My great-great-grandmother Leona was born in the early 1860s. She was adopted as a young child (we think less than five years old) when her mother died; her father was apparently unfit in some fashion, because she and at least one sibling were adopted. The only story my uncle ever heard was that once her father tried to visit, and she ran and hid under the bed until he left -- she always considered her adoptive parents to be her family and never showed any interest in discussing the adoption, even though my uncle (an avid family historian) had often tried to ask.
We think we know that her former last name was Booth, because she was invited to the funeral of her brother (James Booth). Unfortunately, we're not entirely sure about even that, because maybe James was adopted by the Booths rather than keeping his birth name.
We've researched town and county records (this was in or around Corning, Steuben County, New York) and haven't found a birth record for any Leona of any last name. Registering births wasn't required until a few years after she was born, though.
What are some other resources that I could try looking into that might have some record of this adoption?
Facilitators for Adoption suggested such things as local churches, which I'm starting to build a contact list for.
Are there other community organizations in the US in general, or New York State in particular, that might have been involved in adoptions at the time?