PDE Search

Genealogy: Searching for your Adoption Roots


Adoption presents a challenge to genealogical research. By law, Pennsylvania adoption records are confidential: "All adoption records, and other papers shall be withheld from inspection except upon a court order. The adoptee, who is at least 18 years of age, or the adoptee's adoptive parents, if the adoptee is under 18 years of age, may request of the court information concerning the natural parents that will not reveal their identity. Upon such a request of an adoptee who is 18 years of age, or the adoptive parents, if the adoptee is under 18 years of age, the court or the agency which placed the adoptee may attempt to contact the natural parents to obtain their consent to release of their identity. Information shall only be released about parents that agree to the disclosure" (23 Pa. C.S.A. 2905).

Further information about access to adoption records in Pennsylvania is available at 23 Pa.C.S.A. 2905ff.

Guides For Searching

Searching for a Piece of my Soul: Searching for a Missing Family Member Or Loved One
(A guide to sources for finding family members as well as dealing with emotional issues involved with locating the birth family.)
Birthright: the Guide to Search and Reunion for Adoptees, Birthparents, and Adoptive parents.
(Advice on how to search for birth parents, having a support group, and planning for reunion)

Disclaimer: This page contains links to Internet sites that are not under this site's management or control and are not governed by the privacy or security policies. We have provided links to these sites because they have information or features that may be of interest to you as a visitor to Commonwealth Libraries.

Internet Resources

Ancestry.com Learning Center

County Courthouses in Pennsylvania

Genealogy.com Site Search

Pennsylvania's Adoption Medical History Registry

For additional information, please contact:

Kathy Hale | Government Documents Library/Access/Systems Supervisor
Pennsylvania Department of Education - Bureau of State Library
607 South Drive. Forum Building | Harrisburg, PA 17120-0600
Phone: 717.787.2327
kahale@pa.gov | www.education.state.pa.us