Thursday, March 3, 2016

Nonexistent Information in Genealogy ----- Missing Children Part 4

The Silver Sparrow

The book Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones is a fictional story about a man who has two families--- a bigamist. It takes place in Atlanta, Georgia during the 1980’s.  Both families live in the same town but only one family is aware that the other family exists.  One of the man’s family remains in the shadows and not recognized by the community. Tayari Jones uses the metaphor of the Silver Sparrow to describe the child of the hidden family.  

Married men who have more than one family or more than one set of children is not unusual.  The treatment of the unmarried mother and her child is dependent upon their position in society and the time period. Sometimes the parentage of a child is considered a family secret and rarely discussed. There are situations in which the mother and father married after the birth of the child. 

 In the case of adoptions, the process  may have  been informal, legal, black-market or involve one related parent. The child may have been reared by foster parents. The discovery of information is even more complicated if the adoption occurred generations ago.   The institution of slavery in the United States in which families were sold and separated is also another element that makes it difficult or impossible to identify parents.

 Nowadays, children are born daily with unmarried parents. According to Center for Disease Control and Prevention in 2014, the number of live births to unmarried women in the United States was 1,604,870 With hospital records, school records, birth certificates, Social Security numbers, census, baptismal records and DNA analysis there are more tools available to determine parentage and ancestors. There is usually a limited paper trail of documents to verify information.  Relatives who are are knowledgeable about a child's birth maybe uncooperative about giving information. Finding the missing father or the parents of a child or orphan can still be difficult and possibly never identified. 

"I don't why I'm here Lord, I just know I'm here "
---- The Tree Gardener

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