Search angels are volunteers who offer certain kinds of search help without charge. Generally, they are not professional detectives or people finders, although some have developed exceptional search skills.
Services typically offered are:
Help with online search tools (looking through registries, checking online public records, doing name searches)
Library lookups (City Directories, old phone books, old newspapers, birth records if available)
Local legwork (visits to addresses you may have, city halls, schools if you know the name to check old yearbooks, etc.)
Local phone calls
Some search angels have purchased a series of records or databases, usually specific to a certain state, but in some cases, for entire regions, counties, provinces, or countries. Others have access to school yearbooks from one or more schools.
If you ask a search angel to make copies of documents, mail you papers, make long distance calls, or incur other expenses on your behalf, be prepared to pay for them in advance. Search angels donate their time and talents, but please don't expect them to absorb any expenses.
Locating a Search Angel
Search angels can be found in search and support groups, on our forums, and often in the chat rooms.
Check your local laws on search, and the services they offer. Some states offer free help, others don't.
Contact one or more search groups in the state, county, province, or region where the adoption took place. These groups, discussion boards, and chat rooms are filled with people searching or who have searched and they are a wonderful resource.
A Word of Caution
We do not know any of the search angels who post on our forums or visit our chat rooms, and we cannot verify their information. As with any other service provider, you are responsible for any arrangements you make or information you give out.
Search assistance should not be requested by or for minor adoptees.
Search angels are not professional intermediaries and should not be asked to make contact for you.
Please do not abuse the offers these volunteer searchers are making. They are people reaching out to people in the kindest way possible.