Access to adoption information varies depending on the particular state. The American Adoption Congress has posted a helpful chart that provides information on access to adoption records at

One can easily determine whether a state’s adoption records are sealed, have access with restrictions, have partial access, or have unrestricted access. One can then scroll down to individual states for further information and links. For example, Illinois has “access with restrictions” and a link is provided to request a non-certified copy of an OBC (original birth certificate.)

In Illinois “adoptees, age 21 and older, may request a non-certified copy of the OBC. …If the adoptee is deceased, surviving children of the adoptee may obtain a copy of the deceased parents OBC. As of April 23, 2012, 2,445 OBCs had been released.”

“It is the formal policy of the American Adoption Congress to support state-by-state legislative efforts to restore unrestricted access to OBC for all adult adoptees.”

RootsTech videos online

Those who were unable to attend the recent RootsTech conference in Salt Lake City will be pleased to know that videos of dozens of those presentations can be found online (free) at For example, on March 2 J. Joshua Taylor, Susan R. Miller, and Frederick Wertz presented “Trace the Story of Immigrant Ancestors in 3 Steps.” It should also be noted that TV star, Patricia Heaton’s session is also available.

Learn to use wildcards

Brigham Young University (BYU) has posted a brief (ca 20 minutes) video of a webinar presented by Kathryn Grant, “Getting Better Search Results with Wildcards,” at Learn how wildcards are used and also how they are used differently on different websites.

Library posts databases

The Genealogy Center of the Allen County (IN) Public Library is one of the largest genealogy libraries in the US and posts many free databases online at The categories include African American Gateway, Family Bible Records, Native American Gateway, Our Military Heritage, Genealogy Center Surname File, Family Resources, Indiana Resources, Other States Resources, and Microtext Catalog.

For example the Illinois Statewide Resources include cemetery records from several Illinois counties; a search in the Surname File may provide a researcher’s name with contact information.

Willard Library festival

Willard Library in Evansville, Ind., will host Midnight Madness – a genealogical event – five days and five nights of research and workshops, June 17-21. National speakers will include J. Mark Lowe, Amy Johnson Crow and Louise Cooke. Details of the scheduled events are posted online at and include “the world premiere of a public hearing on the very soul and nature of the eccentric Willard Carpenter with Mud Pit and other sideshows” — in Mat Smart’s hour-long play on Friday and Saturday.

Attend the 23 workshops and enter the drawing for your chance to win a gift of your choice (a get-away weekend or a new iPad); see details at

All workshops are free and open to the public.

Queries, as well as a general exchange of genealogical material that readers would like to share, will be printed in the column for free. Contact Joan Griffis by e-mailing