This subject was started in another thread, but the subject is unique enough I thought it best to start a new thread.
DEFINITION OF ADOPTION - AS NAME CHANGE
Within the context of at least a surname study, I consider an adoption "into" the surname I am studying as a separate "line". The criteria - especially for males with the surname I am researching - is whether they changed their name or not. They often didn't need legal papers to change their name; nor do I need legal papers to document an adoption for my purposes.
ADOPTIONS "INTO" A LINE
If I am preparing a list of descendants of John Smith, I don't want that list to be cluttered with dozens to hundreds of descendants of people who are adopted into various descendant families of John Smith. They are simply not his descendants.
For the purposes of my surname study, if a woman is "adopted in" to my Smith family; I may record a marriage for her, but not any of her children. Or, if a natural daughter of one of the spouses, I will not show the adoptive parents as parents at all. I have no interest in her children - they are not descendants of John Smith.
Males are a different matter in a surname study because their descendants continue the surname I am studying. I am considering recording males "adopted into" the John Smith family once as a child for a marker - but then enter a duplicate record for him as a separate, unattached Smith line - same as if he were a separate immigrant. I haven't made that change in my database yet. I presently put a note in capital letters in a Note field for all descendants: "THIS PERSON'S SMITH LINE IS AN ADOPTED LINE".
Unfortunately, the FTM descendant register report will show an adoption for the first generation only - and only if one checks the box to "include parent/child relationship types" - but not in later generations.
ADOPTIONS "OUT OF" LINES
I continue tracking the descendants of either male or female of Smith blood, even if they change their name to a new surname; as I am tracking that surname's blood lines.
PS - Whenever I run into an adoption in my research, I post that fact into the Surname ancestry message board for that surname in an attempt to put future researchers on notice.
How do you handle adoptions? Looking for thoughts and advice and other options regarding this issue.