I realize it has been a while since my last post, but I wanted to wait until I got all the information back from IRAD about my ancestors. So here is my little update: no info.
I've now sent letters searching for birth and death records of not just my great grandmother, Elizabeth, but the family possibilities of Edward, Jennie, and William Bartholomew and a possible sister, Mary to two different IRAD databases located in Chicago and Quincy, what I had thought to be my best bets. They've looked at all possibilities for me, and there is no information whatsoever.
I'll admit, it makes me a little sad. I was hopeful that they could find something. All that said, I am not completely without hope as of yet. I am nothing if not persistent. I did find an E. L. Bartholomew that died in Chicago in 1897. Although it is 17 years after Elizabeth was adopted, it could be a possibility if he was ill or couldn't afford to take care of the children, so I will order that record and see what comes of it. I am also going to contact the IRAD for the Stephenson County area and possibly the SCGS to see if they can find any info. One of my main problems is all these issues (aka births and disappearances) in my family happened before records were required, so researchers have told me that although there is no record, it doesn't necessarily mean it didn't happen. Which helps me none. I need to be able to prove this stuff.
It could all be a shot in the dark, but I'm not going down without exhausting all options. When all is said and done, I will at least be able to say that I did all I could to put the truth down on paper.