pensioner United with Siblings After 70 Years

The following excerpt is from an article posted in the April 9, 2014 edition of scotsman.com:
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A Scottish pensioner has been reunited with his long-lost brother and sister for the first time in 70 years.

Grandfather William Rae, of Clochan in Moray, grew up with a foster family and spent decades trying to trace his roots.

Now Mr Rae, 72, has met younger brother Ian, 69, who lives in Bristol, and sister Jean, 67, from Falkirk, for the first time in their adult lives.

The former marine, who has eight nieces and nephews he never knew about, said yesterday: “It’s wonderful. It has taken many years, but we’ve finally made it.”

William’s luck changed after his stepdaughter, Christine, researched the ancestry of the family. She achieved impressive results with the help of an Aberdeen-based amateur genealogist, who used his birth certificate to start a web search for his long-lost family.

Read the full article.

Opera Singer Asks for Grandfather’s Adoption Records to Be Opened

The following teaser is from an article posted in the April 4, 2014 edition of nydailynews.com:

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An aspiring American opera singer hoping to perform regularly in Italy is asking a Manhattan judge to unseal her grandfather’s adoption records so she can prove that she is entitled to Italian citizenship.

Kenneth Rose, a San Diego lawyer, says in a petition to Manhattan Surrogate Court that his whole family could benefit professionally from dual citizenship, but especially his daughter, Jordanna, 24, who wants a professional career as an opera singer.

“There are far more opportunities for opera singers, and substantially more opera houses, in Italy and other European Union countries, than in the United States,” Rose says in an affidavit.
He says there are only 40 classical opera houses in the U.S. versus more than 200 in Italy, Germany and France.

“However, work and resident visa requirements and restrictions pose a significant barrier to Jordanna’s professional pursuits that would be eased if she attains Italian citizenship.”

Read the full article.

Ohio Opens 1964 – 1996 Adoptions Starting in March 2015

The following teaser is from an excellent article written by Betty Malesky, posted in the March 16, 2014 edition of GVNews.com

Ohio has joined an elite group of states that have made it easier for adoptees to access their original birth certificates. More than 400,000 Ohio adoptees will be able to obtain their original birth certificates starting in March 2015 under Substitute Senate Bill 23 signed by Ohio Gov. John Kasich at the end of 2013.

When those born before 1964 reached adulthood, they have been able to request their original birth records from the Ohio Department of Health. Since 1996, those born after September 1996 have also been able to request their birth records when they reached age 21 unless their biological parents had the file sealed.

Persons born between 1964 and 1996, however, were overlooked and previously unable to obtain their birth information. The new law was passed unanimously in both the Ohio House and Senate in December with a 90-day enactment period and then a one-year waiting period during which birth parents have the opportunity to request their names be redacted from an adoptee’s birth record.

Read the full article.

Siblings Meet For the First Time

The following teaser is from the March 4, 2014 edition of the Orlando Sentinal:

Becky Bechtel, bottom right, connected with family members… (Photo by Lori Carter/Correspondent )
Becky Bechtel, bottom right, connected with family members… (Photo by Lori Carter/Correspondent )

GRAND ISLAND — The missing link in the family has been found.

Born in 1957, the baby girl who connects two families belonging to a Lake County Alzheimer’s patient flew to Orlando recently so that five of nine siblings could be together for the first time ever.

The new sister, Becky Bechtel, had never met any of her other brothers or sister until Feb. 22, when she arrived at Orlando International Airport and was met by her sister, Susan Lander, 63, and their brother Tom, who lives in Hollywood, Fla.

All the children share the same mother, Helen Manfredi, 83, of Eustis. Manfredi was first married to Robert Lander of New York, with whom she had three boys and Susan. After the marriage failed, she had a daughter — Bechtel — who she gave up for adoption in Ohio. Shortly after, she married Dr. Alfred Manfredi, an optometrist, and had four more boys.

“I’ve always been the oldest of seven brothers,” said Susan, who flew in from Las Vegas. “Now, I have a sister, and she’s seven years younger than me. I called everybody in my neighborhood back home when I found out.”

Read the full article.

Pennsylvania and New Jersey Bills Would Open Adoption Records

The following excerpt is from an interesting article by Suzette Parmley, posted at the February 23, 2014 edition of philly.com:

Not knowing the identity of her real mother was always a painful, unresolved issue, but when Susan Perry was diagnosed with melanoma, finding out became a medical necessity.

Perry, 63, of Cherry Hill, began looking 13 years ago but sealed-record laws in New Jersey prevented access to her original birth certificate, the gateway to a person’s genealogical, medical, and other information.

“I realized adopted people really have no rights,” said Perry, now battling stage-four melanoma. “With many people, there is a real wish to know something about your genealogy and to know your roots. It’s really the first chapter of your life.”

Perry has worked with the New Jersey Coalition for Adoption Reform and Education (NJ CARE) over the last decade for passage of the adoptees’ birthright bill. The measure would allow adopted adults over 18 in New Jersey to secure their original birth certificates from the state registrar.

Seven other states have passed access legislation for adopted adults since 1999. Two – Kansas and Alaska – have never sealed adoption records.

Read the full article.

New Jersey Assembly Panel Approves Bill Opening Birth Records for Adoptees

The following excerpt is from an article by Susan K. Livio, posted at the February 11, 2014 edition of nj.com:

As an adopted person who also gave up her own child to another, Mari Steed of Levittown, Pa., said there isn’t much of the adoption experience she hasn’t lived.

So when Steed — co-founder of an adoption rights group in Ireland highlighted in the Oscar-nominated film “Philomena” — urged a state Assembly committee Monday to approve a bill letting adopted people obtain their birth certificates, she wasted no time attacking the myths that have blocked the legislation for 34 years.

When representatives from the New Jersey Catholic Conference, New Jersey Right to Life and the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union asked lawmakers to protect the privacy of birth mothers, Steed replied she was “very, very tired of listening to the opposition hiding behind our skirts and claiming we asked for privacy when we didn’t.”

Steed, one of 2,000 babies trafficked from an Ireland home for unwed mothers, said she was insulted by the idea that an adopted person would stalk a birth parent who didn’t want contact. “If someone said, “I can’t handle this, I’m not ready, we would back away. To imply otherwise … makes no sense. We just want to be treated with equality and respect.”

Read the full article.

Family Found in the Bookstore

The following excerpt is from a great article by Jessie Montiz Hardy, posted at the January 17, 2014 edition of The Royal Gazette.

Barb Dallard and long lost adopted sister Jackie Garcia.
Barb Dallard and long lost adopted sister Jackie Garcia.

You can find a lot in an independent bookstore, information, entertainment – your long-lost family.

Adoptee Jackie Garcia, of Smith’s, was born and raised in Canada, but has lived in Bermuda for many years with husband Vic Garcia.

“Both my daughters, Kristi Garcia and Vicki Bruno are living in Canada now,” said Mrs Garcia. “I was visiting Canada and went into a bookstore in Alliston, Ontario. The bookstore was called A Novel Idea. The girl that owned the store and I got chatting about families. She said she did genealogy research. She became interested in it because her sister was adopted.”

Mrs Garcia told the bookstore owner about her adoption. She only knew her birth date, original name, Diane Elizabeth Ginn, and the name of the hospital where she was born.”

The bookstore owner said, ‘oh that will be easy to find’. Mrs Garcia was doubtful and went back to looking for reading material, leaving the bookstore owner to tap away on the computer. Ten minutes later, the bookstore owner called out: “I’ve found her!”

Read the full article.