[APG Public List] Genealogical vs. Non-genealogical [TracingLiving Descendants]

LBoswell laboswell at rogers.com
Mon Sep 21 05:34:21 MDT 2009

First, define "missing persons".  I'm not so certain that attempting to locate an individual that  someone has lost touch with  would be considered to be searching for a "missing person" under any state law.  The person usually is not "missing" in any sense of that word.  Adoption searches are not for "missing people."  Most of the searches described in this thread have not concerned "missing persons" in the true sense of that phrase.

Second, adoption searches have been mentioned in connection with this thread for some reason or other.  Adoption searches are some of the most personally rewarding work that a genealogist can do.  In one case an individual had been searching for forty years for her biological parents. Within three hours of starting (with more than a bit of luck) I was able to complete that search. You simply can't imagine what a successful search means to someone in that situation.  There is nothing comparable to it.  I also have personal experience in this regard in that a member of my family was the subject of such a search, so I've experienced the process from both sides. To say I am sensitive to all that is involved in this work would be an understatement.  And as I've stated, my safeguards more than meet any legal or privacy requirements.  

The terrible outcomes that have been mentioned are very rare.  For every one, there are hundreds of positive outcomes.  But you can't take on this type of work (even the adoption searches) without serious consideration and proper procedures.  I don't think it's helpful to exaggerate the chances of something terrible happening.  
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: DonnDevine at aol.com 
  To: apgpubliclist at apgen.org 
  Sent: Sunday, September 20, 2009 10:56 PM
  Subject: Re: [APG Public List] Genealogical vs. Non-genealogical [TracingLiving Descendants]

  One more pitfall that may arise in searching foor living people hasn't yet been mentioned in this thread. Vecause of the many risks that have already been touched upom, searches for living people may be restricted under state law.  Many states define searching for missing living people as private investigation, and in order to do so legally, the searcher must pass a state examination and be properly licensed.

  The skills and methods necessary are the same ones genealogists use routinely. However, before accepting such work, a genealogist needs to consider not only all the potential problems mentioned earlier, but also whether it is permitted in each of the states involved without a Private Investigator (PI) license.

  Donn Devine, CG, CGL
  Wilmington DE 

  CG, Certified Genealogist, CGL, and Certified Genealogical Lecturer are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, used under license by board certificants after periodic evaluation, and the board name is registered in the US Patent & Trademark Office.


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