Friday, January 29, 2016

Putting The Pieces Together ~ Robert & Rena (Pleasants) Baugh

This week I have been working on the family of my bio-genetic (bio) maternal great grandparents, Robert Allison Baugh and his wife, Rena Maude Pleasants and their children. One of the biggest problems I have had in researching my bio-genetic maternal lines is that there does not seem to be anyone who is seriously researching these families. The public trees I do find look forsaken and lonely.

With those thoughts in mind, my goal was to go over the records I had already found via Ancestry and FamilySearch and then to see if I could find any more records or records with more details.With all of the record groups being added to both sites I was sure I would find something. I hit the jackpot!

Here is a list of the records I found this week at Ancestry:

  • Virginia Death Certificates, 1912-2014 
    • death certificate of bio maternal grandmother
    • death certificate of bio great aunt's 2nd spouse
    • death index for a 2nd bio great uncle 
  • U.S. Obituary Collection, 1930-2015 for my bio great uncle. While this was only an index it did provide me with 2 pieces of much needed information, the name of his spouse and their only child.
  • Virginia, Marriage Records, 1936-2014 
    • marriage certificate of of cousin, which led me to his wife and her information.
    • marriage certificate of bio great aunt and her 2nd marriage plus this spouse's first marriage certificate
    • marriage certificates for 3 additional cousins
  • Virginia, Divorce Records, 1918-2014 
    • divorce decree for bio great aunt from 1st husband, & 2nd husband's divorce decree
    • divorce decree for 1 cousin 
All of these records added information to my research. For some of the deaths of these individuals I was able to restore their obituaries through for the small price of $2.95 for 24 hours. Well worth the cost for the clues I found in the obituaries! Once I restored the obituaries, I then printed them out for future reference. 

I now have both of these great grandparents accounted for with all of the documents I can find as well as that of each of their 10 children. I still have a few death certificates to order as they are were only available in "index only" online at Ancestry.


"Virginia Deaths, 1912-2014", database and images, ( : accessed on 27 January 2016), [multiple entries, names are private].

"Virginia, Divorce Records, 1918-2014", database and images, ( : accessed on 27 January 2016, [multiple entries, names are private].

"Virginia, Marriage Records, 1936-2014,", database and images, ( : accessed on 27 January 2016, [multiple entries, names are private].

"U.S. Obituary Collection, 1930-2015, database, ( : 27 January 2016) [name is private].

Editor's Note: I have with held the names of Robert and Rena's children for the privacy of still living descendants. Since I am adopted these still living descendants may not know about me, however I can provide a detailed source list if necessary.

Friday, January 15, 2016

A Little of My Story ~ Part 2

 This is me circa 1966 (personal collection)

In March of 2011 I received an email from a “Search Angel” (aka "Angel 2011") in Florida who wanted to know if I was still searching for my birth mother, my response was Yes! I should explain who search angels are and what they do. A search angel is someone who will help you locate your birth family information but be prepared to do the leg work they ask. They generally live in the state where your adoption took place. I don't know how they have access to the information that they do but I am so glad that they do.

In my case I have had 4 search angels between 1998 and 2011. Each one was able to get me a little further but then those infamous brick walls would bring us to a screeching hault. In the summer of 2010, I worked with one search angel and we got so close but I still missing pieces. 

When my "Angel 2011" contacted me I was excited and scared not knowing how things would go. After chasing down leads from my "Angel 2011" and posting at Cousin Connect. From there I learned more information that I forwarded to "Angel 2011". My "Angel 2011" found a marriage record for my birth mother that showed she married again three months after I was born. My birth mother married to a gentleman in the X-ray Department where they both worked in the hospital where I was born. They divorced and she remarried once more but she had no other children.

Little did I know that she had been living so close to me! She lived an hour away from me for nearly two years before I found her and just hours away from my hometown of Greensboro, where my family and I had been living since 1975. It took me several hours to make that very important phone call to ask if I had finally found her. I was really nervous and excited all at once. When she answered I made sure I had the right person by asking her name. Then I asked if  July 21st, 1962 was a date she remembered. Of course, she denied that it was but then she asked me what this call was about. I told her that July 21st was my birthday and that I believed she was my birth mother. 

Boy, there was a long period of silence. Then she asked me what I wanted. I explained that I wanted to meet her and to get a family history both genealogical and medical. She asked if I could come that afternoon. Of course I said yes!! 

I called my husband Tommy, my parents Bill and Nina, my son David and my very best friend Banna to let them know what had happened and that I was heading to Florence to meet her. My Mom wanted to be sure that I told her how thankful her and my Dad were that she chose to let them adopt me.

I had a few goals in my thirty plus years of searching for her. One was to get my birth father's name and information. Another was to find out my birth name or if she had named me. my next goal was to get a family history for her side of my tree. I also wanted to get a family medical history. However, to me the most important goal I had was to let her know that she had made the right choice. Not just trusting the obstetrician she and my Mom shared to choose my parents but to know that I was raised in loving home with good Christian values. I also wanted her to know that I respected her for the hard decision she made in choosing to give me up for adoption knowing that she could not afford to raise another child at that time. I also wanted to thank her for making these courageous decisions knowing that in 1961-1962 she didn't have many options.

She was polite and answered many of my questions. I showed her pictures of her grandsons and my family. She showed me pictures of my siblings and the few pictures she had of her ancestors. She told me about her childhood, her children and gave me the first three generations of family own family tree. She told me what she knew of my birth father and it was not flattering! Of course that was in the "non-identifying" information I had received from the state of Florida. 

She did make it very clear that she didn't want a relationship. So I was surprised when she called and asked me to meet her for lunch about three weeks later. She wanted to meet at a restaurant halfway between my home and hers. We set a date and time. I expected that she would cancel but she didn't. We had a nice visit and discussed genealogy and what I found since my first visit with her. As we ended lunch she again stated that she didn't want a relationship however she did tell me that if there was to be one I would have to do all of the work in the relationship.

After thinking non-stop for days, weeks and even a month or two, praying for guidance and finally coming to the conclusion that I would not pursue the relationship. What was the point of me doing all of the work to build and maintain that relationship if she wasn't willing to work on it too? Relationships take work from all parties involved not just one. I don't know if she ever told her other children that I had found her or about our visits.

The one thing I can tell you is that this journey and finding my birth mother has brought me a sense of peace. Perhaps that peace is because I had this yearning to know where I came from and the type of people I am genetically linked to. Or maybe it is the  fact that I got to tell her thank you. Whatever the reason I am at peace with the search for Barbara, my birth mother and my maternal lineage. 

I guess the same cane be said of my birth father as well. I was very fortunate to find some very good genetic matches to his family last year. I am gradually working on my paternal lines. I don't have a sense of him yet but I believe that with time I will find it.

Well this is my story for now. Over the rest of the year there will be more stories and I will add some regular weekly posts as well.


Friday, January 1, 2016

A Little of My Story

 Me, 1962, personal collection

This is very personal blog for me. It is my story but it is also my bio-genetic family story too. I am not really sure where I should start but I thought perhaps a little history might be a good place to start.

My story begins in Miami, Florida where I was born on July 21st.  I was given the name Kathleen Scarlet, by my birth mother, she was apparently a “Gone With the Wind” fan as I learned only a few years ago. I honestly don’t know which surname she used on my original birth certificate hers at that time or my birth fathers.

My birth mother and my adoptive mother were patients of the same obstetrician. When I was born, this obstetrician called my adoptive parents and asked if they would be interested in adopting a little girl who had been born that evening. They said yes, and the rest is history or rather it is my story.

I was lucky, I was never in a foster home or an orphanage. One week after my adoptive parents brought me home form the hospital I was baptized and by Thanksgiving of 1962, my adoption was finalized. Remember it was the early 1960’s and it seems that private adoptions moved rather quickly back then.

My adoptive parents were told that my birth mother could not afford to keep me and that she had two children from a previous marriage. They were told that she wanted me to go to a good home and preferably one that would provide a Christian upbringing. 

Growing up, my adoption was never a secret nor did it make any difference to my family or friends. As my Mom told me it was up to me to decide who I wanted to share that information with. Well, I am taking a big a leap and sharing my story with all of you.

I spent thirty years searching for my birth mother. I had more information on her than I did my birth father. It seemed logical to start with her at that point. In December of 2010 I made the decision that if I had not found my birth mother by the end of 2011, I would stop my search. 

Making this decision and realizing I may never know anything about bio-genetic family history was a difficult. I wasn't entirely sure that when the end of 2011 came I would stick to my decision. A lifetime of questions that would never be answered. I also knew that she would be in her late 70’s or early 80’s and time was running out.

In a very small nutshell here is what I do know from the "non-identifying" information I was given by the state of Florida. At the time of my birth I was the youngest of 3 children for my birth mother (she would have one more child after me) and I was the youngest of at least 5 children for my birth father. I would like to connect with these siblings if possible. 

I can tell you that from my own research that my bio-genetic families are from North and South Carolina mainly having come from Virginia and England. They quickly spread from the Carolina's to Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana and Tennessee.

I am not sure how my story will unfold as I begin to put words to paper, so to speak or where to go from here in my story. I do know that I will be sharing my DNA results and hoping someone can help me get a better understanding of what I am looking at. It is my hope that one of my half siblings or perhaps another family member will find it and contact me, perhaps help me fill in the pieces of my bio-genetic history. 

Of course, there are details I won't release due to privacy issues and for exclusionary purposes should this blog find its way to any birth family members. I do know that both of my birth parents are deceased. I don't know if three half siblings on my maternal side know that I made contact with our mother nor do I know if they even know about me. I am pretty sure that my paternal half siblings know nothing of my existence nor did our father.

I am trying to decide what kind of weekly and/or monthly posts I want to write. I know that I will definitely be doing Surname Saturday's and I am considering a Fab Find Friday. Time and your feedback will help me determine what else I should talk about.

Happy New Year!