I'm here because while recently sorting through some of my deceased grandfather's belongings I came across a partial genogram pertaining to my deceased mother whom was adopted.

She is noted as "given middle (adopted/maiden) married [AdditionalName]" now throughout her life she knew she was adopted, but was told little to no information about her biological lineage.

Is it possible this addition name noted in brackets is potentially her Birth name? What else might the bracketed name mean?

More info:

The diagram is not hand drawn, it is computer rendered but from which software I can not identify. This notation does not appear elsewhere. Not even for her other 3 siblings all of whom were also adopted. The adoption would have occurred in 1949 Massachusetts. As for other conventions - they are fairly basic; Surnames are uppercased, nicknames are double quoted, maiden names are in parentheses. Then oddly there is this one instance of [Additional Name].

  • It helps if you include a little more information like country, county / state, years etc. I certainly don't know what a genogram is (it is a good job Google does). It may help under these circumstances to include a copy of it with your question. This list has members world-wide hence the need for country etc.
    – Colin
    Aug 28, 2013 at 8:20
  • 2
    @Colin, the diagram probably identifies living people or people born in the last 100 years; if it does, it shouldn't be reproduced here.
    – user104
    Aug 28, 2013 at 9:48
  • @colevalleygirl Without seeing it though it is difficult to put into context.
    – Colin
    Aug 28, 2013 at 14:05
  • Did the other adoptions take place before or after this one (or both before and after)?
    – user104
    Aug 28, 2013 at 14:39
  • 1
    Any chance you could scan it and then black out any identifying names? (@ColeValleyGirl) Aug 28, 2013 at 20:27

1 Answer 1


It's very possible who ever created the genogram (family tree diagram) was using a set of conventions they developed for themselves, so it's hard for us to be certain. Was the diagram hand drawn? That would increase the likelihood that the conventions were 'idiosyncratic'. Are there other examples of the same notation elsewhere on the diagram that might shed some light? Are there examples of other notations that would help you build up a more complete picture of the conventions in use?

However, if the [Additional Name] isn't a name that is familiar from any other context (did she marry more than once? use a different name at any time in her life?) it could be her birth name. To confirm it, you'd need to do a lot more work (exactly how would depend on where you're located and when the adoption took place). DNA testing would be one potential avenue to explore -- a match with somebody sharing that name would be highly suggestive.


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