Ontario Birth Record
for a girl born in 1909
and adopted by 1911
The facts as presented:
I was contacted by a woman from Kingston, Ontario, in late March, 2023. She had recently found that her grandmother - believed to have been born in 1909, was adopted.
Could I find her birth certificate?
Early investigation revealed that the adopted child's 'parents' had married near Kingston in 1901 - at which time the groom was 33 years old, and the bride was 20. On Census Day in 1911, and again in 1921, the only child within the couple's household was the young adopted girl (although no distinction was found indicating that she was in fact adopted). A birth date was recorded for the girl in 1911, which matched what was known by family members, and what was recorded when she died. The family was shown to be 'Methodist' in 1911 and 1921, and the adopted girl declared that she was 'United Church' when she married in 1930 (many Methodist and Presbyterian congregations unified in 1925, to form the 'United Church of Canada').
All civil birth registration records held by Ontario's Office of the Registrar General were surveyed for the year of the girl's supposed birth, 1909, and for each of 2 years either side of the year of supposed birth, 1907 & 1908 and 1910 & 1911. No record was found in this period for the specific day or month of birth as understood by current family members, for a girl who could reasonably have been the adopted girl. Nor were any records found for a girl where the child's name was registered under either a forename, a middle name, or the adopted surname, in any order or combination, which suggested that a plausible record had been found.
Formal 'adoption' became a reality in Ontario only in 1925. Prior to this time, orphaned or illegitimate children who might have been given up or abandoned, were found homes through either family or extensive religious organizations. It is known that the Methodist Church in Canada had wide networks for finding suitable homes for unattached children. Given that the 'parents' appeared to have had no natural children within the first 8 years of their marriage, it was considered that they had indeed 'adopted' the young girl.
Birth registrations were identified for two girls born to unwed mothers in the Kingston area in the month and year of the 'adopted' girl's believed birth. No further traces of either of these two girls could be found within a reasonable amount of search time.
Full details concerning these two illegitimate girls were relayed to my client, with the suggestion that one or the other of these two could in fact have been her grandmother. It was suggested that more detailed investigation around the later disposition of both of these girls might lead to more solid circumstantial evidence that one of them may indeed have been the 'adopted' girl.
- - - - Project No. 230324 (Completed 26 March 2023)
- Bruce D. Murduck
- Category: 2023