Orphaned Siblings Reunited 75 Years Later

Here’s a story from the Grand Rapids [Michigan] Press that’s both a heartwarmer and a tearjerker. In 1932, a destitute father dropped off six of his children at St. John’s Home, an orphanage in Grandville, Kent County, Michigan. On Saturday, the last of the children reunited. Some of the siblings have passed away, but their families have met the other siblings. The reunion “was the last in a series of reunions brought about by a handful of dim childhood memories, a few deathbed revelations and, ultimately, a series of Internet searches.”

Orphaned Siblings Reunited 75 Years Later

Here’s a story from the Grand Rapids [Michigan] Press that’s both a heartwarmer and a tearjerker. In 1932, a destitute father dropped off six of his children at St. John’s Home, an orphanage in Grandville, Kent County, Michigan. On Saturday, the last of the children reunited. Some of the siblings have passed away, but their families have met the other siblings. The reunion “was the last in a series of reunions brought about by a handful of dim childhood memories, a few deathbed revelations and, ultimately, a series of Internet searches.”

This and That

Reading through my e-mail this morning, I came across these little snippets of interesting items to share with my readers:

  • *The Dowagiac [Michigan] Daily News has a fascinating article about Verge Hawkins, who is lecturing on African-American history at the Museum at Southwestern Michigan College’s spring lecture series. He encourages families to study genealogy together “because if you have different generations, they can focus on some things and tell their story. When you tell your own story, you’re a much stronger person.”
  • *”Today Michigan lawmakers will begin contemplating one of the most heated questions within the adoption community — should upwards of 20,000 people be allowed to access family information that has been kept secret for decades? Bills in both chambers of the Legislature would allow people adopted between 1945 and 1980 to obtain their original birth certificate. It also would allow birth parents to tell the state whether they want to be contacted, and how. A hearing on the matter will be held today before the House Families and Children’s Services subcommittee.” My paternal grandmother was one of the “lucky” adoptees whose adoption was finalized in 1940 (when she was 16), so she was able to access her own birth certificate. Thousands of Michigan adoptees have never had that chance. Read more here.
  • *From Cyndi’s List Mailing List, a website where you can do an Irish placename search, Irish Ancestries.com. The placename finder is on this page.
  • *Looking for Michigan newspapers that might carry obituaries online? This list appears to have current–not historical–papers, but some have archived obits, so check it out.
  • *From the Oakland County Mailing List at RootsWeb came this terrific news: “Later this year the State Library will be putting digitized death certificates for Michigan on its website. The years covered will be 1900-1910. Granted its not as much as some states but for Michigan that’s a major step!”

This and That

Reading through my e-mail this morning, I came across these little snippets of interesting items to share with my readers:

  • *The Dowagiac [Michigan] Daily News has a fascinating article about Verge Hawkins, who is lecturing on African-American history at the Museum at Southwestern Michigan College’s spring lecture series. He encourages families to study genealogy together “because if you have different generations, they can focus on some things and tell their story. When you tell your own story, you’re a much stronger person.”
  • *”Today Michigan lawmakers will begin contemplating one of the most heated questions within the adoption community — should upwards of 20,000 people be allowed to access family information that has been kept secret for decades? Bills in both chambers of the Legislature would allow people adopted between 1945 and 1980 to obtain their original birth certificate. It also would allow birth parents to tell the state whether they want to be contacted, and how. A hearing on the matter will be held today before the House Families and Children’s Services subcommittee.” My paternal grandmother was one of the “lucky” adoptees whose adoption was finalized in 1940 (when she was 16), so she was able to access her own birth certificate. Thousands of Michigan adoptees have never had that chance. Read more here.
  • *From Cyndi’s List Mailing List, a website where you can do an Irish placename search, Irish Ancestries.com. The placename finder is on this page.
  • *Looking for Michigan newspapers that might carry obituaries online? This list appears to have current–not historical–papers, but some have archived obits, so check it out.
  • *From the Oakland County Mailing List at RootsWeb came this terrific news: “Later this year the State Library will be putting digitized death certificates for Michigan on its website. The years covered will be 1900-1910. Granted its not as much as some states but for Michigan that’s a major step!”

Adoptee Reunites with Biological Sisters

From the Muskegon [Michigan] Chronicle:

As a child, Joyanne Converse used to look in the mirror and wish she looked like somebody — anybody — in her family.

Someone with the same color hair. The same eyes.

The same smile.

The same nose.

But as the youngest of Ed and Lucille Bell’s five children growing up in Muskegon, all of whom were adopted, it seemed an impossibility.

“I didn’t know anyone who looked like me,” she says.

Read how this woman reunited with four of her five biological sisters, here.

Adoptee Reunites with Biological Sisters

From the Muskegon [Michigan] Chronicle:

As a child, Joyanne Converse used to look in the mirror and wish she looked like somebody — anybody — in her family.

Someone with the same color hair. The same eyes.

The same smile.

The same nose.

But as the youngest of Ed and Lucille Bell’s five children growing up in Muskegon, all of whom were adopted, it seemed an impossibility.

“I didn’t know anyone who looked like me,” she says.

Read how this woman reunited with four of her five biological sisters, here.

Adopted Son Finds Birth Mom…at Work

Both the Grand Rapids Press and the Muskegon Chronicle–newspapers from my ancestral cities in Michigan–carried this story, and no wonder! It’s one of those “truth is stranger than fiction” stories, and does it ever have an ending that will warm your heart!

For years, Steve Flaigg, an adoptee, had searched for his birth mother. Come to find out, she turned up to be a co-worker he had known for several months. Go here to read the rest of the story.

This article has a personal connection for me. It mentions the D.A. Blodgett Home, an institution that figures largely in my family history. When my maternal grandfather’s mother became ill and had to be institutionalized, several of his siblings were placed in the Blodgett Home for a while until after she died and their father remarried (he and another brother were placed in relatives’ homes). Also, this was the place where my paternal grandmother and her brother were dropped off after their non-custodial father removed them from their mother’s home in east Michigan. They lived there for just a short time before being fostered out and eventually adopted by two families in the same small west Michigan town.

UPDATE: This article reoports that Flaigg and his birth mother, Christine Talladay, will be featured on several morning television shows, including NBC’s Today show Thursday morning and perhaps Fox’s Fox and Friends on Friday morning.