Diana St. Hilaire is helping her relatives in an effort to track down their sister.

FARMINGTON – Diana St. Hilaire and her four siblings made a commitment in January to find their youngest sister. They will not give up their search until they do.

St. Hilaire of Portland and her sister-in-law Barbara Thorne of Newfield visited Farmington Wednesday to search for any link to Beverly Ann Thorne, who was born March 29, 1950, in Limerick, and adopted by a Farmington couple Aug. 18, 1953.

Franklin County Probate Judge Richard Morton denied St. Hilaire’s request to open the adoption records due to a law that went into effect Aug. 8, 1953, making adoption records confidential unless certain medical or genetic circumstances exist. Morton said he did try to locate the family that adopted the child and the girl known to the Thorne family as Beverly Ann, but was unsuccessful – therefore he couldn’t unseal the records.

St. Hilaire and Thorne scann-ed old newspapers Wednesday on microfilm at the Mantor Library. Both women carried photos of family members at different ages to use as reference points as they scanned, though they have no photos of Beverly.

St. Hilaire’s father, Robert Thorne, drowned in 1949 when her mother, Alice, was six months pregnant with Beverly. After he died, Alice was on her own to provide for her children.

“I can’t imagine being left with five children and pregnant with the sixth,” Barbara Thorne said.

Alice is now in her 80s.

The three youngest girls were placed in good homes. The three oldest children, two boys and a girl, then 12, 11 and 9, remained with their mother.

St. Hilaire was about 16 to 18 months when a relative adopted her.

“I always knew I was adopted,” she said. Her sister Barbara was adopted at age 3 by one of her father’s aunts. They believe a friend of a relative adopted Beverly.

The women believe Beverly would have started school in Farmington in 1955. If she had stayed in the district, she would have graduated in 1967 or 1968.

The women have gone so far as to visit cemeteries where family members are buried to photograph gravestones to try to connect relative to relative. Thorne has been going through 751 pages on an adoption Web site for the last two months in hopes of finding Beverly. St. Hilaire has registered with vital statistics in Augusta and if Beverly is looking for her biological siblings, they could connect.

“I hope she is out there looking,” she said. Family members are paying more attention to names and features when they meet someone, St. Hilaire said.

St. Hilaire wants to know if her sister is alive and well and would like to get to know her and she wants Beverly, if that is still her name, to know she has five biological siblings. Once they find her, they plan to have a professional gradually break the news to her.

“We don’t want to scare her,” St. Hilaire said. If she wants to contact the sisters, then she will, she said. St. Hilaire and her sister Barbara never knew they were sisters until one day in church when they looked at each other.

Alice Thorne’s wish before she dies, Barbara Thorne said, is to see all of her children together.

For now, the family’s search keeps hitting closed doors.

“Not having a last name is the hardest thing,” St. Hilaire said. “It feels so strange to be in Farmington and know she was here and not have any big clue.”

Anyone with information that could help the family can contact them via e-mail [email protected] or U.S. mail at P.O. Box 2, Newfield, ME 04056.

“I won’t give up,” St. Hilaire said.

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