Many adoptions were informal back then, there may not even be any adoption papers. Often the child was from an extended family member, a friend's family, or "a friend of a friend of a friend"
And if it was from an adoption agency, many of them lied to their clients, both knowingly and unknowingly.
Joseph applied for an emergency passport back in 1919 while in Port-Said, Cairo, Egypt. He was a merchant seaman and wanted to return to the US. He was unmarried at that time.
Are there any family stories that would help?
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