Category Archives: biological parent

And more about the Engles. . . and why I love the Welsh

I haven’t posted anything lately because I am waiting for a bunch of my biological Engle family death certificates to arrive from the state of Pennsylvania. The copies are only $3.00 each, but the wait time is months & months. They are probably hoping that you’ll lost interest and tell them never mind before they get around to making the copies.

Anyway, I have a few mysteries that I hope to solve by receiving these certificates. My 2nd great grandfather, George W. Engle, was born in Pennsylvania. In every census I can find about George W., it states that both his mother and father were born in Germany. I have found a George Engle born in Scranton, Pennsylvania that was the son of Louis and Philipena Engle and the dates match. Louis and Philipena Engle both came to Pennsylvania from Germany. I have sent for George W. Engle’s death certificate in hopes that it will list his parents names, as most death certificates do. Louis was a German butcher, oh my.

Another mystery is that my great grandfather’s brother Robert was paralyzed. I found this information on the 1910 US Federal census that says “unable to work, is paralyzed”. I found a newspaper clipping about a Robert Engle who died in 1914.

robert engle

I wonder if this is the same Robert Engle, who was paralyzed? The death certificate should show if he belongs to the George W. Engle family and if so, why did he die of exposure? Did someone leave this paralyzed man out in the elements? Like leaving a useless relative on an ice flow? Maybe none of this has any validity, but I am waiting for Robert Engle’s death certificate to see if this is the same Robert, as his age fits and he was from Scranton.

I did receive Anna Thomas Engle’s death certificate yesterday from a fabulous researcher, Maryann Bacsik, from New Jersey. If you ever need a record from New Jersey, this is the woman you need to contact. New Jersey records are very difficult to obtain because none of them are online. Thank you, Maryann!

Anna Thomas Engle’s parents were born in Wales. John J. Thomas came to the United States to find a better life and, voila, ended up back in the coal mines. Bet he said, more than once, just shoot me now. I haven’t been able to trace John J & Mary Thomas because John & Mary Thomas from Wales is like . . .John & Mary Smith from the U.S. But, I haven’t given up yet.
anna engle death

Another mystery — poor great grandmother Anna tripped on a curb in New Jersey and then dies from pneumonia. She had to have already been sick when she fell (?). To make matters worse, her husband Charles F. Engle, remarries on Oct. 17 of the same year. I realize that men hate to be alone, but from July 13 to October 17 isn’t a very long time.

I really don’t care if my husband should remarry, if I precede him in death, but I only request that he not bring a date to my funeral.

Back to Anna May Thomas, whose parents were from Wales. I love dark and gloomy Wales. I spent a couple of months (once upon a time) in Wrexham, Wales, which is only about 12 miles from Chester, England (another very favorite city). The Welsh language is fantastic because all of the city names look like if you fell asleep at the computer, and when your head hits the keyboard, it spelled out the Welsh city names.

My favorite singer of all times is Tom Jones. Thanks to my great grandma Anna’s genes! Tom was born Thomas John Woodward in Treforest, Pontypridd in South Wales. He father was a coal miner. Once when Gil, my husband, and I were staying in Swansea, Wales, we came down to the breakfast room only to hear Tom Jones’ fabulous voice blaring through the speakers. My heart stood still!

I once talked my daughter into patronizing her poor old Mom into attending a Tom Jones concert in Last Vegas. She agreed to attend. But when I threatened to fling my big girl panties towards the stage she said something like, “you are so dead”. So I behaved myself and enjoyed Tom as he truly is a fabulous performer.

tom jones

A Photo of Me Admiring a Photo of Tom Jones in Las Vegas

And by the way, he isn’t dead. I just googled “is Tom Jones dead?” and I received the answer, of course not you silly goose! He has been married now for 55 years to Linda. And from the looks of this photo, he isn’t packing potatoes or sweat socks into his shorts as some gossip tabloids have alleged.

**THIS IMAGE HAS NOT YET BEEN INDEXED BY THE LIBRARY.  IF IN ANY

Tom has finally accepted his senior statemanship. And at the age of 71, and as Sir Tom, he’s quietly changed his image from swivel-hipped sex god to elder statesman of pop. He’s let his dyed hair grow out to its natural grey, and with matching beard, he looks exactly what he is: a rather cool grandfather and devoted family man.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2142603/How-Tom-Jones-stayed-married-55-years-He-admits-There-things-missus-just-dont-talk-about.html#ixzz2Uun4KHoE
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Tom Jones2

A Recent Photo of Tom Jones

This is the village in Wales from Tom was born.

where tom jones came from

Tom Jones was born Thomas John Woodward, at 57 Kingsland Terrace, Treforest, Pontypridd in South Wales. This is a photo of Pontypridd.

You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby . . .Not So Fast

Ugly Children

Ugly Children

Joan Rivers says that when she comes across an ugly baby and can’t think of what to say, she comments on how nice the crib is!

Here is some background in case you haven’t read my earlier posts. My older brother and I were both adopted from The Willows Maternity Sanitarium in Kansas City, Missouri. We aren’t related genetically, but grew up together and are close. As close as two complete recluses can be.

My brother is four years older. After my parents adopted him, they immediately set the wheels in motion to adopt another baby. Single child households were not common back in the late 1940’s – early 1950’s as these were the baby boom years after WWII.

In order to adopt another child, my older brother was taken to a child psychologist and interviewed. I’ve copied what the psychologist wrote about him.

Psychologist's Evaluation

Psychologist’s Evaluation

And she was dead on about my brother. From an early age, he showed incredible mechanical genius. He was a mad inventor even as a little kid. My brother made rocket fuel in the basement. He created a mechanical witch that popped out of the clothes hamper in the bathroom to scare me when I got up in the middle of the night to pee. And on and on. Mom said that whenever she visited his elementary school unannounced, he was always standing out in the hall being punished for one thing or another. Honestly, he was just bored. A.A. Hyde Elementary School didn’t appreciate his aptitude and also didn’t know how to handle him with the exception of making him stand in the hall.

In 1951, my parents were given the opportunity to adopt a baby girl (me). One month after my birth, they drove to Kansas City to pick me up. As you can see, I was skinny, very red and hairy. My eyes appeared oversized, much too big for my face.

Me at One Month.  Taken when Mom & Dad picked me up in Kansas City

Me at One Month. Taken when Mom & Dad picked me up in Kansas City

My big brother and me.

My big brother and me.


Four Month's Old

Four Month’s Old

The state of Missouri has finally changed their laws on Sealed Adoption Records. If both biological parents are dead (and you can prove it), you can petition the Court to receive a copy of your adoption file. (I have written more on this subject in earlier posts)

I finally received a very thick manila envelope of paperwork from the Circuit Court of Jackson County. Inside were pychological evaluations of my parents, letters of reference, copies of receipts, etc.

Of course, I have read through this file several times. I thought I had thoroughly read everything until yesterday when something new caught my eye!
pretty

Luckily for me, Mom didn’t see me through other people’s eyes. If she had known what the home visitor had written, that I was not pretty and not precocious, she would have driven to Kansas City and kicked her in the butt! Once they got us, Mom and Dad were the most loyal parents ever.

Below is copied from a letter that Mom wrote to the social worker in Kansas City. (a copy of her letter was in my big manila evelope)

Her hair is very dark for a tiny baby and her head is beautifully shaped. I have seen pretty babies, but none as pretty as Jan. Now, if we can just teach her all the things that must go with her being so beautiful.

I wish our pictures truly could show you how sweet our baby is, but some day we will be in Kansas City and we will bring her to see you.

Thanks Mom and Dad! R.I.P.

I’m Proud to be a Coal Miner’s Great Granddaughter. . .

I’ve recently been doing a lot of research on the paternal biological side of my family (the Engle side). I haven’t found when they arrived or entered the United States, but I have discovered that most of them came from the coal mining region around Scranton (Lackawanna County) Pennsylvania. And many of them were coal miners or worked in some capacity for the mines. And they married coal miner’s daughters. A lot of these “in-laws” were miners who came from Wales looking for a better life . . .and ended up working in the mines anyway.

I haven’t found the exact documents yet to prove when the Engle family first arrived, but several census documents say that George W. Engle’s father was born in Germany.

George W. Engle is my 2nd Great Grandfather, born 1849 in Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania

and his son was —

Charles Frederick Engle is my Great Grandfather, born 1874 in Peckville, Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania

and his son was —

Charles Frederick Engle, Jr. is my Grandfather, born 1899 in Taylor, Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania

and his son was —

my biological father, William Leonard Engle, born 1919 in Montana.

Charles F. Engle, Jr. (grandfather) switched from being a coal miner to being a wildcatter during the oil boom days. And that explains why my father was born in Montana.

R.I.P. Olivette Engle, Born 1901 & Killed in 1922 by Deranged Husband

I don’t have a lot of information about my biological father’s family, so I have been slowly working backward from my father’s records to his father, etc.

It is always surprising when you find an early death or an interesting newspaper article about one of your relatives. Today I found that Olivette Engle, my paternal Great Aunt (sister to my paternal grandfather) was murdered by her 2nd husband Frank Wesley Johnson. And she wasn’t divorced from her first husband, Joseph G. Crum.

Olivette Engle, 1901 - 1922

Olivette Engle, 1901 – 1922

Olivette Engle was born on 7 Nov 1901 in Scranton, Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania to Charles F. Engle & Anna Thomas Engle. She was one of six Engle children. The family moved to Union, Broome County, New York at some point between 1910 and 1920. The 1910 U.S. Federal Census shows them living in Taylor, Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania. And the 1920 U.S. Federal Census has them living in Union, New York.

 
Murder1
 
Murder or Suicide1
 

Olivette Engle Crum Johnson's Death Certificate

Olivette Engle Crum Johnson’s Death Certificate

Frank Wesley Johnson, Olivette Engle's 2nd Husband

Frank Wesley Johnson, Olivette Engle’s 2nd Husband


Frank Wesley Johnson

Frank Wesley Johnson


Frank Wesley Johnson

Frank Wesley Johnson

A Very Fun Holiday Gift for Anyone — DNA Testing for Genealogy & Family Origins. Come on, you know you are curious!

I’ve tested my DNA at both http://www.familytreedna.com and at http://www.23andme.com     Because I am adopted, I used the Family Finder test at familytreedna to verify my paper trail.  I waited until I knew who my biological father was and even until I had talked to his son on the phone.  In fact, I never had to bring up the subject.  His son told me that a DNA test would prove my theory and said that he would be willing to take one.  I ordered the test for him and it proved correctly that we are 1/2 siblings.

But DNA testing can show so much more.  It seems like everyone I talk to believes that they have some Native American blood.  I thought I did also as I have dark hair and eyes.  And my complexion is “olive” or “ruddy”.  I had to look up the definition of ruddy to make sure I was using it correctly & I am. But I found that my ancestry composition is 99.9% European and .1% East Asian & Native American.

rud·dy

/ˈrədē/
Adjective

(of a person’s face) Having a healthy red color.

At 23andme, it is about finding your relatives, but also about your health & how your genes determine your chances for disease.  Under “My Health”, 23andme has the following categories — disease risk, carrier status and drug response.

One of the most interesting things I discovered is that  3.1%  of my DNA is from Neanderthals.  That puts me in the upper 98% percentile.  Average Northern Europeans on their site have an average of 2.6% Neanderthal.  Being in the upper 2% is like being in an exclusive group like Mensa, only with much more hair.  I always wondered why my toes made my feet look like they belonged to a Hobbit.  23andme also sells t-shirts  that correspond with the correct Neanderthal percentage.

3.1% Neanderthal

3.1% Neanderthal

23andme recently acquired new financing that allows them to permanently lower their test from $290.00 to $99.00. This is an incredible bargain. Their goal is to attract one million new customers this year. That will make matching with relatives so much easier.

I’ve copied the following from 23andme’s Press Release of Dec. 11, 2012.

23andMe Raises More Than $50 Million in New Financing

Company Sets Growth Goal Of One Million Customers, Reduces Price to $99 from $299

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – December 11, 2012 – 23andMe, Inc., the leading personal genetics company, today announced it has raised more than $50 million in a Series D financing. Participants in the financing include Yuri Milner, a new investor, as well as existing investors Sergey Brin, 23andMe CEO Anne Wojcicki, New Enterprise Associates, Google Ventures and MPM Capital. This investment will help the company achieve its growth goal of one million customers.

The Power of One Million People

Expanding the company’s ability to reach and serve one million individuals supports 23andMe’s goal to revolutionize health and wellness. It also will accelerate 23andMe’s ability to create a powerful platform that enables researchers around the globe to make meaningful discoveries significantly faster than is currently possible. With this expansion, 23andMe, which currently has more than 180,000 customers, will aim to:

  • Enable groundbreaking research by creating an exponentially larger collective of actively engaged, genotyped individuals;
  • Help accelerate development of new treatments;
  • Improve understanding of wellness and disease prevention; and
  • Broaden access for people seeking to manage their health and well-being through direct access and greater understanding of their own genetic data.

“A community of one million actively engaged individuals will be transformational for research. A community of this magnitude will improve researchers’ ability to quickly answer questions about genetic function and the role of environmental factors. In addition, it will enable researchers to understand medication efficacy and side effects, in both medications that exist today and medications are that are in development,” Wojcicki added.

Broadening Access: Lowering Price to $99

The Series D investment, combined with rapidly decreasing costs associated with genetic testing technologies, enables 23andMe to reduce the price of its Personal Genome Service to $99, effective immediately. The company will continue to evaluate optimal pricing strategies.

The investment also enables 23andMe to expand the necessary infrastructure to support growth in its research and operational capabilities, including product development, genetic research, software development, recruitment and marketing.

I Can’t Say Enough Nice Things about the Volunteers at www.findagrave.com

Yesterday I received an email from a Kenneth Schaeffer, a volunteer at http://www.findagrave.com   He found my birth mother’s gravestone & posted a photo of it on the findagrave site.

Grace Adele Britt Ball

Kenneth Schaeffer has added 3,876 memorials to findagrave and has taken 580 volunteer photos in the Pennsylvania area.

What is Find A Grave?
Find a Grave’s mission is to find, record and present final disposition information from around the world as a virtual cemetery experience.

If you haven’t taken a look at this site, I urge you to do so. It is a great genealogical resource. Plus, if you have photos to add, it will help the future generations with their research. Anyone with a digital camera can check out the photo requests in their area and post a picture.

Thank you Kenneth!

Willliam L. Engle, 1919-1966

Both of my biological parents are dead. I wish I had met one of them to hear the story of how they met, why Grace Britt took the train to Kansas City to give birth to me and much more. The one thing that I know they had in common was drinking. Unfortunately, it was also the cause of both of their deaths.

My bio. father, Bill Engle, was born on April 1, 1919 in Montana and died on December 27, 1966 in Bay Head, NJ. I’ve talked to my 1/2 brother and 1/2 sister on the Engle side and, although they didn’t know that I existed, they weren’t terribly surprised. Their (& my) father was an avid horseman and polo player. He could even ride a horse standing on its’ back. Bill was a pilot, was in the Masonic Lodge and a character. His son volunteered to have his autosomal DNA tested. I had already had my DNA tested at http://www.familytreedna.com and the test proved our 1/2 sibling relationship.

When Grace met Bill, he was married and had a family. Whether she knew about his family or learned about it later, I’ll never know. Bill’s wife has also passed away. If she was alive, I’d never write this in a post. But it certainly explains Grace’s going to Kansas City on the train. Men aren’t always honest and, as the saying goes, “all is fair in love and war”.

Bill Engle was a military man and served in both WWII and the Korean War. During Korea, he was in the armored tank division and was hit by a tank tread. After coming back to New Jersey, he started a successful real estate agency called “Town & Country”.

I wish I knew more about him as he was a character. It was his wish to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

William L. Engle’s Obituary

Below is a photo of Bill Engle taken from a Graceland College yearbook.

Do You Remember Dottye?

I’ve been a lot more researching than just looking for records online.  I’ve also sent my DNA to be analyzed at http://www.familytreedna.com and http://www.23andme.com.  Both of these sites will match your particular DNA with others & predict how closely you are related.
Familytreedna calls their test “Family Finder” and 23andme calls their test “Relative Finder”.

They both use autosomal DNA (inherited from both the mother and father, four grandparents, eight great-grandparents, etc.) to provide you a breakdown of your ethnic percentages and connect you with relatives descended from any of your ancestral lines within approximately the last 5 generations.

And, if you wish to share your DNA ancestry with people who haven’t tested with either of these companies, you can go to http://www.gedmatch.com and upload your autosomal DNA data in order to compare it with a broader audience.

All of that said — I got a message one day from Wendy saying something to the effect, “Hi, we are related as Distant Cousins.”  At that time I didn’t know as much as I do know about my biological family, so I replied that I was adopted at birth and didn’t have a lot to share.
Wendy replied that she was adopted also — and expressed how ironic it was that two adopted people with no knowledge of family background would match!  Wendy has a powerful blog — it is about her search for her biological background, adoption and all that she has done to try to uncover her past.  The text copied below is from Wendy’s blog

   http://rememberdottye.webs.com/

Dottye Robertson Moore

I began looking for my birth mother on the day that I turned 18 in Columbus Ohio. When I entered the court I had thought that I would leave with my adoption records in hand. After the clerk laughed at my request she informed me that Ohio is a closed records state, and that I would be leaving with no such file.

It was 14 and a half years later, with the help of Reunite of Ohio Inc. that I was given my first mothers name.

Dottye Moore

The following day I found out that she had died in a car accident in 1973, and I was also given the name of my sister.

More about the “System” at the Family Court in Jackson County, Missouri

Since the law allowing adoptees to receive identifying information was passed in 2011, there has been a huge amount of interest and it has created a backlog of adoptee’s cases waiting for review. There is a very small staff available for this review and they feel the need to cross all t’s and dot the i’s. Individuals requesting information have a several month waiting period before their file reaches the top of the pile. The request for information is not the top priority of the Family Court. The Family Court attorney has so many other activities to pursue like child welfare, support and family disputes that reviewing the adoptees’ requests is at the bottom of their list of priorities.

Because they are such sticklers for detail, they even feel the need to “review” requests when the birth parent would be over 100 years of age. I guess the parent might still be alive, but it is doubtful. I can only imagine the Court interviewing the birth parent in their respective nursing home. The poor birth parent probably wouldn’t remember what they had for breakfast, that they once had children or that they even had sex for that matter.

Perhaps it would benefit the Court to temporarily hire someone to clean up the backlog and free the Court Attorney to work on more pressing matters. But again, I am not a stickler for detail or even for keeping secrets that are no longer important to most people. My adoptive parents told me from day one that I was adopted. We had way too many cousins in the family who would have known the truth and we all know how children love to keep family secrets — not.

I know passing legislation is difficult. And then once it has been passed, even more difficult to enforce when there isn’t enough staff in place. My answer to the problem is to simply make the records available once the adoptee is of a certain age. Or if the birth parents are dead. Wait, isn’t that what they just passed? So why the wait and why all of the review? Anyone with a computer can access the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) which contains over 90,000,000 records.

Just Found Out That Ms. Schottel is not the Problem

ugh, I hate to have to admit failure, but poor Ms. Schottel is only the poor creature that stops the buck that falls on the Jackson County Family Court when angry adult adoptees (like me) strike. I wish to publicly apologize to Ms. Schottel. Especially if I exasperated your Chron’s Disease, Colitis or Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Unless you are an adoptee who has been searching for years and years, it is hard to imagine the incredible buildup of anger that occurs. When you know that there is a “forbidden” sealed file hidden somewhere with all of the secrets of your being & you can’t see it — a storm starts forming in your brain. I personally have known a couple of “adoptees” whose lives didn’t end well because of this.

Again, Ms. Schottel, I am sorry. I know I couldn’t do your job for ten minutes. I would tell everyone to meet me outside after work and I’d spill the beans about the entire contents of their sealed records. The entire culture has shifted & to continue to keep these secrets would be more than I could bear.

I first received a copy of my “void” birth certificate from an anonymous search angel in the 1970’s. It arrived in a plain envelope after I had requested help from one adoption help site or another. Because this was before the internet, all of this was done in “writing”. How antiquated.

I continued searching, but because the internet hadn’t been formed — it was tough going. There are so many kind individuals working within the system willing to risk their jobs to send you info.

I next asked for help about finding my father’s identity and I got a phone call from another “search angel” telling me his name — William L. Engle. Oh joy, now I know the identity of both of my parents. Only now I have to fit the pieces together.

I have had many people tell me over the years that I should feel lucky that my mother chose life. After finding out more about my mother & father, I feel lucky that they both ordered that additional “Manhattan” or “Whiskey Sour” that lowered their inhibitions enough to let them “go to town” and create me. I wish to thank “Jim Beam” or “Johnny Walker” for giving me life and the fact that abortion wasn’t legal.

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