How, or if it is possible to get the birth parents of a person adopted in the early 1900's?

+9 votes
My maternal grandfather was born most probably in Jackson, Michigan. He was with his new family at three on the 1920 Census. He said that he knew his birth family but we don't know anything about them. His name was Earle G. Porter and he said he was born Yvon (or Ian) Peck with some in the family claiming he was born in Chicago. On the censuses, I did notice several Pecks in the suburb of Jackson that his records claim as his birth site.
in Genealogy Help by Rob Hoyt G2G3 (3.3k points)
retagged by Keith Hathaway
I dont have anything usefull, really... but I feel your pain. Keep probing people that might possibly know something... my grandfather was adopted by another man and on his first census he was with his grandparents and lists the adoptive father on his marriage license... SO FRUSTRATING... BUT... I annoyed the heck out of my mother with every possible question I could think of and after she really thought about it she gave me a possible last name that I searched down and it was a next door neighbor whose kids were appropriate age to father him, etc... I requested his birth certificate back in OCTOBER and they called maybe 2 days ago asking for more info and if I might know the fathers name... I told them my best guess and they were like OH!! OK! but wouldnt confirm it said or did not say him... but they are mailing it to me... Anyways, try try try to ask anyone for ANY PIECES they may know... you never know what they will remember! Best of luck in this even more than usually difficult search! Lindsay
Oh, and another thing, which I hope MY grandfathers birth certificate follows suit on... when I asked, they said unless it was REQUESTED they dont change original birth certificates... at least in Luzerne, Pennsylvania in the 20's... but its POSSIBLE that your grandfathers wasnt changed.
Just wanted to mention that the name Ivan is pronounced like "Yvon" in most European languages, so I'd look for that spelling, too.

4 Answers

+5 votes

According to the Cook County Clerk of Court ( , "All adoption and mental health cases are closed, pending an order by the presiding judge of the Cook County Circuit Court, County Division. The Archives cannot make these cases available. Patrons should direct inquiries to the Chief Deputy Clerk of the County Division."..

I'd contact the Chief Deputy Clerk of the County Division to see what you might be able to find.

For Michigan, check out the adoption info page at

best of luck


by Tami Mize G2G6 Mach 4 (40.6k points)
Illinois adoption law recently changed.  Nearly all birth certificates are available now.
+7 votes
I've gotten some help by calling the clerk's office in Jackson, Michigan. I've begun a process with my mom, of filing for his birth certificate from the state, then we have to file with the adoptive county court to have the original birth information released.

I'll try to remember to update with results of how it's going.
by Rob Hoyt G2G3 (3.3k points)
+5 votes
Did your maternal grandfather have any sons?  That is, do you have a living uncle or a male cousin with grandpa's last name?  If so, you should consider a getting him yDNA tested.  A yDNA test could narrow your research to a specific family branch and help you make connections with grandpa's genetic cousins.
by Kitty Smith G2G6 Pilot (590k points)
You're absolutely right on... she has one surviving brother, and I'm hoping to be able to afford a dna test at some point. He doesn't have the name, of course (because my grandfather was adopted, we don't know his name).

Do you have any reccomendations for yDNA companies?

I didn't exactly follow, but you mean his brother is a full brother, not an adopted brother, right? To follow his genetic paternity, you need a male from his direct paternal line.

I suggest because they have the biggest yDNA database. Their kits usually go on sale again around Christmas or sometime in December.  When you place your kit order, please select at least a 37 marker yDNA test. (less than 37 is not enough and more than 37 is not necessary.)  Also, please use this link when you want to place your order so that WikiTree gets the credit:

Would you like to join our DNA Project?  You get another little badge. Let me know if you want me to sign you up. (Test participation is not necessary; only an interest in DNA genetic genealogy.) 

Oh, nifty. I hadn't realized that an interest was all that was necessary. I would like to join that portion of wikitree.
My grandfather still has one son alive, my uncle (mom's brother).
+2 votes
Hey Rob!

I came across this question and was just curious if you've ever been able to find more info about your grandfather's family. :)

by Eowyn Walker G2G Astronaut (2.0m points)
I had contacted a couple Michigan offices and had gotten somewhat conflicting information. One said I'd need a court order, another had said that I just needed to contact their department of human services. I decided to take a chance and send in before trying the courts. There was a $26 non-refundable fee, but I figured it was worth a shot. Michigan replied and let me know I'd need to go through the courts unless it was a hundred years after his birth. That's not too far away, so I've been debating whether to be impatient and do it now, or wait another year or two.

I'm probably the wrong person to ask because I would tell you to be impatient and do it now!! laugh

There are so many things to work on, the question of waiting may just answer itself. smiley

Related questions

+3 votes
1 answer
+7 votes
2 answers
+6 votes
2 answers
+3 votes
1 answer
157 views asked Jan 17, 2017 in Genealogy Help by Carol Eggers G2G Crew (340 points)
+7 votes
1 answer
192 views asked Mar 21, 2015 in Genealogy Help by S Willson G2G6 Pilot (184k points)
+5 votes
2 answers

WikiTree  ~  About  ~  Help Help  ~  Search Person Search  ~  Surname:

disclaimer - terms - copyright