[APG Public List] Adopted children in genealogy

Jacqueline Wilson wilssearch at gmail.com
Sat Nov 13 17:16:25 MST 2010

Ray thank you for your thoughts in this matter.  My instructions were somewhat clear, but in any case they know and understand about the adoption so there is no deep dark secrets here except - who are the birth parents for the older individual - which is something of a brick wall.  I may have found them, or maybe not.  I can't prove it either way.  So I am setting that aside for now and working on another line - belonging to the adopted woman's husband, then will return to the maternal line later.  It so happens she is the 'immigrant' ancestor which is what is making it difficult.  I had planned to add information about the adopting parents and their children as they were a large part of her life but I will need to ask the client if she wants any more.  

I am not doing the descendants' marriage partners at this time, so the other adopted person's mother is not an issue.  If he should want me to look for his birth mother's family I will be happy to, but no one is paying me to do that - at least not at this point of time.

On Nov 13, 2010, at 5:57 PM, Ray Beere Johnson II wrote:

    In any situation like this, I think there are several factors to consider. First, what are the client's instructions? Unless they are asking you to do something unethical, their instructions should take priority (and their intent, if that is obvious from the instructions).
    Second, you need to consider the ethical issues. Apart from refusing to do anything actively unethical, isn't there a positive dimension to ethics as well? In the absence of any specific wishes expressed by the client, what is the most ethical choice? (In almost any situation, my answer would be: tell the truth. It is one thing to withhold information the client has expressly asked not to be informed about, but another to do so under any other circumstances.)
    Third, a very useful question if you are still in doubt is this: if I were the client, what would _I_ want? In every case, my own answer would be that I would want the maximum possible amount of information. I - and others in my family - have been blindsided by family secrets too many times to think it is _ever_ a good idea to conceal the facts. And every family secret significantly impacts everyone associated with it. The truth you don't know is an unexploded land mine.
    Yes, some people will argue with this, but that's my opinion. There is _no_ possible situation where I would not prefer to know. And I do not subscribe to the belief that a family secret can possibly "belong" to an individual, not when so many lives are affected by it.
                                Ray Beere Johnson II

--- On Sat, 11/13/10, Jacqueline Wilson <wilssearch at gmail.com> wrote:

> My problem is this - when the first person of the line is the adopted 
> person, I have been told that I must follow the birth family no matter 
> the legalities of no longer belonging to the birth family even if still
> related by blood. (hope that made sense!)
> I have a client who has an adopted person in their line. I am trying 
> to decide how to handle it as far as research goes. Do I include the 
> adopting family in my research and reports?

Jacqueline Wilson  
Evanston, IL

Masters Student,  Dept. US Military History
American Military University

wilssearch at gmail.com

Professional Indexer, Historian, and Genealogist
Deputy Sheriff for Publications of the Chicago Corral of the Westerners
IASPR Newsletter Editor

"Wilssearch - your service of choice for the indexing challenged genealogist."

More information about the APGPublicList mailing list