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Ontario adoption records from 1923

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  • Ontario adoption records from 1923

    I am awaiting my test results on FTDNA. I previously took the 23andme test, and found that I had a half Aunt I knew nothing about. Apparently my mother (Aug 1923 Toronto - 1970 Toronto), was adopted, something she had suspected, but that her adoptive parents kept to themselves. I know her birth father (also my 1/2 aunt's father), but only a few vague clues as to the mother through dna matches on 23andme. Does anyone know if I am able to access adoption records in Ontario for 1923, and how I would go about it?

  • #2
    Try this government website:


    • #3
      Thank you for the link. I'll give it a try... it mostly seems to be for adoptive children and parents, not children of adoptees, but i'll see what I can get.


      • #4
        Originally posted by neamster View Post
        Thank you for the link. I'll give it a try... it mostly seems to be for adoptive children and parents, not children of adoptees, but i'll see what I can get.
        neamster- I hope you have better luck than I did. My mother, too, was adopted in ON (Hamilton). This occurred back in 1935, so she fell under the widely casted "net" of the Adoption Act (1921). However, the record I received thru ServiceOntario was basically only a (deeply) redacted version of my mom's original Birth Certificate. Actually, a different one altogether, so this is, likely, the "substituted" Birth Registration form that the link provided mentions (see text under "Born in Ontario"). My mother is deceased so they would only give me a "Non Identifying" record, which, unfortunately, wasn't much help.

        Such a record contains:

        1. Full Name of Child (my mother's name here - accurate)
        2. Date of Birth (my mother's DOB - accurate)
        3. Birthplace (Hamilton - accurate)
        4. Date Issued (almost 1 month after her DOB)
        5. Certificate No.
        6. Sex (female)
        7. Registration No.

        The surname used in the Full Name of Child noted above was the adopted father's name. This record was also stamped "DECEASED", as that's how the application was filled out by me, meaning I had stated that I was the "child of a deceased adopted person." So, I effectively informed Hamilton, ON of my mother's death.

        Both my maternal grandmother (my mom's mother) and "grandfather" (the man who adopted my mother) are long deceased (2008 and 1982, respectively). The issue has always been this: was this man who adopted (and, BTW, also subsequently married my maternal grandmother) one and the same as the birth father? That's the $64MM question. The Hamilton OGS genealogist who has helped with much of my research has suggested that this, in fact, could quite possibly be the case.

        Indeed, at one point we had been told that "yes" that was the case, but you know how that family stuff goes. My mother spoke little of this man. He ended up divorcing my grandmother several years after my mother was born - in 1943. That was probably a few years after they had separated, so as a very young girl my mother had very few memories of this man. She did find him in 1982 - mere weeks before he died. I was much younger then and was never made privy to their conversation. If only I had asked mom at the time.

        [BTW, although I have no DNA tests for either my mother or grandmother, I have effectively "verified" that my mom's mother was, in fact, my "genetic" grandmother through various DNA connections that correlate to the "paper" genealogy for both her and her ancestors.]

        To backtrack, and to reiterate for clarity, my maternal grandmother got pregnant at a very young age (17) and had my mom while NOT married. As I understand it, in those instances the birth father - even if known - is NOT included on the actual Birth Record. This is at least one reason why it has been suggested that he subsequently adopted his own child - to shore up the records in that regard. However, I'm starting to have my doubts as to that (just a "feeling").

        Long story short, due to Canada's hopelessly outdated (archaic) adoption laws, I have not been able to verify who the actual birth father to my mother is. As stated, both "publicly known" individuals (my grandmother and the man who adopted my mother) are long gone; nearly 10 years for her and about 35 years for him. Why therefore a birth child of my mother (=me) can't access her adoption record now is borderline insanity. Even if you took a narrow view of things and take the position that there was "another man" involved, that person, in all likelihood, would also be deceased. Back in 1935, its very likely he would've been at least 18 at the time, if not much older. That would mean that, at bare minimum, he'd very nearly be 100 years old now!

        At what point does "enough is enough" come into the "privacy" equation here? This is where our (and neighboring) governments fail ALL of us. There is no one to "protect" anymore here! I could go (rail) on and on about this, but I don't want to make this message any longer than it already is.

        Again, I wish you more luck in your search than I had.
        Last edited by mjclayton31; 8th October 2017, 03:10 PM.


        • #5
          Interesting, and what I was afraid of... reading the site, it looks to me as though, as the child of a deceased adoptee, I am entitled to little or no info. Further, if a private adoption, or through a private agency, there may be no record. I will plow on into it however, and report on any results.


          • #6
            Originally posted by neamster View Post
            Interesting, and what I was afraid of... reading the site, it looks to me as though, as the child of a deceased adoptee, I am entitled to little or no info. Further, if a private adoption, or through a private agency, there may be no record. I will plow on into it however, and report on any results.
            If, after posting more pertinent information here I don't respond, i.e., in a reasonable amount of time (say, a few days), please PM so I can be "reminded" if this string and I can see where you ended up.



            • #7
              A bump on this thread...

              In the months subsequent to my October, 2017 post, I have confirmed that the man who married my maternal grandmother and who also adopted my mother (presumably, soon thereafter) was NOT my "blood" grandfather. I know this with certainty because I found a birth daughter from him from his 3rd marriage.

              Long story short, when this woman DNA-tested we were NOT a match. Since, by definition, she would've been my half-aunt (i.e., if we were connected by blood to this "grandfather") there should've been, on average, over 800 cMs in the DNA comparison between us. Instead, we have zilch. Enough said there.

              I have been reading up on Canada's Adoptions laws, Privacy Act, etc. It's supposedly comprehensive, but it really doesn't take into account children of deceased adoptees. That's unfortunate, as the "next" generation beyond the actual "adoptor"/adoptee should not be completely forgotten here.

              In the copy of my grandmother's 1943 Divorce decree, I note here that she was given "...full custody of the adopted daughter..." (= my mother). In instances when the male (also, the "adoptor") voluntarily gives up any and all custodial rights to the (adopted) child, shouldn't the Adoption laws therefore relax more in that regard? Common sense says "yes," but, apparently, oft-idiotic elected officials (pick your country) have typically deemed otherwise.

              I'm trying to investigate whether I can make some sort of appeal to Ontario's Registrar General in charge of Adoption records. This is, of course, a long shot. I think it may even be difficult to get such a submittal in the "right hands" in the first place - you know, so proper consideration to my request could actually be given. If nothing else, government laws (and the interpretation thereof) lack flexibility and also the aforementioned "common sense" quotient.

              I make no promises here, but if I am able to follow-up on this matter then I will endeavor to do so.
              Last edited by mjclayton31; 30th June 2018, 12:25 PM.


              • #8
                Another thread bump here...

                Recently, I've discovered that, despite not being a principal to the Canadian adoption process (meaning either being a birth-parent or the the adoptee itself), as a birth child of the adoptee (who is deceased) over the age of 18, I am nonetheless entitled to "Non-Identifying" information regarding her adoption. This appears to be a very positive development.

                Since my last posting, I've discovered two key pieces of information:

                1. That my mother's adoption took place when she was 2 1/2 years old, in 1937;
                2. That the City of Hamilton (thru Service Ontario) isn't actually the repository for her adoption file/record, rather, the Children's Aid Society of Hamilton ("CAS") is.

                Long story short, I received a letter from CAS last week in this regard and have since submitted a release form to them. They will, of course, have to redact anything they consider to be "identifying" information, which surely would include a name (and probably not just the surname), but one hopes there might be some innocuous tidbits or clues that would further my search for the identity of her father - my maternal grandfather.

                I will follow-up again in the future.


                • #9
                  Thanks for the updates of your interesting pursuit. I hope you will get something helpful from the information from the CAS office.

                  I also hope the original poster, neamster, has made some progress in his/her search.


                  • #10
                    An update here for anyone who's interested. The CAS of Hamilton office came thru on my "non-identifying" request - finally! This, after more than a 6 monthdelay (processing time). Amazingly, I now have my mother's actual Adoption record. Although it's heavily redacted in places, it's just crazy to see. The very first paragraph refers to, "... this Italian fellow." My grandfather. Wow.

                    It's not all "roses and sunshine" (are adoptions ever?), but there it is in plain ink. I had already deduced that my Italian DNA was on my mom's side, but to see this in "official" writing is just so surreal. What's even more fascinating (intriguing) is that certain tidbits that were NOT deemed "redactible" actually have given me clues to the identity of my grandfather. At present, I still don't know he is/was (without question he's deceased - too old). Actually, I've already made an "educated guess" as to his identity that I'm now working to try and prove. Despite my mother's circumstances, which certainly does temper my enthusiasm to an extent, it's nonetheless an enticing endeavor.

                    I guess the moral here is: don't give up. It took me "forever" to get to this point, yet I now find myself closer than ever to being able to identify my maternal grandfather and, by extension, my Italian heritage.


                    • #11
                      Very interesting articles and thought I'd share a new kind of twist. I was adopted at very early age in Halifax, NS and last fall I received a letter from the Nova Scotia Adoption Agency requesting if I wanted to make contact with a sister that had been searching for siblings / parents for years. Naturally I agreed and after all the preliminaries we finally made contact with each other, her being in UK and myself in Halifax, NS. The adoption agency are aware of our natural birth mother; however since she was still alive and didn't want any contact, we weren't able to get any data on her. My new sister and I both took the FTDNA Family Finder test in our attempt to determine if we were full and half siblings; however the DNA test results don't connect us at all. Thus either a dna test sample got contaminated OR the NS Government birth records are wrong - both cases way out of the norm.


                      • #12
                        That's a tough story, Sandy. I hope it gets resolved - one way or another...

                        One last update for me: I did find my paternal grandfather. It's 99.99% certain. I have asked a half first cousin to give me that last 0.01% by offering to pay for her DNA test, but not sure if she'll be willing to do that. No word yet. What has been phenomenal is to see a couple pictures of this man. Crazy. Never thought I'd see that day. And, yes, my mom very much has some of his features...