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What is a Search Angel?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated Feb 03, 2024
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Search angels are individuals who volunteer to conduct searches for information, products, or long lost friends or relatives. In most cases, the search angel is not a professional who is trained in the skill of detection. However, the search angel normally possesses a logical mind that is able to systematically use available resources as a means of securing the desired data.

One of the more common types of searching conducted by a search angel has to do with cases involving and adoption. This type of search angel activity actually occurs in two forms. First, a search angel may help a child locate information about a birth parent, using public records and other data that is in the public domain. Second, the adoption search angel may research information that can help a couple who wish to adopt a child find a reputable agency that will be responsive to their particular situation. As with all types of search angel activity, adoption search angels perform these tasks without receiving any type of compensation.

There is also a type of search angel that can be helpful in growing a small business. As part of their volunteer work, it is not unusual for an angel to maintain databases that are loaded with all types of information. In some cases, the search angel can help a small business owner find contacts that can assist him or her in advertising or promoting the goods produced by the company. In like manner, a search angel may be able to utilize those same resources to help non-profit organizations connect with corporate sponsors, and secure funding to help the cause supported by the non-profit.

A search angel can also help persons find friends from years past, such as a high school buddy or a first love. Distant relatives that have been out of touch for some time may also be able to find one another again through the assistance of a search angel. Even locating old documents that are part of the public record can be part of the work of a search angel.

While the search angel does not charge for his or her services, persons who enlist the aid of an angel should be prepared to cover an out of pocket expenses the search angel incurs. This would include such items as paying printing and postage on copied documents that are mailed to the recipient, travel expenses if the angel is authorized to make a trip in order to secure the data, or make any long distance calls connected with the search. While a search angel provides time and abilities at no charge, it is not reasonable to anticipate that the angel also has financial resources to cover all associated expenses.

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Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including WiseGeek, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.
Discussion Comments
By lluviaporos — On Oct 31, 2014

Whether or not you do it yourself, or with a search angel, it is important to remember that the people you are looking for might not want to be found. I don't think there's anything wrong with making initial contact, but if they don't want to reciprocate, don't push it even if you feel like you're entitled to a reunion.

By pastanaga — On Oct 31, 2014

@umbra21 - It does depend on the skills of the search angel. If you have the money and want to be absolutely sure of turning over every stone, I would hire a professional rather than rely on a volunteer. But I'm sure there are some search angels out there who will know a lot more than even the average internet user.

They probably don't have access to anything you don't, but they know where to look and how to look for it because they've done it many times before. If you've got someone local it also means that they are likely to have contacts they can exploit that won't be available to the average person either.

It would actually be a fairly good volunteer opportunity if you wanted to develop these sorts of skills and contacts.

By umbra21 — On Oct 30, 2014

I've heard of lovely stories involving search angels, including one where a bunch of school children managed to reunite two sisters who were separated during World War II, and had not seen each other since then.

I think in most cases this kind of story happens with people who have no idea how to look online though, because otherwise they probably would have been able to find their loved one on their own.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
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