Search and Support Online Groups - TheRegistry - YahooGroup

>> Friday, August 27, 2010

There are many groups with Search Angels or other resources to help you with your search. Perhaps the best is theregistry on yahoogroups. Theregistry was started in April 1999. It is an interactive email group. People post encouraging messages, information and queries to the whole group. The messages are delivered to the subscriber's mailbox.

In addition to the message forum, the site includes folders to hold informational and reference files, albums for photos and other features. Messages, files and photos published here are only visible to the members of the group.

The Registry was started by a lady who called herself Angry Grandma. Grandma was an adoptee, and found her mother. She took care of her birthmother till she died. At that time, she turned the group over to Jan known as Grandma Jan. That was in 2006.

Jan is a first mother, and started to run the group. At which time, Joan offered to help. She gladly accepted Joan's assistance. Joan was in the background doing things for the board, and members, till Jan became ill, and wasn't able to work the group. Jan isn't able to participate and then Joan became the Head person of the group. She has three groups, one is  the other is Arizona Search _support at yahoo. Joan appreciates the yahoo format, for messages, and files, and links. This best helps  members with information and guidance.
Joan states that "in the meantime, our wonderful angels have been helping people find their loved ones.  < We have angels from all different states. Some run their own sites, and help those that come to our board, to get the best guidance for the states they know. Some Angels will help with all states.

We network with other groups. The top goal is to reunite people.

I hope our new presence on Facebook, will help others to get the search help they need.
We have more plans to expand so people can find us and again get the search and support help they need.
Since you are reading this, it could be helpful if you would share information about us on your Fb pages.
There are a lot of people who want to search and don't know where to begin. .You might help someone else without knowing it by sharing our group name and contact information."

In November 2006, Joan E took over as moderator of the group, she screens each person who tries to join and answers their initial questions and advises them to sign up on and their state mutual consent registry.  There are now almost 3000 members in this group. The majority are silent lurkers, but some of the best Search Angels are associated with this group.

Joan continues to screen each message that is posted to be sure that personal information like phone numbers is not published to the list, but rather exchanged privately among members.

Group resources include files on how to proceed with searches and an explanation of the laws that pertain to reunion searches for each state.

Group members solve 4 or 5 cases per month. Each search can take from an hour to months or years. Group members take a great deal of pride in their work and keep confidential information secret. Being a Search Angel, involves emotionally moving in with the family for a while and becoming one of them and thinking like them. The Search Angels have a high standard of professionalism. There are two style of Search Angels, the loner, introspective type like I am and the more gregarious type who solve problems in groups. No matter which category the Search Angel falls into we still share information and network our resources.

Joan has just set up two Facebook accounts : Looking For and SearchAngelCentral  to help get the word out that there is help out there. Please join theregistry if you are looking for help and support.

There are also regional support groups on Yahoo groups such as nyadoptees (also moderated by Joan E) to help with those very difficult NY searches.

There is also a very active group for Pacific Northwest Searches,Their moderator writes -
In the 90s, there was an online group focused on WA searches called "Washington State Triad" mailing list. There were many in that group that helped with searches before the term 'search angel' came into being. Members of this group were activists, some were involved in getting the OBC unsealed in Oregon, then made several attempts to get laws changed in WA. This original group is also responsible for getting Spokane County to release non-id because until some group members went and had a face-to-face visit with the then County Clerk, Spokane had refused to release non-id. Now days they give some of the best info around.

In the early 2000s, that group started dying down most likely from burn out so another WA adoptee started this group in Sept of 2002. The original name of the group was 'Washington State Adoption Search' and as the name implies, the group was focused on searches in WA.

For the first couple of years, this group had pretty light activity. Then in Dec 2004, BrendaO joined the group and got the group really fired up (YEA!) because of Brenda's enthusiasm to help others with their searches. Kind of fun to go look at the group's home page and look at the "Message History" and see the spike in posts from Dec 2004 onward. : )

In 2005, we started requiring potential members to fill out a pretty long application before they could be accepted into the group. There were several reasons for this:

1. We wanted to know all the basics of someone's search so we could provide them with 'next steps.'

2. We only wanted people in the group that we could really help.

3. We only wanted legit people in the group that were connected to adoption. We wanted to prevent any scammers, paid searchers, trouble makers, etc, from joining the group. So far this has worked well and we really do have a great group of people in this group and many feel like family. : )

In Spring 2006, I was helping a long-time adoptee friend of mine with her Oregon search. I knew nothing about searching in Oregon other than adoptees can get their OBC and I was fortunate to find Donna and Connie (HOORAY!!). They joined this group so then this group was able to help with both WA and OR searches. Because there were no groups focused on helping with Idaho, Montana, Alaska, we started taking on those searches, too.

In April of 2007, we changed our name from "Washington State Adoption Search" to the current name "Northwest Adoption Search and Reunion" to better reflect all the areas we are able to help with.

For the last 3-4 yrs, we've had a lot of search angels from around the country join the group so we have experts for all over the place. Because we happen to have some of the best California searchers in the group now, we are also able to help them. So I've been thinking we might have to change the name of our group once again to something that includes 'West Coast' or who knows what!

Don't struggle blindly in the dark, get some support, some help and find friends. Most important find a Search Angel.

Good luck with your search.


The WIlliams Sisters Believe They Have Found Sister #5

>> Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Excitement was in the air yesterday as the Williams family got ready to appear on Good Morning America to tell the viewers about finding each other and about the search for Sister #5. (See previous blog from June 18 .) At the last minute GMA canceled their appearance. Apparently they had hoped to find sister #5 and present her in the course of the show. Well, I could have told them that it was not that easy!

In the late 50s, something had happened to rip apart the family. The only son, who was 11 months old died after a 2 hour illness. It has been speculated that the mother then suffered from a mental breakdown but we will never know. All the children were born at one year intervals and in different states. They were all put for adoption in Monroe Louisiana and adopted separately. Some had received what is referred to as a non-identifying information from the state and in two cases it said that there was another sister born in 1957. That is what we thought we knew. One non-ID gave a birth date of 2/21/1957.

Needless to say the family and all their supporters were crushed when GMA canceled their appearance. It had seemed such a good way to try to reach the fifth sister. However, USA Today picked up the information that morning and had an article on them. That is where sister #5 saw it and called Sister #2 Betty Robeson.

I received a call from the stunned family right after that. I asked for more Search Angels to check this woman out. They flew to the rescue and confirmed that she was a nurse, had gone to high school where she said she did and had a sister who attended the same high school and identified her mother.

We had planned to send someone to the hospital where she worked to take her picture on their phone and send it to us, bur she beat us to it and sent one herself. This is the picture that she sent -

The top picture is sister #5 , the bottom one is sister #4, Sandra taken on a phone a the hotel yesterday evening..

Here is a quick paste up of sister #5 on top of the reunion picture from June.
She seems to check out. The family is requesting a DNA test to be sure.

As all the Williams family is, she appears to be very nice and with a good sense of humor.  They were even comparing feet on the phone last night. We had been planning and sharing on Skype when they placed a call back to Sister #5. What a privilege to be part of this event!

I am leaving it to the family to name the sister, but I am so happy for them and will be holding my breath waiting for the DNA test,

This is a wonderful example of how perseverance, planning and publicity pays off.

Congratulations to this great family. Sister #5, you are one lucky gal


Thinking Outside the Box

>> Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Often searching requires creativity.

When searching for a person on Facebook, try searching for all the possible relatives listed on various lookup sites as well. You may find family pictures or other information that you can use. In fact, unless it is a really popular surname, try searching on just the surname and go grazing for information.

I am doing an mixed ethnicity search at the moment and the family pictures are very important as we investigate one possible person after another.

Do the same thing when getting the possible relatives on one of the many lookup sites like Look up every possible relative. Some times you may happen on to a gem of information. Do thorough searches on everyone listed.

When searching on, think of all the ways you can stretch the information. If you find someone in public records, refine your search and search using just the address that person lived. You may find out who else lived there.

Sometimes you need to go up a generation and come back to the generation you are interested in. Be sure to check the obituaries that has on line. While you are it, use the family tree, photos and other tabs that come up with your hits. Although the family trees will not typically show living people, sometimes they indicate "Living" and then the last name of descendants.

Check Classmates and check their new yearbook section. You never know!

If you are not finding someone under a birthdate that you have, try  just the year and month.

If your search is for a woman who married, look in also for the maiden name. Legal records and old addresses may still be accessible.

Speaking of legal records. Many of the states have online searchable court record databases. Google "search New Mexico court records" for example. In some states this includes divorces and or marriages that took place with a judge.

Much of what you are looking for is in free sources. However, there are a number of useful sites. No one can subscribe to all of them so join a group like theregistry on There you can ask for people to look things up for you. There are many such online groups.

Here are some of the paid subscription sites I use. I am sure I will leave some off by accident. Some to these sites may also be available through your public library free if you have a library card.
Http:// (if you are looking for a number of people)

I hope this will help someone. I also want to post the names of some of the best volunteer search angels I know. These are women with high principals, networking in place and excellent skills.
Patty Drabing
Priscilla Sharp
Michelle Gross
Diana Iwanski

There are many more I will try to name some more over time.


Getting Contact Information

>> Monday, August 2, 2010

Often the hardest part of a search is getting current contact information. Often the online directories lag a couple of years behind. In addition, many people now have cell phones and at this time, we do not have a cell phone directory. I always Google the full name using quotation marks, then first, middle initial and last name and finally  just first and last name. You often find someone's name on a club roster or membership list that has been posted online.

I have a paid subscription to That can give me the phone number, and as well as, and and many similar directories may have it. If you have the address, try a reverse look up on as well as search on the address in Google.

I have had two finds this past week. The first is a birth daughter and I am still trying to find a good phone number for her. She does have a Facebook account with pictures, but it has not been touched for a few months. So I have the family, she has a birth sibling, trying to send messages to all her facebook friends saying that family is trying to contact her and can they help them. This has worked before.

The next find, has been many years in coming, with about a year's involvement on my part. This is from the St Louis MO area. Missouri gives detailed non-IDs (non-identifying documents that give general information about the family). They are extremely good at not giving you the details that would make a difference. In this case the adoptee, A, received a non_ID several years ago and we had been working from that. I had discovered with another Missouri case, that a request for a non-ID from the court would provide additional information to that from the adoption agency. A requested another non-ID and it had several pieces of information that pointed us in the right direction. It had ancestry information which we pursued as well as information on which school 3 of the birth mother's siblings went to (they went to a special school for a handicap).

A found a Facebook site for the school and contacted someone she believed to be in the same graduating class as her uncle. Bingo! A name of a classmate with two similarly handicapped siblings came forth and then A and I spent hours using Skype and looking up all the people with that last name and figuring how they fit in with the non-ID.

We knew that we had the right person and family, but A was very emotional and petrified to call. She finally has and her mother was very, very receptive and the first thing she told A was that she had always loved her.

Now I will put together a small family tree for A. She has a large extended family now by birth and adoption.

I hope that these thoughts give you some ideas for your search.

As I tell my husband each time, one down and 5 million to go.

Good luck on your search.


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