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Neil Grantham

Recording adoptions

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Hello all


Something 'new' to my Family Tree. A family member had a child whilst a widow, by a married man, and apparently, the child was adopted by her neighbours (let's call them Mr and Mrs Smith)

I wonder what methods others use to record this in TMG?


All I know is that I was told that "Jane Doe" was adopted by the neighbours "The Smiths" - don't even know their forenames at this point




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Hi Neil,


This is a topic that has been discussed for quite some time over the years. What you choose to do depends on how completely you wish to treat both the adopted "family" and the genetic "family. It will also depend upon how much information you have (or wish to record) about both the biological and adoptive parents, and how you want TMG to link ancestors and descendants.


In your case, if the child has taken the surname "Smith" and you wish to leave him in that "family", your records could "pretend" the Smiths were his "biological" parents by setting them as the Primary parents. Then you could simply record his biological information in some tag linked to his biological parents for future reference. However, remember that TMG will only allow one pair of parents to be set as Primary. For all ancestor/descendant purposes TMG treats only these parents as the biological/genetic parents (regardless of the name of the TMG relationship tag type you use). Some of us (if it is not sensitive) prefer to be more genetically factual and set his biological parents as Primary, then have tags such as the Adoption tag or something like my custom Guardian tag which identifies the Smiths as the couple that raised him. But realize if you do this he will not show as a "child" in the Smith family. Finally there are more complicated ways to actually do both. It is really up to you.


Not only am I adopted, but I have a number of adoptions in my family trees, so I have thought about this a lot. I choose to do extensive recording of both families, so have created a number of custom tags, not only for adoption purposes, but also for Guardian purposes. See my separate posting, and a number of replies of alternative ideas, in the Sentences forum here.


There is no "right" way to do this. There is only your decision about what information you choose to have your data reveal. That decision will depend upon lots of factors, especially including sensitivity of the information, the audience for your reports, and whether your purpose is "genetic" or "family" reporting.


Hope this gives you ideas,

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Many thanks for your detailed reply, and the link in to the other thread you made on this subject.

It gives me some good foundation on considering how I wish to represent this person in my Reports etc.

At the moment, I know little about her, and it could be difficult finding that information.


Thanks again


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