I have my mothers adoption papers from New York in 1927. The name given as the person giving her up for adoption is suspect in my opinion. Was it possible in that day to use another name to hide their identity?

The adoption was private with an attorney and went through the Supreme Court.

  • 1
    Welcome to G&FH SE! As a new user be sure to take the Tour to learn about our focussed Q&A format which is quite different from bulletin boards, discussion forums and other Q&A sites you may be used to. Are you able to add anything to your question about why you think the name given is suspect? If it's "Donald Duck" I'll understand. Do you think someone has borrowed an identity? If so you could try to show that it cannot be that person. If it looks like a name from thin air then that will be much harder. You could try getting your DNA tested to see if any close relatives are matched.
    – PolyGeo
    Commented Aug 22, 2017 at 7:23
  • 5
    Was the adoption and/or birth in New York City, or was it in the rest of (non-NYC) New York State? This will make a difference as to what kinds of advice we can give you, and what kinds of resources you will have available.
    – Asparagirl
    Commented Aug 25, 2017 at 4:26

2 Answers 2


As far as I'm aware, it was a criminal offence to falsify a birth certificate in New York in 1927.

That is not to say that people didn't do it, as evidenced by the case of the notorious child-trafficker Georgia Tann. Interestingly, the bill that sealed adoption records in NY state was signed by acting NY Governor Lehman, who had adopted his children from Georgia Tann. It has been suggested that these facts are not unconnected.

If the person giving the child up for adoption, or the attorney representing them at the Supreme Court (or a third-party intermediary) falsified the papers, then they would have been committing a criminal offence. However, detecting it or proving it from the records at this distance in time would be extremely difficult, if not impossible.

If the person named as the birth mother had other children, and you were able to locate them (or their descendants), and you could persuade them to give their consent, then it is possible that a DNA test could resolve the question.


I am surprised that the name is on the adoption papers at all. I have my father's adoption papers from 1947 and there is no information of the biological parents. My father's adoption was filed through the Queens surrogate court in NY and I was told there was no possibility of getting those unsealed, even if all parties were deceased.

  • There's series of articles on the history of sealed adoption records in NY that you might find interesting . Part 1 contains a link to the next in the series. Commented Oct 6, 2017 at 16:23

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.