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Shalon Hoyle's Blog (13)

The Role of Fate in Genealogy

I have been able to find quite a bit of information in the last couple of weeks.  I received birth, marriage and death certificates ordered from England on quite a few members of my family.  We had concrete birth dates, concrete marriage dates, concrete death dates, at last.  My father stared at each one of them, touched them, smiled at them.  The most moving certificate form him was his father's birth certificate.  "I have people, " he said.  More certificates were ordered, and now we sit…


Added by Shalon Hoyle on January 25, 2015 at 7:25pm — No Comments

A Dirty Little Secret

After several weeks of not being able to find my grandfather in the 1911 census, I started to wonder about the theory my cousin's husband had.  Could my grandfather really have been sent to Canada?  I searched for my grandfather in passenger records from England to Canada.  My cousin's husband had mentioned a record he found and I took a look at it.  Charles Brown, passenger with the Waifs and Strays Society, en route to Canada in 1912.  The boy in this record was the right age to be my…


Added by Shalon Hoyle on January 8, 2015 at 9:09pm — No Comments

The Evolution of my Father's Identity

At this point, I started to see a side of my father I had never seen.  To give some history, I am an only child and a daddy's girl.  I have no problem admitting that I was a spoiled child.  My parents had some difficulty having me and I was a preemie.  In addition, in light of my dad's background, he worked very had to make sure I had everything I needed and wanted.  He worked very hard to make sure I knew how much he loved me and how important I was.  Even as an adult, my dad does a lot for…


Added by Shalon Hoyle on January 1, 2015 at 10:05am — No Comments

A Past Revealed (Warning - this is a long one)

When I read my dad's adoption file and found my grandfather's Canadian Army discharge date, I had no way of knowing what the one little number would reveal.  I had no way of knowing the pain it would reveal and how it would affect my dad.  After finding the date, I went to the Canadian Army webpage to search for military records.  I found a World War I listing for Charles E F Brown, but the birth year was off by four years and he was born in England.  I read the Attestation Form and it…


Added by Shalon Hoyle on January 1, 2015 at 9:35am — No Comments

Good Cause

"Good cause" is a very broad term.  In order to have my father's adoption record unsealed, we would have to show "good cause."  An example we were given is "you will face imminent death due to medical concerns if the file is not unsealed."  Well.....that wasn't exactly our issue.  We do have our share of health issues, as well as physical and intellectual disabilities in our family, but that was not the reason we wanted the file.  Obtaining that file would acknowledge that my father had an…


Added by Shalon Hoyle on December 29, 2014 at 6:49pm — No Comments

Plymouth, Indiana and the Non-Existent Browns

My grandfather was from Plymouth, Indiana.  It said so on his death certificate and on Iowa census records.  My dad's brothers said their father was from Indiana and had a sister that had stayed there.  The adoption file office in Des Moines stated that my grandfather was from Plymouth, Indiana.  When we searched, we searched in Indiana.  We found nothing.  This didn't surprise us, after all, Charles Brown is a very common name.  We contacted a woman at the Marshall County Indiana…


Added by Shalon Hoyle on December 26, 2014 at 3:52pm — No Comments

The Genealogy Begins

When I decided to start hard core research, I was lucky enough that my dad's half sister had quite a bit of information on their mom's side of the family.  Within just several weeks, I was able to trace my grandmother's maternal side back to the late 1600's - Van Houten and Duselder.  Everything was well documented and pretty much just laid out in front of us.  Her paternal side posed a bit of a problem.  Her father died when she was 14 and his mother had married several times and had…


Added by Shalon Hoyle on December 23, 2014 at 6:58pm — No Comments

A Family

The next few years were spent getting to know people.  There was the day my dad's older sister came to the house.  She was the first one we connected with.  She lived only two hours away.  She didn't tell us her last name or any personal information.  Everyone was scared.  What will they think of us?  Will they want something from us?  And then she walked in the door and 45 years of separation started to melt away - awkwardly at first, but then in front of me I saw a 14 year old girls who…


Added by Shalon Hoyle on November 25, 2014 at 3:30pm — No Comments

It Is You!

After my dad said "Is it you," there was silence.  I don't think it was probably more than a couple of seconds, but it felt like days.  And then I heard something amazing.  "Oh my God, Terry, how the hell are ya?"  Guess what?  Terry had been in contact with everyone?  For twenty years!  I spoke with Terry that night, which, by the way, was a feeling I can't put into words.  He told me he heard dad say "My name is Jerry," and he didn't hear anything else.  He knew it was his brother.  By the…


Added by Shalon Hoyle on November 19, 2014 at 4:00pm — No Comments

Is It You

My dad's next trip was to the Annie Wittenmyer Home.  It had not been an orphanage for many years and had been turned into a library.  Dad walked the grounds and pointed out which dormitory was his and which was his brother's and sisters'.  He reminisced, not fondly, about the house mothers.  They went inside and asked if there was anything left from the orphanage days.  There was one, small file with a notebook in it.  Every year, the home held a reunion for former kids and employees.  In…


Added by Shalon Hoyle on November 15, 2014 at 4:30pm — No Comments

Adoption Law

I have to start by saying I understand the premise of adoption law.  It protects birth parents, adoptive parents and children.  It has, however, become the bane of my existence.  A very nice lady named Kim, who worked in the adoption office verified that she was looking at my dad's file.  She verified there was information on all seven children.  She read some basic, descriptive information - my grandfather was a tall, angular man -  just enough to leave us wanting more before adoption law…


Added by Shalon Hoyle on November 15, 2014 at 4:00pm — No Comments

The Unexpected

Fast forward to 2001.  I have graduated from college and moved back home.  I was working full-time.  All of the sudden my dad ends up in emergency heart surgery.  Always a fast healer, he bounced back fairly quickly.  I've always heard that being faced with your own mortality can change your life, but I was hoping he'd quite smoking, eat healthier, etc.  I had no idea his surgery would change his MIND.  One day, out of the blue and very matter of factly, he says "I'm going to find my…


Added by Shalon Hoyle on November 14, 2014 at 8:30am — No Comments

The Very Beginning (I promise this will eventually be about genealogy)

I don't remember not knowing my dad was adopted.  I don't remember an earth-shattering revelation that my grandparents were not my grandparents.  I vaguely remember my dad explaining what "adopted" meant, but it didn't seem like a big deal.  If you asked him, my dad would tell you the very few things he remembered about his siblings and his dad, his grandmother and step-grandfather and that he remembered almost nothing about his mom, except that she was hardly ever around.  Here are a few of…


Added by Shalon Hoyle on November 13, 2014 at 9:00am — No Comments




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