Adoption Search and Reunion

Searching With A Name

Odd Places To Search

In the Library you can find books that list people according to what they do in life. "Who's Who In America" can be found in the reference section. It has listings of professional people and influential people across the country. Last I knew this book was published yearly. You can hope to find information regarding their education and employment history plus information on what they are doing now. Sometimes will say a little about the persons family.

A similar book is "Who's Who In American High Schools" which lists honor students with information about what they plan to do in the future. Some listings are complete with pictures.

Ginger who works in a library sent me this information. A book called "Directory of Medical Specialists". There's another one called "Biographical Directory of the American College of Physicians". These huge books list all the US doctors by specialty and by state. It then gives a brief bio which can help you track these guys down later if you would like to contact them. Helps narrow things down if you don't know the hospital where you were born.

Someone who needed to research a couple of college yearbooks went to the reference desk at the library of a local university and requested them to order the yearbooks through inter-library loan. She got the books within a few weeks.

Be creative in your search. Look at the non-id information you have and ask yourself questions. If birthdad was listed as a 'printer' think about what kind of things he may have printed. Look for printer's unions.

Sending for Your Hospital Records

You will need your birth name to be able to get your hospital records. Without that they know right away that you were adopted. If you know your birth name and request your records under that name and then sign the letter with your birth name and your current last name, they may not realize it was an adoption and will then go ahead and send them to you. If you also know your birth motherís name you will want to include that. This works better for females whose last names change with marriage.

An idea for a letter:

The doctor's name on birth certificates is not always that of the attending physician. If a fee is requested, send the hospital a money order signing with the same name as on your request. To avoid drawing attention to yourself, donít say that your need is urgent. If you really had an urgent need, your physician would probably be making the request.

Hospital records are usually kept in repositories on microfiche. Many states have now declared that medical records belong to the person whose medical history is contained in them. Most states will not allow you access to your own records though unless you know your name at birth. If you don't know the hospital where the birth took place, check your Birth certificate, it should be listed unless you were born in an unwed mom's home.

Many hospitals contract their old records out to a company for safe keeping. The hospital should send your request on to that company. If you are told that the records no longer exist, ask them who now holds their old records.

Hospital files contain a lot of good information. This is what you can expect to find in a hospital file.
    1 ... Admission information
    2 ... Religion of birth mother
    3 ... Name and address of your birth parents
    4 ... Attending physicianís name and possibly his office address
    5 ... Medical history regarding birthmom, including any prior pregnancies & deliveries
    6 ... Date and time of birth
    7 ... Type of birth (spontaneous or Cesarean section)
    8 ... Your name at birth
    9 ... Weight, height, color of eyes and hair
    10 ... Birth marks, if any
    11 ... Birth defects or concerns noted at the time of birth
    12 ... Footprints of baby
    13 ... Tests administered to your birth mother and yourself
    14 ... Discharge information may include who paid for the hospital & length of hospital stay

If your doctor will agree to send for these records you have a chance of getting them faster and with more complete information. Generally, a Doctor is not questioned. Expect to pay a fee for copying costs.


After you have a name, don't overlook genealogy groups. Genealogists are interested in finding out about their own heritage and often have a great deal of understanding for the adoptee who wants to know their background. There are many genealogy websites and there also are genealogy mailing lists and newsgroups.

Each state has its own archive for records. This often include state and county records, newspapers, and phone directories. Again, The records date from the 1920's or earlier.

Going through genealogy websites you will find ways to get records from cemeteries, churches, census, courts, marriage and divorce, deaths, city directories, estate filings, immigration, naturalization, military and voters.

For links to these sites and much more about geneaolgy and how to use information in your search please go to my Genealogy page.

Social Security Numbers

You will hear much about how important it is to try to get a person SS #. With a SS # you can access someone's credit report. We all have a credit report somewhere, being able to get hold of it can help a great deal in your search. The purpose is not to see how much money the person you are looking for has. It is not to check to see whether or not they have a good or bad credit record. Your purpose is to get that credit header. This contains the personal information you need to be able to find the person. The credit header will contain their entire name, current address and in most cases a phone #.

Many databases use credit headers and one can often get this information without knowing the SS #. A full name DOB search is the most successful. A first name DOB search will bring back all those born on that day with the same first name. It will not tell you where the person was born but will give you their most current address known to that database.

For all who do not fall into this category it is possible that the SS Administration will have a current address for them. They can forward a letter to the person for a humanitarian reason. They will only do this one time per person. Don't mention adoption! For a reason to send a letter you can use medical, legal, or inheritance/estate. SS Administration won't tell you that they have forwarded your letter. To hope that they do forward it you MUST provide as much personal information as you can on the person receiving your letter. That means you certainly need a name and at least the year of their birth. Include any additional information that you can. Call your local SS Administration for the address to forward a letter and for information regarding their policy on this.

You can apply to the Social Security Administration for the Social Security card of a deceased person. The fee is $20.00 if you have the correct name and number. If not correct or if unknown, the fee is higher. Send your request and check made payable to SS Admin. to: SS Admin., ATTN: Freedom of Information Officer, 4-H-8 Annex Bldg., Baltimore, MD 21235. You should request a copy (Micro print) of the Social Security-5 form. You must include the Name, DOB, and the social security # of that person. It often takes about 10 weeks to get a response. The only practical use that I have heard of for doing this is hoping that you will also get their last known address which can help in a search.

Note that you will get a copy of the orginal document and it will have your birth mom's signature at the time she got her SS card. Rather nice to have.

Having the last known address can help if the deceased is thought to be one of your grandparents. The hope is that it will lead to your living Birth parents. This can help you to find a death notice that will list the survivors and give at least their state of residence at the time of their parent's death. In the case of birth parents who are searching, this information about your child's adoptive family, may lead to your child.

The First Three Numbers of a Social Security Number Tell You Where it Was ISSUED. This is not necessarily where a person lived in later years. A SS # never changes.

The only exception to this are railroad workers (700-729) and some military personnel inducted in the 1970s who have ten digit numbers beginning with the number "0".

Websites to help with Social Security Numbers

Vital Statistics offices

Policies within Vital Stats offices in counties and states vary but many will do a record search. The more information provided, the better but even with just a little bit of information give it a try.

The policy differs from state to state on whether you can get a certified copy of someone else's marriage license or marriage license application. They also differ in the particular information they may contain. In most cases, the application will have much more information than the license. Call the County Clerk's Office and request it. They will give you the instructions on what to send them to order it.

The State Library may have a person listed in the Newspaper Section research microfilm or original newspaper archives. Look for a local paper starting a few months prior to the wedding date for announcements and then for a few months after the wedding date for the marriage information. The names of the bestman and bridesmaids can sometimes lead you to someone who knows where they are today. The article may contain a photo.


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    Before emailing for help, please read my search tips and use the resources on my website. It took me over six months to write all this.
    I can't answer questions and put all this into an email.. {:-)~[


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