For the past year or so, I have continued to hit brick walls researching my Great Grandmother, Elizabeth.
A summary: she was born the year 1874, possibly in Quincy, Illinois. According to her death certificate, her father may or may not have been Edward Bartholomew. She was adopted before 1880 and was living in Jefferson Township, Stephenson County, Illinois, by 1880. Her adoptive parents were Anthony and Elizabeth Briner, and they all adored one another, which is awesome, but unfortunately, her adoption was considered a dirty little secret that no one talked about in our family.
So in the last year, I have been chasing my roots. I get my hopes up, then they get dashed. What was once a sure thing is, well, no longer. I really only have three options left before I have to fold on this one, which aggravates me to no end.
1. I have contacted a woman that has done extensive research on Orphan Trains in the state of Illinois, to see if she could possibly have any info on the adoption of Elizabeth. I don't know if she was on an Orphan Train, but hopefully I can find out.
2. Possible newspaper articles with the Briners announcing the adoption. I've contacted the Stephenson County Genealogical Society.
3. Ancestry DNA on the website. My dad is going to have his DNA tested in the next month or so to at least find out where our ancestry starts.
That's it. All I can really do now is wait. I've exhausted all my options through the state of Illinois and surrounding areas with the information I have at my disposal (which I admit, really isn't much.) I'm disappointed on the results so far, but I know that ultimately so many other families go through the same thing when searching for adoption records. Ultimately, I have to honor Anthony and Elizabeth Briner as her parents. They took her in, cared for her to the best of their ability, and they treated her like their own. They're it.
But, I would also like to get the truth down on record. For so long, the Gerke family history has been nothing but rumors and or lies started by the likes of my grandpa, and I want to know where I really, truly came from. So now it is time to play the waiting game. I'll keep you updated.