Question: I did not learn until after my mother died that I was adopted. I am about to become a grandmother. There are all kinds of questions I can't answer about my tree. As a teen, I tried to find out about my roots, but was unsuccessful. What can I do?
Answer: First I recommend "The Adoptees Searchbook: Techniques for Tracing People" by Mary Jo Rillera. This book is available in libraries, or you may obtain a copy from Triadoption Library Inc., Box 638, Westminster, Calif. 92684 for a $16 donation.
This will get you started and answer many of your questions. Additional information about search and support groups throughout the country appears in People Searching News magazine. It is available by subscription ($15 per year) from J. E. Carlson, Box 22611, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. 33335-2611.
Q: Before my father passed away he requested that if I ever went to Yeovil, England, that I put flowers on his grandmother's grave. I plan to make a trip to England soon and would like to know how I can find the cemetery.
A: Yeovil is in Somerset with some records dating back to 1563. The constable will be able to direct you.
However, before your trip, write a letter to the Family History Society in that area. Contact T. P. Farmer of the Somerset and Dorset Family History Society, Brulands, Marston Road, Sherborne, Dorset, DT9 4BL, England. Be sure to include two International Reply Coupons (available from larger post offices) with your self-addressed envelope.
Q: Where would I look to find out about any property that was left that no one has ever claimed?
A: Don't get your hopes up that you'll be able to claim it. Federal, state and county governments usually wind up with unclaimed property, selling it for unpaid taxes.
A check of the probate records of the county where your ancestor died and/or owned real property is the first source to consult. Many of these records have been microfilmed and are available through the LDS (Mormon) Genealogical Library in Salt Lake City via its more than 650 branch libraries.
You also may write to the probate official in a particular county and request a search of the index to these records. You need the full name and an approximate date (10-year period). Be sure to include a No. 10 self-addressed, stamped envelope.
Q: I've often wondered how I came to have a French name (Napier) with a Scottish tartan? Did it originate with the Huguenots who migrated to Scotland?
A: Napier was a name given to the court official in charge of the royal napery (tablecloths and linen). The first record of this name in Scotland is about 1290 when John Naper obtained from Malcolm, Earl of Lennox, a charter of the quarter-land called Kylmethew. So this surname predates the Huguenots' arrival in Scotland.
There have been several distinguished bearers of this surname, including Alexander Napier, who made his fortune in the wool trade and through his financial dealings with James I, and John Napier (1550-1617), the famous Scottish mathematician who invented the logarithm.
To see the beautiful Napier plaid of purple, blue, black and white and to learn more about its origins consult "Scottish Clans & Tartans," by Ian Grimble.
Whether your family is direct descendant of John Naper, or acquired the name later, is part of the challenge of genealogy as you must trace your line back, generation by generation.