Thursday, July 17, 2014

Cousin Jim's Biological Mother

On June 30th I along with three other Adams 1st cousins met in person, for the first time, our newly found 39th first cousin, Jim Jones. Previous posts have chronicled the discovery of Jim through a DNA match: Another Adams Cousin; and X Factor: Another Adams Cousin, part 2

Over the Spring, we had examined each of my mother's 9 sisters which DNA tests indicated could have been Jim's biological mother. Gradually we had ruled out five. Four of them were already married at the time Jim was born so we assumed that Jim's birth name would not have been Adams if any of them had been the the biological mother. 

The 5th was a little more difficult to rule out. Aunt Hattie had been institutionalized for the portion of her life that any living family could recall. The exact circumstances of her entry to the state hospital were unclear. She, at age 21, was still living at home along with her parents and three other sisters in the 1930 census. That was about a year and a half before Jim was born. By 1935 she was a patient in the state hospital. For a time we entertained the thought that Jim's birth could have been the result of a sexual assault that left her severely traumatized. After getting a court order, her records were released. Her disability was documented to have resulted from scarlatina suffered when she was nine years old. In addition she had been continuously hospitalized for the rest of her life beginning a few months before Jim was conceived. 

This was the state of our research when five first cousins (including Jim) met for lunch three weeks ago. 

Doris Logston, Pearl Rogers, Mary Sturm, Jim Jones & Dave Dowell
Right after our lunch Jim returned to the courthouse with renewed vigor to seek any further information that might help our search. On Saturday, July 5th he received a letter from the court which gave him the name of his birth mother. She was one of the four aunts still on our "suspects" list. She had died in 1997 -- one of the last surviving members of her generation of our family. She had never had other descendants to our knowledge.

We now turn our search to a more daunting task of attempting to identify Jim's birth father.