Searching for… on the Oprah Winfrey Network

The Oprah Winfrey Network has now been around for about a month. From most reports, it’s not doing all that well. My own thoughts are to give it a little time. With the right programming and Oprah Winfrey herself (who is still under contract with CBS until September), the women will make a killing at it.

One of the programs found on OWN is “Searching for…,” starring Pam Slaton, a professional investigative genealogist, stay-at-home mom and New Jersey housewife. Pam is an adoptee who went searching for her birth mother nearly 20 years ago with devastating results. Now she’s not only searching, but starring in her own TV program.

The following is from her website:

Searching For… is a documentary series that follows the real-life work of Pam Slaton, a professional investigative genealogist, stay-at-home mom and New Jersey housewife. Pam Slaton

Viewers can expect an intensely personal ride when cameras follow Pam and her clients through each step as they track down lost loved ones. Each searcher’s story is different, and the results are unpredictable and emotionally charged. Whether Pam’s clients find a joyous reunion, painful rejection or tragic loss, they all walk away with the closure they were desperate to find.

Pam Slaton’s career as a professional investigative genealogist began nearly 20 years ago. Wanting to find her own birth mother, Pam hired to a professional searcher. The experience was the most devastating of her life, and Pam vowed that no one else should have to go through what she did. She keeps her own pain in mind when helping clients on their journeys. And her results are astounding! Pam has an 85 percent success rate, follows a strict “no find, no pay” policy, and is one of the most sought-after professional searchers in the country.

The program airs on Mondays at 9/8 central on OWN.

Note that as of this moment there are 653 comments at her website, many from adoptees who are “searching for…”

Jordan Jones and readers at GenealogyMedia.com has some interesting comments about the new program.

Marian Pierre-Louis gives the program a critical review at her Marian’s Root’s & Rambles blog. Pam replies in the comments…

Since I haven’t seen the program personally, I’m not going to comment one way or the other about it “genealogically.” However, I find any programming of this type helps get the word out that “searching” can be done, and reunions are possible, if not always what the searcher wants.

Author: Leland Meitzler

Leland K. Meitzler founded Heritage Quest in 1985, and has worked as Managing Editor of both Heritage Quest Magazine and The Genealogical Helper. He currently operates Family Roots Publishing Company (www.FamilyRootsPublishing.com), writes daily at GenealogyBlog.com, writes the weekly Genealogy Newsline, conducts the annual Salt Lake Christmas Tour to the Family History Library, and speaks nationally, having given over 2000 lectures since 1983.

23 thoughts on “Searching for… on the Oprah Winfrey Network”

  1. If someone is looking for a genealogy-themed program on TV, “Searching For” is not it. No research techniques are shown at all. The process used to find living relatives are not shown nor described. Each episode that I’ve viewed has the same formula. An adoptee has previously had either telephone conversations or other communications with Slaton. The first time they meet is when the adoptee arrives at Slaton’s house. Slaton begins with, “I’ve found her.” Then the adoptee is urged to telephone the birth parent while Slaton listens. There is no background about either the adoptee or the birth parent. No back story, if you will. Sometimes the birth parent wants to meet the child; other times, not. The program leaves the viewer wondering what happened during the process. It’s a very disappointing program and has nothing whatsoever to do with genealogy. If one wants to watch a show about helping adoptees, The Locator is a better program.

  2. Searching For … was filmed “real time” We set out to capture what really happens when someone under goes their search for someone special who has gone missing from their lives. We filmed ten episodes and some episodes do in fact include the process of how things were done, including sending some of the searchers out to do their own research. I think that people forget that sometimes a genealogy search for someone’s family tree goes back just one generation. People take for granted knowing the identities of their parents and grandparents etc. Many adoptees do not even have a name to begin their search with. I, on a daily basis, access census records, immigration records, military record, newspaper archives etc. My expertise is combining historical records with contemporary data. Lastly, for the record I consider myself a very experienced genealogist (sixteen years) but I am also a licensed Private Investigator in the state that I reside. Genealogy for me is a passion. People need to know where they come from and nothing gives me greater pleasure than helping someone to achieve their dream of finding their family. I hope you all will watch …. I believe you will be greatly surprised.

  3. Dear Pam,
    I think what you are doing is GREAT!! There are some of us that were adopted that want to find our parents or sibling’s if we can.
    I myself with the help of my adopted mother have been trying since 1988-1989 to find my real mom. My adopted mom has told me that she was told that my mother wanted to keep me & before she had to give me up that she wanted a picture with me but that the agentcy wouldn’t let her. I do have my adoption record’s thank to my mother when she got them open because I was told that my son had Acute Myliod Lukemia when he was 8 & that if we could get him into remission he would need a bone marrow transplant. my mother has tried several was to find her because she does not have a lot of money. Me I have no money to spend to try to find her so I have looked & posted on any free web site that I could that had anything to do with find someone. I do wish you great success & luck with the show. It does give me some hope that hopefully someone some day may try to find me if they know about me. Thank You for that Hope & for your time.
    Lezlee A. Carnivale

  4. I am searching for someone unrelated to me. I am not computer savy and am looking for your help. In August of 1973 I was 8 years old and I was hit by a car in front of my house. I lived on Fishing Creek Rd. in Lower Township (Cape May), New Jersey. It was my fault. I was trying to cross the street and I misjudged the distance between me and the car. I landed on my head in the street. I was lucky, my dad was in the front yard. When my dad reached me, I was dead. I had no pulse, no hartbeat, and I was blue..in a matter of seconds. My dad, my hero, “jumpstarted” me and saved my life. However, I always think of the young man that had to witness this. I know his first name is Joey, and I think he was from Philadelphia. I want to tell him how sorry I am. I want to tell him that I have had a wonderful life. I want to tell him that I think about him everyday and feel so, so bad that he has had to live with this everyday. Can someone help me?

  5. Hi my name is Angel and I was adopted When I was two years of age. I recently met my two Biological sisters about two years ago. I have been searching for my mother for a year now,and have come up empty handed. I was wondering if you could help me out. I am 31 years of age and I have 3 children. I would like to find my father too.

  6. This show angers me as an adopted person. While I sympathise with the mother and her emotions, she gave up the child legally and whatever the reason or rationale, it is outrageous to simply contact kids (albeit now adults who may not even know they were adopted)… this is sick… deal with your own issues!!!!! My God this is titilation sposored by Oprah.

  7. My Grandpa was in France for one of the wars (I forget which one), but he met a girl there and she never told him until many years later that he had a son. He has never seen his son that probably is still in France. Please help my grandpa find his kid! 🙁

  8. “Pam, I too am in search of my sister that I have not seen since 1985. She was 15 and left home with a teacher from her highschool. I have made several attempts to locate her, but have not been so lucky. I watched your show last week and was brought tears when you helped reunite families. I became hopeful that I too could find my sister, she wasn’t adopted or given away, the whole event is sketchy and I want to know if you can help? Nothing would bring joy to our family,than to reunite with our loved one that has been missing all these years. Please,Please,Please Help!!!! What do I need to do?

  9. We adopted our daughter when she was 3 days old. She is now 21 years old. I kept every piece of information that I have managed to gather over the years, so that when my daughter was older she could search if she desired. We have been searching for many years. We are from Florida, which is a closed state. However, I have lots of information, but still have had no luck. I know my adoptive daughter’s name given at birth. I know her mom’s name, birth date, occupation at the time of birth, physical traits. I know the hospital my daughter was born in. I have the contact information for the attorney that handled the adoption. I know the ages of all of my daughter’s uncles and aunts (Her mom was the oldest of 8). I know my daughter’s biological grandmother’s occupation and approximate age. I would really appreciate it if you could lead me into the right direction, because I keep running into a brick wall. My daughter has developed relationship issues due to feeling the rejection of adoption. Regardless of all of the love and great life we have given her. There is still this void in her life. Please e-mail me at rhondar@ufl.edu if you think that you can help!!!!! I get goosebumps every time I see a reunion.

  10. Hi Pam,
    My name is Joanne Gonzalez, I see your show when it comes out and i think that it’s something so nice of you doing this to help other family, ralatives to reunite with their love ones. I start tearing when i see your show cause theres someone i’m searching for to and don’t know what to do. I’ve been trying to do my best to look for my stepbrother and doing it for my mom. He was taken away when he was only 2years old and was adopted from other family. By now he’s 31 years old and don’t have anything of pictures or info of him. I’m hoping you can help me and do it for my mom, trying to give her a surprise and have a chance to meet him again.
    What are my first steps to do?
    What is it gona cost me for searching for him?
    Please,Please,Please help me I’m very confident that you will help me and will appreciate it alot. Thank you.

  11. I have an older brother that I would like to locate that my mother gave up for adoption please let me know where to start

  12. My dad is from Volos, Greece. The last time I saw him was 40 years ago. He came to the U.S. and married my mom Nov. 13, 1964. I was born Oct. 17, 1965, In 1970 thay split up. My mom always told me he was killed in a car crash when I was born. Of which is not true. I just found out they were married about 2 months ago and I also found out she had 11 husbands. So with my dad being from another country I believe she took me so he could not find me. I really need to find him and tell him I love him. The reason I never changed my last name was because I always hoped he would come looking for me. Today he would be 72 years old. Please help. I’ve tried eveything… Thank you.

  13. For 20 years I have tried and exhausted all my resources to locate my father. I have very limited information which makes things all that more difficult. My mother says that she can not remember his name as she covered him up with a lie that another man was my father until i was of age 19. She then told me his name was Nicholas but didn’t recall a last name although she had written him letters and sent a photo of me to him. What i know and all I know is that he was a seaman that came in to port from somewhere in Greece. They had a great week and poof he was gone and then I come along. I have tried searching records from the port but they don’t keep records from 72. I don’t so much let it affect me now as I did earlier in life, but being a father myself I still look in the mirror at times and wonder where it is I came from. My mother is 70 now and I fear anything she may know will be lost if she passes. She insist that she has no information on him. Any helpful information would be greatly appreciated but I feel as I am up the creek without paddle on this one. Your thoughts?

  14. Just LOVE Pam Slaton! I have watched every episode. It amazes me how thoughtful she appears to be. I felt horrible that her mother passed. I know she meant a lot to her. If any of you haven’t watched her on OWN, you should! You can catch the recaps on my blog at http://www.thedailyOWN.com. Every show featured a couple of searches and I have yet to be disappointed in any of them. They truly are touching.

  15. HI
    I was just viewing the oprah show and saw that she has a saerching for relatives. We have been trying for sometime to find my husband family fron usa.
    My husband waas born 12.10.44in auckland NZ. there was 30,000 american seervice men based here at the time. My husband was adopted but had a rough live at times. We need to find information for our family, to see where the resemblences come from.
    On Tony’s birth certificate is says american servicesman.
    His birth mother was margaret june cunningham born to a Doc of botany who entertained the servicemen in their home.
    From conversation with adopted father who,s cousin was the midwife
    at the time Tony was born which put him inot the foster home. We were told by her that his birth father was from southern or latin america. This can be seen in both my husband and youngst daughter.
    We have so much more details and would really appreciate some help.
    I realise we are in New Zealand but this may be our only change to get help.

    I may be contacted at
    tansar@vodafone.co.nz
    09 4284826
    0212445541.

    Thank you if you are able to help
    Charmaine Foster

  16. I am in need of help to find relatives to me husband.
    Anthony John Foster bore 12.10.44. Birth name was Ronald cunningham which is the lead we have thta was his birth father’s name.
    He served as a service men in 1943-44 in Auckland New Zealand. His birth family were of the elite and entertained the servicemen.
    We are looking for help because Tony now 67 wnats to know is roots and we are able to put the missiong peices for him to bed.

    We have more details if required and pwuld love the help even though we live in New Zealnd.

    Contact details Charmaine Foster
    021 2445541
    09 4282826

  17. Hello Pam, Just saw an episode where you were trying to help Ms Forde find her mother. She was looking for her in Brooklyn and then you told her her mother was in England. That turned out not to be correct. I just wanted to let you know that the name Forde with an E is a common name linked to the West Indies, predominantly Barbados. Barbados is only four hours from New Yk and most people of Bajan heritage have emigrated to New York for many years. I think that if her mother has left the country it would make sense for her to check on her roots in the west indies. Many many people facing difficulty in the USA often return to relatives in the west indies. This, I am sure will lead to a much better chance of finding her. Put an ad in the Barbados newspaper the Advocate, its also available in Brooklyn, put ads in the Barbados Embassy, and social centres where Bajans frequent. This link to the islands should be investigated because I believe it is a missing link. Hope this helps.

  18. Hello Pam,
    I watched your show and thoughroughly enjoyed it, I hope there are some new epidoes scheduled in the future.
    I was wondering what “costs” were involved as I watched these people fly from city to city.
    I have a son who has a half brother, he moved with his Mother and her new husband to South Africa from the UK when he was 10. My ex does not know the knew husbands last name but remembers the new town, his ex wifes maiden name, and his sons birth date. The brother would be about 38, but who knows if he took the new Fathers name or has moved away from South Africa since he was 10. It’s also a very common name, but his birth records are available in New Castle, UK.
    Is there a possible search here? My son is an my only child and I would love for him to meet the brother he has never known. Sincerely, Ann

  19. Hi Pam,

    Try to communicate with my husbands two children from a previous marriage. We know where they live and have phone numbers, but not sure how to contact them without upsetting them. One is a man (37) and the other women is (35). My husband signed over custody of the two children in Michigan to their mother when they were approximately 2 and 3. My husband moved to California over 30 years ago, at first he tried to keep in touch with them but never received and response. His son was in the junior olympic when he was about 17 and my husband sent him money and his son wrote back that he didn’t want to have a relationship with him. His daughter he as not seen or spoke to since she was two. The children were pretty much raised by their grandparents, who wanted my husband out of the children’s lives.

    My husband is from Morrice, Michigan and his parents had 12 children, and most of them still live around Morrice, Michigan. His sister does have some contact with my husband son and his ex wife and ex in-laws, but my husband is never mentioned. All of this is quite odd to me. My husband as a very large family and his children have had nothing to do with any of their aunts, uncles, cousins etc. and they all live within 25 miles of each other.

    What approach if any should we take in contacting my husbands two children, if any??? Should we have you call them or should we try to write or call?
    I think the daughter might be willing to talk to her dad. Any advice???

    Let me know via e-mail how I can contact you by phone.

    Thanks TyAnn

  20. Dear Pam,
    I just heard about your show and program through a friend. I wanted to reach out to you as I am missing my only brother for over one year. He used to communicate with me via email, but we sometimes talked on the phone. He is 59 years old and is from Philadelphia. He has lived many other places for the last 40 years and the last known place was a town in Arizona called Williams. I have no other living siblings and both parents are dead as well. I would like to find out if you could help me on this and I also have a couple of people helping me on this search as well.
    I know you must be overwhelmed with all of the inquiries about missing people- especially adopted children. Any info you can give me would be of great help. I have much more about his life that I can reveal in a private communication either by phone or email.

    Thank you!
    Gary Hines

  21. Hey pam! The impact you have on peoples lives is amazing and I applaud what your doing. The last time I saw my older step sister was 8 years ago when we burried my mother who was hit by a car in mississippi. My sister has always been in the same city, new orleans. I dont know how she faired during the disaster and I wish I could find her, please help:)

  22. Hello Pam. I have watched your show a few times and love what you are doing. I have recently found out that my parents have been lying to me about who my biological father is. They will not give me any information about him but I do know his name (just not sure of proper spelling), where he currently resides and that he once served for the Canadian Military Forces. I would really love to find him but have no idea what to do and where to go next. I would appreciate any advice or help you could give me. Thank you so much for your time and keep up the beautiful work you do!
    Cheers for now,
    M

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