November - December 1999

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Just before Thanksgiving in 1999, I decided that it was time that I search out and find my birth mother and family. I am now 40, and my curiosity now has the best of me.

Ever since I can remember I have always known that I was adopted.   I was the first adopted into a family that would adopt 5 children.  My adoptive parents had 1 child of their own, Mike,  but wanted more. In July of 1959 they adoped me, at the ripe old age of  four months. Before 1959 was over, they also adopted Linda and Donna who were 7 and 9 years old.  Linda and Donna were born in Edmunston/New Brunswick Canada. Their parents were a Russian Cattle Dealer and a Canadian Indian.  It would be 5 more years before our family would grow again. In the middle of 1965 Mom & dad brought home two more kids, Matthew & Martin, fraternal twins.  I was raised knowing that we were all special, we were not just born into our family at random, we were chosen to be there.  We have all just been brothers and sisters, nothing else. My heart breaks for those adoptees who were treated as anything but family in their homes.

For Thanksgiving, myself, my wife and two kids travelled to Michigan to visit with my older brothers family and my mom.  While we were there I asked her what she remembered about my birth mother. She remembered the city I was adopted in, as well as my birth mothers name.  I now had some information to start searching with.

After we returned home, I called the City Clerks office in Bangor ME where I was born, they did not have any information on me or my adoption in their files. They directed me to call the Probate Court in the city where my adoption took place.

I called Hancock County Probate Court in Ellsworth ME, Debbie checked the files and said that she had my adoption papers in her hand.  For a small fee, she sent me the appriopriate paperwork to petition the court to allow me access to all my adoption records, including my original birth certificate.  I returned the paperwork to the court and proceded to wait.

After Christmas 1999 had passed I received back copies of my original adoption papers. These verified my birth mothers name, but that was about it. Most of the information in this paperwork was about my adoptive parents.

I then called the Augusta Dept of Vital Statistics, they maintain records on file of all birth certificates and adoption records for the state.  Valerie looked up my file while I was on the phone & told me she had it.  Before she could release the information to me I had to send her the original court order that I had just recieved from Hancock County Probate Court.  I waited another couple of weeks.

The mailman finally brought me a package that looked interesting.  I tear open the package and find my original birth certificate along with miscellaneous other pieces of paper.  As I look at the birth certificate I see my birthmothers maiden and married names. I also see that there is no birth father listed, and I am listed as 'illlegitimate.  I also learn from this document that when I was born, I had 1 older sibling.

As I use various search engines and marriage and death index searches, I am assuming that my birthmothers husband is my birthfather.  I will later find out that this is incorrect.  I find records of their marriage in 1954, as well as a record of his death in 1967.  I know that they divorced before he died, but I do not know what year.

I now have all the pieces I need to move my search forward.  I start using people-search engines to look up my birthmothers name, but she is married now, so I have no luck.  A little research reveals that the Rancourt family (her maiden name) is very prevelent in the area where she lived when I was born.  I start making note of all the Rancourts and their phone numbers.  I also do similar searches for Youngs in the area (her married name in 1954).

January 19, 2000 10:00 am

I started making random phone calls to Rancourts who live in Winterport, ME area. I tell them I am researching genealogy, ask if they know Anita Rancourt.  I talked to Ida Rancourt of Winterport (207-223-4802), she is no relationship to the other bloodline of Rancourts in town, but gives me the name of Rita Nelson, who is related.  I called Rita Nelson of Winterport (207-223-5565), she gives me the name of Anita Rancourt, who was married to John Young, but is now married to Harold Philbrick of Winterport.

I use the internet to look up Harold Philbrick’s address and phone number. I cannot find a record of a marriage between Harold and Anita.

January 20, 2000 11:00 am

Today I called Anita Philbrick’s residence in Winterport ME.  I talked to her husband Harold.   He told me that Anita was in the hospital, she is fighting emphysima and is very sick at the moment, but she should be home from the hospital by the middle of next week.

I told him that I was doing genealogy research and I thought his wife might know some of the information that I was looking for.  He relayed the following to me.

Anita’s maiden name was Rancourt, and she was married to John Rancourt in the mid 50’s. They had one daughter, Rhonda.  Then they divorced. They were not together for very long.  John Young was killed in the mid 60’s by a tree falling on him.

Harold and Anita were married and have two children together, Sally and Butch.  They also have 5 other children from Harolds previous marriage.

Harold also tells me that John Youngs father is Kenneth Young.

I asked Harold if I could call next week after Anita was home and feeling a little better,  he said that would be fine.  I also told him that I would send a letter which would detail some of the information that I already had and what I was looking for.  In the letter I made sure that I also gave a brief history of myself, which included where I was born, my birthdate, and that I was adopted.  With this information, there should be no question in her mind as to who I am.

January 20, 2000 12:00 pm

I used the SSDI to lookup the date of death for John Young.

I called the Bangor Daily news to see if they kept copies of old newspapers, they referred me to the Bangor Public Library.  I talked with Christy who was very helpful. She looked up he death notice on John Young from micro fiche and faxed it too me.  The death notice mentioned all survivors, which also gave his widows name, Paulette Young.

I used the internet to lookup Paulette Youngs address and phone number.

January 20, 2000 12:30 pm

I called Paulette Young, who was the wife of John Young.  I told her that I was researching my birth family, and although my birth certificate had no birthfather, I thought that her late husband might be my birthfather.  She told me that she knew about me, and that John Young was not my birth father, but she believed she knew who was.

She believes my birth father is Ellery Fairbrother.  Anita and John had split up prior to 1957, when John and Paulette were married, and their first son, John Jr., was born.  She was already pregnant at the time they were married.

John was killed in 1967, at the age of 32, when a tree fell and hit him in the head.  He died in the hospital in Bangor.  At that time he had four sons, and three daughters, including Rhonda Young.

Paulette also told me that Anita’s husband (Harold) also knew about me, and so did Rhonda.  She remembered when Anita was pregnant with me, and that she gave me up because she could not take care of both me and Rhonda as a single mom.

Paulette raised Rhonda part of the time as did Anita. Rhonda also spent time with her gandmother while growing up.  Had I not been given up for adoption, this nice woman might have helped raise me!
Paulette told me that John Young was just a really nice guy, and he usually worked in the woods as a mechanic, on trucks & busses before he was killed.

January 20, 2000 1:00 pm

I used the internet to lookup birthdays for John Young, Anita Philbrick, Rhonda Young.

I now sit down and write the letter to send to Anita Philbrick.

January 28, 2000 1:00 pm

I now sit in my office, with printouts of all the family names I have found, so that I wont forget any.  I pick up the phone and dial the phone number for my birth mom, Anita.  Someone picks up the reciever on the other end, and I hear a pleasant soft female voice say 'Hello...', Now  I breifly wonder, could this be the voice......
Continue with the Story:  The First Call to My Birthmother