Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
African American Lives 2 -- Hosted by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
In Search of Our Roots -- Buy the companion book now from ShopPBS
Sharing Stories: One Family's Story
Read a story matching
the term you chose:
STORYTELLER LOCATION YEAR TOOK PLACE TELLER'S PLACE OF ORIGIN HOW YOU HEARD
My adoptive mother Chicago, Illinois 1929 Tennessee. Cook County Vital Records, Chicago

I was born in 1954 as baby girl Harris. I was not immediately adopted. That happened in 1957 and my mother and father that raised me, the Russell's, moved to Chicago Heights. My mother, Mrs. Russell, left me and my brother with the names of our biological parents in case we ever wanted to try and find them. So on the back of a photo of my brother [Robert] and I Ms. Russell had written down all of this information. So, in short I went to the county building in Chicago once and they [by mistake] gave me a copy of my birth certificate. The one before the adoption took place. Somebody got in trouble. I don't have that copy anymore. But, I have the information. I always remembered her name - Aurelia Harris and Walter Harris. According to the birth certificate she was 24 years old and married. Why she put me up for adoption I don't know. Anyway, a few years ago began to snoop around again and tried to find any relatives that I may have in Chicago or someplace. But, my biological mother never knew what my name became after I was adopted. So even if she was looking for me -- she probably didn't know my name in order to look. Aurealia's maiden name was Autry. I went the archives and found Autry's that lived in Tennessee and then in Springfield, Illinois or somewhere. But, only a few Autry's moved to Chicago. I have some speculation according to the records that my grandmother and grandfather, aunts and uncles lived in Chicago. But, I also learned that one of my aunt's got married on the South Side of Chicago at someone's home. And a bishop married my mother and father there. It's a puzzle. Then I got busy with my own life and I've since stopped looking. I feel that my mother is passed away by now. My daughters want me to find my "real" relatives. We did manage to find an Aurelia Harris in Phoenix, Arizona that died in 2001. The funeral home would not send me the obituary. That would have told me about her family and if she was an Autry or not. They wouldn't let me have the information. I got discouraged and quit. But, I'm always curious about it. I must have sisters and brothers some where.

The End [for now]

Back to story listBack to sharing into
Email this page
Major corporate funding for African American Lives 2 and its outreach initiatives is provided by The Coca-Cola Company and Johnson & Johnson. Additional corporate funding is provided by Buick.
The Coca-Cola Company Johnson & Johnson Buick
KUNHARDT Thirteen/WNET New York