Kinsearching April 24, 2011




Marleta Childs
P. O. Box 6825
LUBBOCK, TX 79493-6825

     Whether you are looking for your birth parents or missing loved ones out of curiosity or for medical reasons, you may find helpful ideas for your quest in Lori Carangelo’s THE ULTIMATE SEARCH BOOK: WORLDWIDE ADOPTION, GENEALOGY & OTHER SEARCH SECRETS, 2011 EDITION. First published in 2002, the new edition contains revised and updated material about the “ultimate search” in each of the fifty states, the District of Columbia, the U. S. possessions and trust territories, and more than 200 countries.

     As director of the organization, Americans for Open Records (AmFor), Carangelo is in a unique position to offer advice about locating people under difficult circumstances. Drawing upon her considerable knowledge, she shares secrets to successful research with a broader audience. She explains how experts get past the wall of secrecy and obstacles to find individuals through legal means, which may be free or require a fee.

     Laying out the blueprint for obtaining results from inquiries, the first five chapters cover a wide range of topics. Subjects pertain to information about the major categories of materials and databases that a researcher is most likely to consult (vital statistics records, censuses, the National Archives, and courthouse records, for example); resources for tracing missing or runaway children, war buddies, or old classmates; methods for discovering persons (donor parent, birth children, and foster parents, for instance) whose names you may or may not know; a list of adoption disclosure laws for every state in 2010; and useful internet websites, such as reunion registries and adoption topic chat rooms and links. For illustrations, the author reproduces forms, such as an adoptee’s original birth certificate, an adoptee’s “amended” birth certificate, a request for the appointment of a confidential intermediary, and waivers of confidentiality by adoptees, birth parents, and siblings. Interspersed throughout the text are pertinent excerpts from letters written to AmFor by individuals seeking a variety of family data.

     The bulk of the book arranges material by each U. S. state and then by individual nations throughout the world. Sections dealing with the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Australia, and New Zealand furnish more details than those concerning countries such as Azerbaijan, Ecuador, Nepal, Tunisia, and Yemen. Depending on the place under examination, information may include addresses, phone numbers, and websites for vital records offices and the dates covered by those records; whether records have been microfilmed by and are available through the Family History Library of The Church of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) in Salt Lake City and its branches (interestingly, these include original and published records from such areas as Micronesia, the Philippines, Sierra Leone, Singapore, South Africa, Tonga, and Trinidad and Tobago); and excerpts from various magazines and newspapers pertaining to adopting children from countries like China, Romania, and Russia.

     As a result, the 2011 edition of Carangelo’s book offers a gold mine of valuable material, especially on adoption. Although the amount of information about each country differs greatly, her work is the only publication that gathers into one volume a vast amount of data relating to often difficult search topics. A copy of THE ULTIMATE SEARCH BOOK should be in every library genealogical collection.

     The 294-page publication has soft covers, a preface, and illustrations. To the book's price of $39.95, buyers should add the cost for postage and handling charges. For U. S. postal mail, the cost is $5.50 for one book and $2.50 for each additional copy; for FedEx ground service, the cost is $7.50 for one copy and $2.50 for each additional book. The volume (item order 9634) may be purchased by check, money order, MasterCard, or Visa from Clearfield Company, 3600 Clipper Mill Rd., Suite 260, Baltimore, Maryland 21211-1953. For phone orders, call toll free 1-800-296-6687; fax 1-410-752-8492; website

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