Where can I find adoption records for my G-Grandfather who was born in RI but lived in MA?

+5 votes
Henry Albert Jordan, b. 1856 in RI. d. 1944 in Plymouth, MA. m. Hannah Nickerson 6 Dec 1884. Only child was Nathan Clarence Jordan. Hannah d. 1916. Married Maud abt. 1918. Adoptive parents were John & Ellen Jordan of Plymouth, MA. Family gossip says birth name was Watts....
in Genealogy Help by Wayne Jordan G2G Rookie (280 points)

2 Answers

+3 votes

This is more of a suggestion than an answer.

Visit the County courthouse nearest his place of birth.  Other than that, the Office of Vital Statistics in Rhode Island my be your best source.  If either or both are too far for travel there to be feasible, write to them for their assistance services.

Google may be your friend in this search as well.

Not much help, I know, but good luck and good hunting!

by Keith Baker G2G6 Pilot (107k points)
+3 votes
1856 can be a little early for consistent civil vital records, so you may have difficulty finding something at the courthouse. Do you know how he was adopted, privately or from an orphanage? A lot of orphanages were run by religious charities, so that may give you clues for looking at Watts families in Rhode Island who were the same religion as the orphanage. (If you're going to look into orphanages, it might be a good idea to start with whatever religion John and Ellen were, because people tended to want children who already shared their beliefs.) If Henry was adopted as an older child, he may have been baptized before going to live with the Jordans. Try church records to see if a plausible Henry exists and work from there.

Something else to consider is if either John or Ellen had roots in Rhode Island. Maybe one had a sister who married a Watts or a cousin whose last name was Watts, and they both passed away and John and Ellen took their son in. Or John or Ellen had a sister who became pregnant by a Watts and had a child out of wedlock. This sort of informal adoption would not leave records.

Good luck!
by Living B G2G4 (4.9k points)

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