I'll try and make a long story short here. My wife had never met her father. The last time he saw her she was 6 weeks old. She was always curious and wanted to try and find him. The information from her mother was only a few names of brothers and sisters and mother and fathers name. And a city and state that were way off :)
After our third kid was born she really wondered how he would like to know he was a grandfather several times over.
I had taken an online class on internet searching. I know exactly how to use search engines to find this or that. But that knowledge is only good enough to find what is already indexed in the search engines. Which in some cases might have more to do with sheer luck than anything else.
He has a very common name. 65 listings alone in the wrong state I was given by my mother in law. We bought a book by that guy that's always on the Montel show.
This is a great book and I highly recommend it even though it didn't help in our case because of the lack of information. Specifically a birth date. With that we would have had it made.
So I just started repeating the same searches on different search engines every few weeks. At first I did a few individual search engines. Then I started using the meta engines. I found out you have to be careful with those because the results they show on their list is not always the same as the result of the individual page they are supposedly searching. If you use a meta engine for something like this I recommend verifying the results on the individual engines once in a while.
Finally after 2 years of weekly searches something finally came back. Sad to say it was an obituary from a family member that was 2 years old and in a local paper. A sister had passed away. Somehow it took that long to get indexed into a search engine. After reading that article I had all the information I needed because it listed all the family members and where they lived. Now it was only a matter of hitting an online phone directory and making a few phone calls.
I'm happy to say after 27 years they were reunited. Thank goodness for the internet. Most of the places you see online claiming to find someone for a price are not that good. Almost all require you to have a DOB or a SS#. If you have either of these you can save yourself quite a bit of time and also money. Looking back in hindsight I would have spent a little more money and a little less time by using an online service. In our case we needed quite a bit of leeway. If you have something like this you are looking to do get all your information in one place. Gather all the stuff together and set aside a day of intense searching.
This is what you need if your lacking a birth date or SS#. If you don't have these then any of the discount searches you see on the net for anything less than $100 are going to do nothing but give you a list of names that maybe possibly could be who you are looking for.
If you have the DOB or SS# then don't waste too much money. Just a simple search is all it takes. Try this instead of the unlimited option.
Good Luck. If you look on some of my other pages you will find out how to use the internet to search up old friends. Now that is fun stuff sending an anonymous email to an old ex girlfriend you had in 8th grade :)