I am trying to get more information about an adoption that took place in New Mexico in 1916. The laws around adoption and record privacy seem to be varied, but many states simply don't reveal this information. What would be my next course of action to get more information (laws permitting)?

As far as I can tell it was a newborn adoption, though how far separated the birth is from the adoption, I have no idea. Neither do I know if this was a private adoption or one that ran through government channels. I have the names of the adopting parents and the name of the adopted (which I assume was given to her by the former, not the birth parents). I have no other details other than the date of birth (26 Jun 1916).

Most of my searching has been relatively naive, entering terms into Google like "new mexico adoption 1916" and seeing what comes up. Most of the results are bulletin boards of living people trying to find their birth parent(s), which don't apply in this case.

  • 1
    Can you talk more in your question, via an edit about what things you've tried so far? This will help avoid people suggesting you do things you've already done. Good luck!
    – jmort253
    Commented Oct 10, 2012 at 5:15
  • I too would like to see more information. What was the age of the person at the time of their adoption? What research have you already attempted?
    – Lorraine W
    Commented Oct 10, 2012 at 18:43

1 Answer 1


I was able to find a digital copy of New Mexico Statutes, Annotated which lists the statutes in effect June 11, 1915

Chapter 2 deals with the Adoption of Children and explains the Hearing Process in place at that time.

I think I would begin by trying to determine where the court records for an adoption from that time period are kept. Then assuming that the adoptee is no longer living, I would obtain a death certificate and send a request to the court for more information. Even if the state is a "closed adoption" state, proof that the adoptee is no longer living may open the records.

Also, while the search boards for adoptees seeking their birth parents may not seem to apply, they may provide you with information or ideas of how to continue your search. Adoption.com has a number of addresses, phone numbers, and web links that could help you.

As a side note: I helped a friend reunite with her birth daughter after 30 years ... there was a lot of leg work involved, but understanding the laws in place at that time and continuing to dig can result in a break through.

  • 2
    Wow Lorraine this is a tremendous answer - thank you for the effort you put into it!
    – fbrereto
    Commented Oct 11, 2012 at 18:05

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