Your Research Problem
My ancestor Robert Arch Harris was adopted in the 1860s in Troy, Iowa. Would it be possible to identify his birth parents?
Thank you, P. Nash, Poway, California
Many adoption cases are solvable. Price and Associates suggests checking local sources in Troy, Iowa, such as censuses, court records, guardianship cases, and probate records for clues. Copies of many of these records are available in Salt Lake City.
Using a trick our research specialists learned, we searched for Robert Arch without a surname as a child on the 1860 Census of Troy, Iowa. We found a Robert A. Richardson that fit his description. The Richardson family disappeared between 1860 and 1870 – the period when your Robert was adopted by a Harris family. As we further examined the Richardsons, we learned that the father died during the Civil War Era and his widow left a will in 1866. In her will, she stipulates that her son Robert A. Richardson was to be placed in a Harris home and his name would be changed to Harris – so despite a lack of evidence in court records and guardianship cases, we were able to solve this adoption problem. In fact using this new evidence, during one $1200 standard research project, we succeeded in documenting one of Robert’s biological lines back to the 1600s in Colonial Virginia.
Note: Results will vary.