Adoption Genealogy Toolkit

Adoption Genealogy Toolkit

Finding birth families is a goal for adoptees, foundlings and donor-conceived persons alike. These adoption genealogy tools, books and websites will show you how.

Adoption genealogy tools can help you reunite with your birth parents.

Finding your birth family can be difficult, but new genealogy websites and DNA resources have made it easier than ever to reconnect with your roots. This roundup of adoption genealogy tools can help you find your long-lost relatives.

Adoption Genealogy Websites

  • Adoptees can create profiles in this site’s registry, helping them reunite with long-lost family members. Users can search for birth parents or adoptees by name, birth date, adoption date, adoption place and more. Other adoption registries include, the International Soundex Reunion Registry and the QuickBase Adoption Database.
  • The Adoption History Project: This collection of resources from the University of Oregon will help you learn about the history of adoptions in the United States, among other related topics.
  • Cyndi’s List: Cyndi Howell’s massive collection of genealogy websites stands the test of time. Visit the adoption, illegitimacy and orphan categories to find relevant resources.
  • All About Adoption Research: Roundup of adoption genealogy records and research considerations, courtesy genealogy expert Maureen Taylor.
  • National Orphan Train Complex: This organization commemorates the 250,000 orphaned, abandoned and homeless children who were part of the Orphan Train Movement. Learn about the Orphan Train and the experiences of its “passengers” under the History tab.

Adoption Books

  • The Adoptee’s Guide to DNA Testing by Tamar Weinberg (Family Tree Books, 2018): This comprehensive book will guide you through the basics of DNA, plus how to select the best DNA tests for you. You’ll also learn how to interpret and apply your DNA results, including how to use them to find and reach out to birth relatives.
  • The Adoptee Survival Guide: Adoptees Share Their Wisdom and Tools by Lynn Grubb (self-published, 2015)
  • Adoption, Identity and Kinship: The Debate Over Sealed Birth Records by Katarina Wegar (Yale University Press, 1997)
  • Adoption in America: Historical Perspectives edited by E. Wayne Carp (University of Michigan Press, 2004)
  • Family Matters: Secrecy and Disclosure in the History of Adoption by E. Wayne Carp (Harvard University Press, 1998)
  • The Foundling, the True Story of a Kidnapping, a Family Secret, and My Search for the Real Me by Paul Joseph Fronczak (Howard Books, 2017)
  • Little Strangers: Portrayals of Adoption and Foster Care in America, 1850–1929 by Claudia Nelson (Indiana University Press, 2003)
  • Swabbed & Found: An Adopted Man’s DNA Journey to Discover His Family Tree by Frank Billingsley (Bright Sky Publishing, 2017)
  • The Ultimate Search Book: U.S. Adoption, Genealogy & Other Search Secrets by Lori Carangelo (Genealogical Publishing Company, 2015)