Information about Adoption in 1890s?

Question by A to the R: Information about Adoption in 1890s?
I have asked this question before ( ), but did not have much luck. I am seeking information about James T. Shadix (b. 1892) and Mary Elizabeth Shadix (b. 1895). They were siblings who were adopted by John A. Shadix and Ellen America Elder. I am looking for the birth parents of James and Mary. James and Mary were born in Georgia, and adopted parents from Alabama. A possible surname before adoption could have been Higgins (Heard the last name from family members). Since Mary was born in 1895, and showed up under James and Ellen in 1900 census, then the adoption must have taken place between 1895-1900. In the census records they are listed as adopted children, but no trace of birth parents. Any information is helpful.
James T Shadix (Higgins) b. 1892 (Bremen, Georgia)
Mary Elizabeth Shadix (Higgins) b. 1895
Thank You for all the great suggestions. I have asked this question about 3 years ago, and always keep hitting brick walls after research. The family has said that the birth parents died of pneumonia, but remains rumor rather than fact. Other family members have went to courthouses were documents were kept, but because of the fire, there are really no 1890 census records. Also being adopted by family members is likely, but I have to keep searching. It is like a family mystery that has been going on for years because my great-grandmother didn’t talk about her birth parents. Thank You again and I will keep searching.

Best answer:

Answer by kohalgirl
First you need to find out what laws about adoption in the birth state and or the adoption state.Plus the 1890 census is more than half destroyed which makes for difficulty.Also do not take family rumor as fact but do keep it in mind.You may look in death records because for 2 children to be adopted out from same family it sounds as if both parents died or one did and the other was unable to care for them alone and they may have not had other family members to help them.James very well may be named for his father or grandfather too.Also Mary may also be someone’s namesake.I did see one Mary E Higgins with a bunch of children it may be that James and Marys parents had so many and then met with tragedy.I see many times where the youngest get adopted out so they get cared for.I too have an adoption difficulty in my family and may never know the answers I wish for so good luck.Have you tried I see they have many news paper articles for Alabama where the children that are adopted too,this a great source to see real life people in print and many had gossip of the week.

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18 thoughts on “Information about Adoption in 1890s?”

  1. Your prior question had an excellent answer, but went to voting. Did you LOOK FOR THOSE SUGGESTIONS??
    One- an “adoption” then MAY NOT BE the same as adoptions known today. Until you find a court record, you don’t know. They may have taken the name. You hear the name Higgins, means someone knows/ knew. There may have been a guardianship. There was very likely LAND owned by the parents that had to be probated. The answer can be in a probate file contents, not clear from the index or title.
    You have the birth location for James. There are Higgins buried in Bremen per None fit those dates… but it means there WERE Higgins there. WHO WERE THEY? Analyse them, look for a pattern. The high probability is a link between Shadix/ Higgins somehow. Families took babies and children in when relatives died. SCOUR the marriage records for Haralson co and surrounding counties.. pick up both surnames.
    Your info is NOT PROMISED to be online. You may wind up having to order records through LDS on microfilm or even go to Bremen.

    buried at Bremen…
    Joel Higgins..
    this is not factual info in this file…or could be… FOLLOW THE CLUES
    FULL COPY of 1900 census… look again, shows month and years of birth (Mary born May 1894, not 1895) … confirms Ellen had not born children.
    Follow them back as well…

  2. You have a couple of great answers. As Wendy stated adoptions were not always formalized in court like they are today. Chances are one of the adoptive parents was a relative. A child becoming a part of another household just took the name of the family quite frequently.

  3. You already have some very good answers…………… so what I will do is challenge some of your assumptions, purely on a basis that it will help you start to pin point what you KNOW and what you assume….and assuming can mean you are chasing rainbows and time wasting……….

    So How do you KNOW they were siblings…… a birth record for each of them showing parents is the only primary record that shows they are siblings and you don’t have that ( census is a secondary record)

    Adoption? Formal adoptions at that time is highly unlikely unless in law, parents died leaving land/business and a will which asked this couple to ‘take on any children as their own until adulthood’ but this would be tied into a will/court/legal…. in which case there will be records………. I suspect it is more likley they went to live with this couple because one or the other was a blood relative………. so branch line research is the answer to that

    Higgins….. “Heard the last name from family members” ….go back and ask, BUT it is heresay/family story, so unless there is some record proof then don’t chase rainbows and try to make things fit with family they often turn out to be fairy stories…………………..

    So research from what your can PROVE that is KNOWN information, that way you will find what you are looking for ad be able to prove ancestry…………………………..

  4. @thecommercialedge I don’t see that anyone said anything about motives.
    They said something about falsely claiming other peoples’ children, thus
    treating the child’s other parent as “disposable”, instead of honoring that
    part of making a child with someone is that you have a moral and ethical
    obligation to respect that person and to encourage your child’s
    relationship with that person. What is so false about that? It’s the law in
    my state – and I’m not sure why gays get a free pass.

  5. @thecommercialedge How can you say family is not about gender? That’s like
    saying there’s no difference between a mother vs. a father. Or there’s no
    difference between a same sex parent vs. a parent of the opposite sex. Is
    that what you’re saying?

  6. @thecommercialedge You might be granted the legal benefits of marriage –
    But passing a law requiring people to ooh and ahh at the Emperor’s clothes
    doesn’t make him any less naked. Some things are inherent. Michael Jackson
    could bleach his skin and fix his nose, but he never stopped being black.
    Marriage is not just friendship. It is not just enjoying your sex partner.
    It is something more. You can have a relationship with your lover, but no
    judge can make it be what marriage is.

  7. @vicorii I’d love for you to tell me what in what “significant, relevant”
    ways a same-sex marriage is different than an opposite-sex marriage,
    besides the obvious about their gender. I’d also like you to tell me what
    makes it “a lie” that people agree with that man who got married. Why are
    they narcissistic and why are they fantasies? How are they what they are
    not? You haven’t given me any reasons or facts to support your claim.

  8. @thecommercialedge What difference between a mother and a father? ARE YOU
    SERIOUS? Wasn’t that whole androgyny thing disproved by like 1982? What
    century are you living in?

  9. @Kerikali It doesn’t mean whatever you want it to either. See, we have this
    thing called a democracy. That means that people vote for their own laws in
    this country. In some places, enough people have voted that two men or two
    women should be able to get married, so they do. That is a marriage no
    matter what you say it is. You’re the one in denial if you keep insisting
    that doesn’t count just because one person, you, says it does.

  10. @SaruCharmed Pretending that a gay relationship is the same as a conjugal
    one is a lie. Forcing people to play along with a lie doesn’t make it any
    more true. The two relationships are different in kind in significant,
    relevant ways. Civil rights is based on truth, not on forcing people to lie
    to indulge narcissistic fantasies and denial. Plus, trying to be what one
    is not is inherently buffoonish. You’re lovers. Nothing more. Deal with it.

  11. @vicorii That man’s marriage isn’t just some kind of costume. Michael
    Jackson being black is a genetic, biological fact. A marriage is defined by
    law. YOU are not the definer of marriage. Therefore, it is not up to you to
    say what is and isn’t marriage. True, it is up to the people. But you are
    only one person. Where he is, the people said that two men can marry and he
    did. Marriage is not defined by religion either in this country.

  12. @thecommercialedge So if two brothers announce that they are in love, and
    they are therefore married, does that make it true? If it feels like
    married to THEM, does that make it true?

  13. @thecommercialedge haha the rachel maddow vid owner had to block me….sees
    the trap coming, eh? Arguing that homosexual rights is based on confusing
    “to be” with “to do” leads to a dead end for you, doesn’t it? You can’t
    explain how anyone could discriminate against you based on what you
    “are”..there are no tests for illicit desires…nobody is testing for “gay
    genes”, are they? it’s only how you ACT that is discriminated against.

  14. @SaruCharmed If you assume marriage means whatever you want it to, then I
    guess any two or more people who want to call themselves married can do so.
    But reality is what it is. Conjugal relationships are different in kind,
    and no amount of wishing and pretending can change reality. Why do gays
    fear the truth, anyway? What would it hurt them to admit that they love Joe
    but that Sandy, not Joe, is their child’s mother? Denial at this level is

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