Words of Wisdom for Conducting Your Search

By Native New Yorker, Adopted Person and Experienced Searcher: Shelly Lester

For further search help email Shelly at: monschild@aol.com


1. Make it easy to find yourself – list your phone number under your maiden name and/or birth name if you are an adoptee; list your phone as your name when you relinquished. My Mom was in the phone book!


2. Register with the International Soundex Reunion Registry (702) 882-7755, and the state registry in the state where you were adopteed or relinquished. Write for Non Identifying information from the agency used and the state. Visit the agency!


3. In NYC there are birth indexes for both the NY City and NY State births – NYS in the National Archives on Houston and Varick Streets and NYC in the New York Public Library on 42nd and Fifth Avenue.


4. Keep a log of everything you do for your search – jot down every insignificant detail – it may be a key that will open a door later on.


5. Be kind to yourself and others – a smile gets more out of someone you want information from than a fist slammed on a desk – tried both :>)


6. Take a rest but do not give up – you will find if your information is correct – took me four and a half years – I had my birth name (Female Hopkins), that my mother was 40 and Lutheran and a housewife – which the latter was not correct.


7. Check the old phone books for your birth name in the year you were born and the year you were adopted – my birth mother was in the book. Do an address search (reverse phone book) to find out if she lived with someone.


8. If you are an older adoptee, the census is wonderful.


9. If you are a younger adoptee the census is good, but you are looking for grandparents.


10. You need at least two pieces of information to confirm a find. I had a couple of false hits because I wanted to find so badly. Some people may fit the mold but in the end you need proof.


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