Adoptions from remarriage

What is the best way to record the adoption an existing child when the birth father dies, the mother remarries, and her new husband adopts the child, giving it a new family name? The child is still a relative of the birth father’s family, and should be shown in that relationship, but is also now a relative (through adoption) of the second husband’s family.

I’d like to know, also - although I’m dealing with adoptions after divorce.

What I’ve been doing is creating a child with the birth parents and birth date, and a AKA for the adopted name, with a child for the adoptive parents and full information under that name (with an AKA to the birth name). It’s awkward, but works.

My wife’s cousin “Bobbie” was married in about 1968 or 69. Her husband “Joe Bagodonuts” went off to 'nam and when he came home they had a child (I’ll call him “John”). Bobbie and Joe got a divorce and a few years later Bobbie remarried “Douglas Doe.”

Eventually, Joe gave up all rights to John, and Douglas adopted John.

I had John in the database with his birth parents Robert and Bobbie using Robert’s surname where he was listed as John Bagodonuts.

After the adoption, I changed John’s surname to Douglas’ surname “Doe.”

I also added Douglas as John’s father and marked his “relationship” as adopted.

I did all this back in RM7, but it came forward into RM8 just fine.

Looking at John on his person page, he is listed with two sets of parents.
I highlighted one of the sets of parents, and then over on the “parents” side of the page, the highlighted parents are displayed with the corresponding relationship.

  • On the first set of parents, both father and mother are listed with “Birth” as the relationship.
  • On the second set of parents, the father is listed as “Adopted” and the mother is again listed as “Birth”

At the top of his page, John is listed as John Doe
Since I have “John” in my database with Doug’s surname, I added an Alternate Name fact and told RM it was John’s Birth name. Looking at John’s timeline it shows:

0 Birth Oct 6, 1970
0 Alternate Name John Bagodonuts
2 Marriage - Mother Oct 6, 1972 Bobbie and Douglas Doe
4 Birth - Sibling Feb 23, 1975 Suzie Doe
5 Adoption Feb 23, 1975

I printed a Modified Register (Narrative) report and it reads:

John Doe was born on Oct 6, 1970. He was also known as John Bagodonuts on Oct 6, 1970. Name change after adoption. He was adopted on Feb 23, 1975.

I could have it the other way around and left him with his birthname all the way through. And even though biologically, his sister is, in reality, a half-sister, legally she is his sister. And, with them both carrying the same surname it just seemed easier since John’s own daughter carries her father’s adopted name and it saved me adding another explanation as to why father and daughter don’t have the same name.

Hey gang, that’s the way I did it, and it’s been working for me. Obviously, your mileage may vary. At the same time, I don’t know of any given method that is more accepted or approved than the other.


Dale - Thank you very much. I will give that a try.

Thank you, PJ. Creative way of getting all the info in. I think I’m going to try Dale’s method, but may also use your AKA idea.

Most of the time, I don’t have a date for the adoption. In some cases, I don’t even know if there was a legal adoption, but the kid uses the adoptive father’s surname. It works well enough, and gives me a point where I know there’s a split.

I do much the same with name changes but I try and add the dates the the names change occur, as best I can, so that they appear in the persons timeline correctly.