Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Recording Blood Lines for Our Adopted Family Members

It is pretty common knowledge that all three of my children are adopted.  My husband and I adopted them all as infants and all within the US.  We are so blessed to have been chosen by their birth mothers!

The first two children were closed adoptions.  That meant that we could share our first names with the birth parents and they could share their first names.  We could ALL share what state we lived in, but that was the extent of our personal information.  If they had family members with them at the time of placement, we were permitted to know their first name and their relationship to the birth mother or father.  I always knew the day would come when my children would want to know where they came from, so, I paid close attention to every detail.

I wrote down the names and everything I could remember about the birth families, even the seemingly most insignificant detail.

Now, all these years later, I have used that information to piece together a blood line family tree for each of my children.  Even though the information is incomplete, I think it is nice for them to have!

How did I begin?

I use RootsMagic to store and organize my genealogical data. RootsMagic is a genealogy software program that can be downloaded to your personal computer.  Check them out here.

RootsMagic has a feature that will allow you to record the birth parents' names as secondary parents and list the child as adopted.  It is likely that your favorite software also allows for this.  I will show you how it is done on RootsMagic.  For privacy reasons, I have changed the names and dates of all individuals.  

First you create your family tree with the child's name and with the adopted parents.  In this case, Susan Barnes' adopted parents are Joseph Barnes and Barbara Gump.  Add these parents just as you would any parents.

Daughter Susan and her adopted parents Joseph and Barbara.
Now you double click on the child's name.  A "person" box pops up and you can see her parents are listed in this box as Joseph Barnes and Susan Gump.

Now, you will need to click once on the parents names in that "person" box.  See picture below.

When you do so, a "parents" section will pop up to the right.  It gives you a pull-down menu for both parents.  The choices include birth, adopted, foster, step, related, and guardian.  Choose whichever is appropriate.

Both Joseph and Barbara have been listed as adopted parents
Now click "close" at the bottom of the box.

You will be brought back to the pedigree screen.  From here, you can add the birth parents.  First, click once on the child to highlight their name.  Then, at the top left of the screen, click "Add".  A pull-down menu will fall and you need to choose "parents".  

When you do this, a warning box will pop up to let you know that Susan already has parents and ask you if you would like to add another set of parents, click "yes".  

Now you follow the prompts to add another father and mother for the child.  When you have completed this, you will be directed to the pedigree page again.  At first glance, it looks like the child is still only recorded with their adopted parents.  Double click on the child's name and you will see BOTH sets of parents.   See example below.

You may know the names of the birth grandparents and wish to add them.  This is done differently.  Let's start with the birth father David.  You will need to find him in the name index at the left of the pedigree screen.  See the picture below.

Once you click on David's name, you will be directed to David's pedigree screen and you are now able to add the names of David's parents.

You follow the same directions for adding parents of the birth mother.

I hope this wasn't too confusing and that you can now begin to add both birth and adopted family lines to your family tree!  If you have any questions regarding adoption and family history, please feel free to contact me by commenting at the end of this blog post. Have a great day!

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