As I live in Canada I will write this blog for family historians researching their ancestral history.
I have a cousin where she heard a story that her mother (deceased) had a child when she was young when she went to college.
What tools are available to research online and offline?
How do I find out if she did in fact have a child?
Who do I contact to see?
What legalities are involved?
These are questions that I hope to answer in the blog to help others in the same predicament.
There are several tools available that you can use both online and offline.
Start by researching any public records that may be available
This may include birth records, marriage records, or adoption records. The Ontario government website provides information on how to obtain birth certificates and other vital records for individuals born in Ontario. You may also be able to find information about your mother’s college enrollment by searching college or university records.
Consider DNA Testing
You may also want to consider DNA testing to help determine if you have any siblings. There are several companies that offer DNA testing services, such as AncestryDNA, 23andMe, and Family Tree DNA. These tests can provide information on genetic relationships and can help identify potential relatives.
Searching Online Databases
You can also try searching online databases or genealogy websites to find information about your mother’s family history. These sites often have searchable databases of public records, family trees, and other information that may be helpful in your search.
Reach Out to Family & Friends
You may want to reach out to family members or friends of your mother who may have more information. They may be able to provide additional details or insights into your mother’s past that could help in your search.
If you believe that you have a sibling and would like to make contact, it is important to be mindful of the legalities involved. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the birth and any subsequent adoption, there may be legal restrictions on making contact or accessing information. It is important to consult with a lawyer who specializes in family law to understand the legal implications and to explore your options.
Tools & Tricks
Also, if you think you or someone you know may have been adopted in Canada, here are some tools and tricks you can use to help with your’s or their search:
1. Start by talking to family members: If you have any living relatives, start by talking to them and asking if they have any information about your adoption or the adoption of the person you are searching for. They may be able to provide valuable information that can help you in your search.
2. Contact the provincial government: Each province and territory in Canada has its own laws regarding adoption and how adoption records are handled. You can contact the appropriate government agency in the province where the adoption took place to request information about the adoption.
3. Use online resources: There are a number of online resources that can help with your search. The Canadian Adoptees Registry is a non-profit organization that connects adoptees with their birth families. The Adopted.com website offers a database of adoption records and a search function to help reunite adoptees with their birth families. The government of Canada’s Indigenous Services Canada website also offers a database of records for Indigenous adoptees and their families.
4. Consider DNA testing: DNA testing services such as AncestryDNA, 23andMe, and Family Tree DNA can provide information on genetic relationships and can help identify potential relatives.
5. Contact a private investigator: If you are having trouble finding information on your own, consider hiring a private investigator who specializes in adoption searches. They may have access to resources and information that are not available to the general public.
It’s important to note that adoption records are often sealed and the process of accessing them can be complex and time-consuming. However, with persistence and the right resources, it is possible to find information about your adoption or the adoption of someone you are searching for.
Adoption Contacts in Canada
In Canada, each province and territory has its own laws regarding adoption and how adoption records are handled. Here are the government and provincial agencies to contact for adoption-related information in each province and territory, along with their URLs:
1. Alberta: Alberta Vital Statistics provides adoption records and services for those who were adopted in Alberta. Contact information and instructions for obtaining adoption records can be found at their website: https://www.alberta.ca/adoption-records.aspx
2. British Columbia: The Ministry of Children and Family Development provides information on adoption services and support for those affected by adoption in British Columbia. More information can be found at their website: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/life-events/births-adoptions/adoption
3. Manitoba: The Adoption Unit of Manitoba’s Vital Statistics Agency provides information and services related to adoption records in Manitoba. Their website can be found at: https://vitalstats.gov.mb.ca/Adoption.html
4. New Brunswick: The New Brunswick Adoption Records Act governs the release of adoption records in the province. Information on how to request adoption records can be found at: https://www2.gnb.ca/content/gnb/en/services/services_renderer.201183.Adoption_Records_Act.html
5. Newfoundland and Labrador: The Newfoundland and Labrador Vital Statistics Division provides adoption-related services and information. Contact information and instructions for obtaining adoption records can be found at their website: https://www.gov.nl.ca/vitalstatistics/adoption-records/
6. Northwest Territories: The Department of Health and Social Services provides adoption services and support in the Northwest Territories. More information can be found at: https://www.hss.gov.nt.ca/en/services/adoption
7. Nova Scotia: The Nova Scotia Department of Community Services provides adoption-related services and support. Contact information and instructions for obtaining adoption records can be found at: https://novascotia.ca/coms/families/adoption-records/
8. Nunavut: The Department of Family Services provides adoption services and support in Nunavut. More information can be found at: https://www.gov.nu.ca/family-services/information/adoption
9. Ontario: The Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services provides adoption-related services and support in Ontario. Contact information and instructions for obtaining adoption records can be found at: https://www.children.gov.on.ca/htdocs/English/topics/adoption/records/index.aspx
10. Prince Edward Island: The Prince Edward Island Department of Health and Wellness provides adoption-related services and information. Contact information and instructions for obtaining adoption records can be found at: https://www.princeedwardisland.ca/en/service/access-adoption-information
11. Quebec: The Quebec Ministry of Health and Social Services provides adoption services and support in Quebec. More information can be found at: https://www.msss.gouv.qc.ca/professionnels/adoption/index.php
12. Saskatchewan: The Saskatchewan Ministry of Social Services provides adoption services and support in Saskatchewan. Contact information and instructions for obtaining adoption records can be found at: https://www.saskatchewan.ca/residents/births-deaths-marriages-and-divorces/adoption-services
13. Yukon: The Department of Health and Social Services provides adoption services and support in Yukon. More information can be found at: https://yukon.ca/en/adoption-services
The government agencies will guide you. Overall, conducting research into your family history can be a complex process that requires patience, persistence, and sensitivity. While there are many tools and resources available to help in your search, it is important to approach the process with care and respect for all individuals involved.