Judge shares genealogical services

WARREN – Adoption records and other family materials being made available to people are among the services offered by the court system and adoption agencies.

Judge Thomas Swift of the Trumbull County Probate Court was the guest speaker at the recent meeting of the Trumbull County Genealogical Society.

Swift said years ago, money was raised to clean the county courthouse. He said it took a long time to get the records out of the courthouse attic and get them cleaned.

“There were some records that were unsecured and some historic documents had been lost,” Swift said, noting that the probate court is very conscious of taking care of the records and protecting them.

“When I took office 34 years ago, I spoke about the need to protect the records,” he said, noting that members of the genealogical society work with records on a daily basis.

Swift said Trumbull County has a rich history and genealogy plays an important role in society in promoting that history.

Swift said adoption records were open prior to January 1964 when the legislators closed them. They were opened again in September 1996. From 1964 to 1996, the records were confidential and remained that way until 1996.

“We agreed upon a procedure that if a family member wanted to communicate with someone, they would need to go to the agency where the placement took place. If the agency felt it was proper, the agency filed a motion to produce the information,” he said.

“We have been successful in reuniting people with their families. It has worked so well. Most cases work out very successfully,” Swift said.

He said many people want to know who their parents are such as their medical background and identity.

Since 1996, a birth parent could authorize the the release of the identity and information to the adopted person.

“We have a good procedure in Trumbull County. Hundreds of birth families have reunited,” he said.