The New York Public Library is located on Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street in Manhattan. This is where you will want to go if you are an adoptee who was born in New York City and would like to find out information about your original given name, the name of your birth mother, and potentially, the name of your birth father.
2. Room 121
The Irma and Paul Milstein Division of United States History, Local History and Genealogy is located on the first floor, Room 121. You might be able to find the key to your past right in this room!
3. Birth Certificate
Don’t forget to bring a copy of your birth certificate. This is a copy of mine. You will note that I have circled the birth certificate number and my date of birth, and I also pointed to the borough I was born in. These are key elements of information that you will need to have during your search.
4. Index of Birth Records
Ask the person at the desk if you can look at the index of birth records for the year you were born. This is what the 1971 books look like. You will see that there are two volumes, and I think that’s the case for most years.
5. Sample Page
This is the heading on a typical page of the books. You will see that it is simply a list of all births that occurred in New York City, listed in alphabetical order by last name. Of course, if you don’t know your given last name, the search might take a while, so get comfortable!
6. My Birth Record!
Here’s mine! You will see that the last five digits of the record number match the last five digits of the reference number on my birth certificate. The date of birth also matches. You will also see the “X” which denotes that the birth took place in the borough of the Bronx. As you have seen on my birth certificate, it indicates that I was born in the borough of the Bronx. Mission accomplished! I have now discovered my given name, which is, drum roll please. . . Stefan Swazey!
Tom Andriola advocates for adoptee rights and shares his personal experiences about being adopted and his successful, independent search for both biological parents. To see more of his writing, visit Tom's Facebook page.
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