Back on December 5th, I shared a story here in this column about a family that had come to Forks the last weekend of November. They were here hoping to solve a family mystery on what had become of a baby that their mother/grandmother had given up for adoption in 1955 in Forks.
A chance conversation with Christina King at the Pacific Inn Motel had put them in touch with me. Christina shared with me the only clue they had, other than the birth year, that clue was that the baby was adopted by a couple that owned a grocery store. In the end, that clue was not the case.
I offered to share their story here in the paper and ask for the community’s help, they accepted the offer. In the meantime, I did some research and I also contacted someone that also had a baby in 1955 (the baby was me) I asked my mother if she remembered any babies adopted here in 1955. She remembered three.
One of the baby boys was quickly eliminated the other two were good possibilities, they both had been named John.
When I did the story in December the family had shared photos of the baby’s parents. The father, Vern Duncan, did resemble one of the possibilities, but that was not enough to go on.
One of the family members created a group chat on Facebook and as we all continued the search we would share what was found. The search had sort of stalled as one of the baby’s had no date of birth listed anywhere, and since this was a small town adoption it was uncertain what documents had been filed.
In late December the family filed for an original birth certificate, it would confirm a date of birth.
On January 18 they received the original birth certificate; date of birth – November 8, 1955. They now had a case number and now could file for “other birth certificate” using the case number.
They then, using the boy’s name we thought it was, as well as the adoptive parents’ names with the birthdate, sent for an amended birth certificate.
At the same time I sent for a death certificate, sadly the baby in question had died on July 30, 1970, when he crossed the highway near the Calawah Bridge with his mini-bike.
About a week later both certificates arrived confirming the baby that was given up for adoption by Barbara Forkey Duncan was Johnny Brown, my former classmate, and cousin by marriage.
The experience was happy and it was sad, but, the mystery was solved. Barbara’s granddaughter Jen shared, “Now grandma would love to learn and hear about his life. Any story’s or pictures that anyone would want to share would be amazing.”
Since both of John Browns’ adoptive parents are deceased, Lee in 1984 and Jack in 2009, I am asking for community help again with recollections and photos that individuals might have. I actually wrote a story about Johnny Brown a few years ago which I have shared with the family. He packed a lot of life into his 14 years of life, please share your memories/photos with this family.
They hope to create a memory book for Barbara who is now 88 years old. Family members plan to return to Forks sometime this summer.
“Thank you again for helping us rebuild our family tree. We have been missing branches and it’s time to find them.”
Sadly this branch has fallen, but I know we can help them, by sharing what we remember!
Christi Baron, Editor