In 1932 my aunt and uncle, Joseph and Alta Christianson Betlach adopted a baby boy who was born April 11th.
His baptism certificate from the Cathedral in St. Paul recorded his name as James Frances G. Betlach.
His sponsors (Godparents) by proxy were John and Hazel Gainey.
After noticing the initial "G" in his name I asked and no one in the family knew what it could stand for.
I did a bit of research on the Gainey's and found a John and Hazel Gainey in Winona, Minnesota.
John Gainey, Sr. had passed away but he had a son John. John Sr.'s wife was Hazel....bingo!
Now more curious about Jimmy's biological roots, I contacted the Adoption agency of the
Minnesota Department of Human Services.
Adoption records are difficult to obtain if you have no close relationship to the adoptee,
i.e. the adoptee themselves, children of the adoptee etc.
Since I was only his cousin I had some hoops to jump through in my research.
I was told adoption records were sealed for 75 years and that I didn't have a close enough relation to request the record.
I explained that no one was left living, not James or his adoptive parents, or grandparents; that there were only us, his cousins:
myself, and my two brothers left living. She considered very closely my request and told me if I could submit death certificates,
and obituaries for James, his adoptive parents and anyone with the close relation, that they would consider my request.
I got busy and got all the requested documents together and promptly put them in the mail.
I received a letter back saying that I would have to petition the court for approval to receive the information I requested.
Again, I promptly filled out the petition form and submitted it. A judge granted me permission and I was given the
birth certificate number and was told he was born in Wright County, Minnesota.
I knew that had to be wrong, but I contacted Wright County and of course they said there was no birth record to be found.
I wrote back to Human Services and was finally told that it was Winona County and that I would have to contact
them to have them do a search because those records were kept at the county level not the state.
Well.......it's been about 13 years since I started this quest to find a biological family name for Jimmy.
I have not as yet been given the information I was seeking. They have ignored all my correspondence.
James was killed June 26th 1952 in Alpha, Minnesota while on leave from the military.
If anyone reading this knows anything about the Gainey family from Winona, and would have information about
someone from the family putting a baby up for adoption in 1932, please....contact me, anytime.
I only want to give James a biological last name.
* Thank you *
Obituaries and Newspaper Clippings