Cover image for The Locator
The Locator
Dunn, Troy.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Doubleday, [2000]

Physical Description:
xii, 323 pages : illustrations, facsimiles ; 28 cm
Added Corporate Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HV6762.U5 D86 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize

On Order



As seen on national television, Troy Dunn and the International Locator, Inc./ now make available for the first time all of their secrets for finding lost friends, family, and loved ones--anywhere, anytime. If you are one of the nine out of ten people looking for someone in your past, you need the information in this book: How to search successfully on the Internet How to obtain essential government records How to gather all-important adoption records How to access millions of public records FREE How to make effective phone calls How to write letters that get a positive response How to decide where to look, when, and why How to be sure that your reunion will be as rewarding as it can be The Locator not only provides all the above information, but also includes sample documents that indicate where crucial information might be "hidden in plain sight"; sample letters to follow when making those all-important contacts; a complete listing, including addresses and telephone numbers, of all essential agencies throughout the world; information on how to get help from the International Locator itself. As Dunn has said, if you know the name of the person you're looking for, he's not lost, he's just misplaced. If this is the case, THE LOCATOR will help you find the one you've misplaced as quickly as possible. But even if you don't know the name of your lost loved one--if you're an adoptee or the birth parent of one--THE LOCATOR will show you how to work within the system, cut through the red tape, and put together all the clues you'll need to find the person you've lost. Troy Dunn walks you through the process, from the day of decision until the final phone call, explaining what questions to ask yourself and others; how to keep records; what agencies, organizations, and government offices to contact; and how to word telephone queries and letters to receive the best results. Extensive appendixes provide the names, addresses, and phone numbers of all the agencies you will need to contact, throughout the United States and around the world. And, most important of all, Dunn includes a wealth of actual documents, indicating how to read the disparate information they provide, and put it all together until the puzzle is completely solved. -->

Author Notes

Troy Dunn is founder and president of International Locator, Inc. in Cape Coral, Florida.



Getting Your Feet Wet Here is what you need to do in order to search successfully: Be persistent. Be patient. Be creative. Turn over every stone--no piece of information is too small; nothing is insignificant. Keep these four things in mind at all times. You have to view your search as a process of elimination. When you acquire an important document only to discover that it contains no new information, you are still one step closer to your reunion: You've eliminated one more possibility and narrowed your search effectively. If you've tracked your subject down, located his or her phone number, and made that final call--only to discover that the name is the same but the person is someone else entirely--you're still a step closer: That's another lead checked off, another avenue exhausted. You have to keep at it and stay positive. With persistence, patience, creativity, and attention to detail, you'll eventually find your person. Trust us, we've done it thousands of times. Start with a Name There are two parts to every search. The first part is getting the name of the person you are looking for; the second part is actually looking for (and locating) the person. If you are trying to find a long-lost relative, an old friend, or anyone you have previously known and since lost contact with, you probably already have his or her current or previous name. This means that you've won half the battle before you've even begun! If you are adopted, you probably do not know the name or names of your birth parents, and your search will have to start at the very beginning. With that difference in mind, this first chapter provides two overviews: first, an overview of the basic approach when looking for someone whose name you already know; second, an overview of the basic approach when looking for an adoptee or birth parents. Throughout the book, and throughout your entire search, keep these words in mind: The easiest way to move forward in locating people is to go backward in time, tracing them from their beginnings. This is the first principle of locating. As you will see, the fastest way to find people is generally to go back to the family, friends, and places they knew earlier in their life. Of course, it isn't always as easy as it sounds to track down this kind of information, but The Locator will help you go backward in time in both the simple cases and the hard cases. Searches: The General Approach As mentioned above, some parts of The Locator are written from the perspective of the adoptee or birth parent, since those are the worst-case scenarios, where little or no information is available. If you are embarking on a nonadoptive search, you'll have to pick and choose which information applies to your case and which doesn't. As you read this book, however, you'll find that almost all the techniques are the same. We strongly suggest that you read everything in the book, because you can find ideas and techniques from all sorts of searches that will apply to your own unique situation. Nonadoptive searches usually involve one or more of the following: old friends and relatives, lost loves, deadbeat dads, missing children, and people who are or were in the military. Brief introductions to each situation's specific techniques are covered in chapters four through seven, but the general techniques from all of those chapters apply to your case as well, no matter who you are or whom you're looking for. It will be hard for you to imagine just how much of a head start you have over adoptees and birth parents, who usually don't even know the names of the people they're looking for. However, there are some cases where you may be looking for an old friend, a family member, or a person important to you, whose name you don't know. Maybe your mother never told you your father's name. Maybe you're working on a family tree and you know you have a second cousin but can't find any references to her in your family's albums or files. Maybe you want to find a doctor or fireman who helped you once but never knew who the person was. There are thousands of possible scenarios where you may not know the person's name; in those cases, you'll want to follow some of the adoption techniques as well. We also suggest that you look over the "useful terminology" section on page 4. Most of the specialized language refers to adoptions, but some of it will explain things you'll need to know about in a nonadoptive search too. You should at least remember that there's a glossary there so you can refer to it later on if you come across a term you don't understand. Adoptive Searches: The General Approach Every search is different. Right now you are in a unique situation, looking for a unique person. However, it is also true that every search is similar to all the searches that have gone before it, and there is much to learn from the experiences of other people. Learning from their achievements is what this book is all about. There are numerous ways to approach any given search, but in all cases, the first step is to find the birth name of the adoptee and the full names (or partial names if the full names are unavailable) of the birth parents. Later on, we'll go over many of the ways you can track down these names and tell you what to do after you know the names. But for now, instead of moving forward to tell you what steps you'll be taking in the future, let's move backward to the adoption itself. It's important that you have a real-world framework for locating your child or birth parent, to give a sense of order to something that most people see as a random series of events. We can't stress this enough: You're not alone in your search; many others have made the same journey, and, with persistence, they have succeeded. You will too. Excerpted from The Locator: A Step-by-Step Guide to Finding Lost Family, Friends, and Loved Ones--Anywhere,Any Time by Troy Dunn, International Locator Inc. Staff All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. xi
1 Getting Your Feet Wetp. 1
Start with a name
Searches: the general approach
Adoptive searches: the general approach
Useful terminology
How the records are kept
Your basic rights
2 Your Personal Search Plannerp. 11
Source and document checklist
Search maps
Conversation log
Correspondence log
Library log
Progress journal
Initial information reports
3 Beginning an Adoptive Searchp. 35
What are the information sources?
Understanding and using information sources
4 How to Find Old Friends and Relativesp. 61
Friends and relations
Lost family members
Using school records to find a friend
Other ideas
Two sample searches
5 How to Find Lost Lovesp. 69
What's different about this search?
How to make contact
A sample search
6 How to Find Deadbeat Parentsp. 75
Not all deadbeats are dads--or even deadbeats!
What's different about this search?
Other ideas
Collecting money from deadbeat spouses
A sample search
7 Finding Someone Who Was or Is in the Militaryp. 83
The most common search
Military records
War babes
The Department of Veterans Affairs
The military's worldwide locator offices
Other ideas
A sample search
8 The Key to Success: Letter-Writing that Gets Results!p. 95
Ten rules of writing letters
Requesting information from the federal government
Writing letters to adoption agencies
The sample letters and how to use them
9 The Power of Persuasion: The Best Telephone Techniquesp. 139
Writing a letter vs. making a phone call
The five rules of telephone conversations
Contacting adoption agencies
Agency questionnaires
10 Strategies for Tracing and Locatingp. 147
Libraries and Family History Centers
County offices
State and National archives
Telephone directories
City and cross-street directories
Vital statistics records
Social security records
Passport records
Education records
Real estate records
Religious records
Criminal records
Driving records
Alternate sources
11 Using the Internet in Your Searchp. 191
What makes a good site?
The white pages
Registries and databases
Searching for background information
Searching for abducted children and missing persons
Genealogical sites
Searching for former school friends
Searching for a military buddy
Adoption searches
12 Shortcuts of the Prosp. 203
Making the most of computerized databases
National name sweeps
National death sweeps
Social security number traces
National cross-street directory traces
State-by-state driver's license traces
Address update report
13 A Closer Look at Adoptive Searches: Helpful Case Studiesp. 213
An adoptee's search
A birth parent's search
Appendix 1 You're not alone: ongoing support and search servicesp. 233
Appendix 2 State-by-state directoriesp. 235
Appendix 3 International directoriesp. 297
Appendix 4 Missing and abducted childrenp. 315
Indexp. 317