Archived Booth records to be digitized

Records function as a tool in reuniting families 

By Lois Sellars – 

The Salvation Army Booth Memorial Homes and Hospitals opened in the late 1800s as places of refuge for unmarried pregnant women to receive prenatal care, counseling, and a safe place to be in her time of need.

Until this March, Western Territorial Headquarters (THQ) stored many of the records for its Booth homes. Now, after all these years, the old and crumbling paper records will be sent to a scanning service to be digitized and preserved.

Through decades of service provided by the Booth Homes—up until the 1980s—the records served as any agency records would; they gave accounts of each individual’s stay at the Booth Home. The records were housed at either the individual Booth homes or at the divisional level in the West until being shipped to territorial headquarters to assist in missing persons cases.

Major Leslie Peacock, territorial retired officers’ services director, played a big part in getting the records to THQ for searching and reunion purposes, which she directed at the time.

“The current ‘public’ mood is swinging toward open access to adoption records. As adoptees are able to obtain their original birth certificate and discover they were born at a Salvation Army Booth facility, they make contact with us to get more information so they can locate their birth mother,” Peacock said. “Since we were in contact with the birth mother at the time she was pregnant, she already has a connection with The Salvation Army, and hopefully trusts us in either assisting with keeping her current information confidential or with reuniting her with the child she parted with years before.”

Since missing persons was already equipped to conduct confidential searches, it expanded that service to include searches for the birth mothers of those born at Western Territory Booth Homes.

Prior to utilizing the Booth records for searching, a birth mother or child could request certain limited information from the file, and be listed on the reunion registry. The Booth Records became a useful source of information in conducting these searches in which an adult “Booth Baby,” usually in their 30s or 40s, sought contact with his or her birth mother.

In one circumstance, a woman born in a Booth Maternity Home reached out to the missing persons department and located her birth mother. Her mother was Native American, and the daughter wanted to enroll in her mother’s tribe. The Booth records contained the daughter’s unamended birth certificate, proving her Native ancestry to the tribe.

“I would like to thank The Salvation Army for graciously walking me through the process that resulted in a lovely reunion with my birth mother and half sister,” she said. “I will always be grateful to Booth Memorial and The Salvation Army Missing Persons Services.”

In the new digital format, the records will provide easier access to information needed for successful Booth reunions.

Comments 27

  1. Leslie
    How interesting. Our daughter Sonja Ruth Clack was born in Flushing Booth Menorial Hospital, New York on October 25, 1971 while Peter and I were serving as missionaries in Eleuthera Bahamas. The Territorial Commander Commissioner Carey graciously arranged details for my hospitalization!

    It would be interesting to see if she and I were registered! Blessings, Estelle Clack Major

  2. My mother Jewel Doris Good was said to have delivered a baby girl in 1946 at the Booth Memorial Hospital in Wichita Kansas. The birth fathers name may have been William Cope. My mother passed away in August 1988 without telling me her story. Her twin sister gave me this information before she passed in 2012. I would very much like to know my sister and if she is still living. Can you confirm any of this information for me. I have been looking everywhere. I can’t afford to spend more money than I have already. Please contact me!
    Robert

    1. Today, many who were born at Booth Memorial Hospital contact Booth Brown House for information. For questions or to request birth records, please call the National Salvation Army Headquarters at 703-684-5500.

  3. My grandmother Barbara Ann Deering gave birth to my mom in a Salvation Army Hospital in Wauwatosa Wisconsin. I’m trying to find out if my mom was put up for adoption. When and how long she was at this home or hospital.

  4. How can I contact Booth Memorial for my birth records–Detroit 1960.
    I have contact with birth mother and father.

  5. My mother gave birth to my half-sister in 1952, in Wauwatosa, WI. We believe she also gave birth, at that time, to a twin boy who was either adopted, or taken to be raised by the father. How would we locate records, or birth certificates from Booth Memorial, The Salvation Army, Wauwatosa, WI birth records, or the Martha Washington Home for unwed Mothers, to find out this information? My mother is deceased and this information just came to light.

  6. My mother gave up a baby boy in a Salvation Army home between 1940-Jan 1943. My mother passed away and I would like to find my half brother before it is too late. My mom would never give me the details about my half brother only that she couldn’t keep him.

  7. I want to know where the unwed mother homes were in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana or Michigan. Where would a girl go to have her baby that she could not keep?

  8. I gave birth to a baby boy at Booth Memorial Hospital in Chicago, IL on 9/12/66. Through a search agency I was given the names of 3 males born in Chicago on that date. I do not know the agency that handled the adoption. Would the hospital name be changed on the birth certificate? I appreciate as by information as I am trying to find my son.

  9. In 1943 to 1945 I lived in Cincinnati, Ohio with my Grandparents. I used to go to the Catherine Booth with my grandmother to volunteer. I was 3-5 years old. I do not remember where it was in Cincinnati, I do know we rode the bus from her home on Elbrook Ave. Did the homes keep a list of the volunteers. Her name was Elizabeth Roehm. My name at the time was Gail Palmer. My e-mail is ggskatzes@gmail.com. Thank you for any information,

    1. Hi Gail,
      Thank you for reaching out. I’ve passed your message along to The Salvation Army nearest you and you should receive a message from them.
      Best,
      Cory

  10. I am trying to find my dads mom and any information for him. He was born in 1955 at the Salvation Army Booth Memorial in Wichita,Kansas. How can I get any info.

  11. I have just received my certificate of live birth. evidently I was given a name at birth and then upon adoption was given a name by my parents. I was born August 21st 1959 at Salvation Army Booth Memorial, Wichita, Kansas according to the certificate. No father listed? I was adopted through the Kansas Childrens Service League on September 25th 1959. Are there any more places to gather information from? Also how do you read the Birth Number in the right hand corner? Not sure what they stand for? Thank you.

  12. Don’t know if I’ve got any siblings out there but would like to findout if my real mother is still was born in September 19 1959

Comments are closed.

Prev
A renewed sisterhood

A renewed sisterhood

Looking at women’s ministries through a new lens By Sarah Micula – I

Next
61st Annual National Salvation Army Week

61st Annual National Salvation Army Week

Typically observed in the second week of May, this National Salvation Army Week

You May Also Like