Search Angels Terms of Service
Last modified: June 3, 2018
Welcome to Search Angels! Thanks for using our products and services (“Services”). The Services are provided by Search Angels (“Search Angels”), located at 4900 Carlisle Pike #383 Mechanicsburg PA 17050, United States. By using our Services, you are agreeing to these terms. Please read them carefully. Our Services are very diverse, so sometimes additional terms or product requirements (including age requirements) may apply. Additional terms will be available with the relevant Services, and those additional terms become part of your agreement with us if you use those Services.
Using our Services
You must follow any policies made available to you within the Services.
Don’t misuse our Services. For example, don’t interfere with our Services or try to access them using a method other than the interface and the instructions that we provide. You may use our Services only as permitted by law, including applicable export and re-export control laws and regulations. We may suspend or stop providing our Services to you if you do not comply with our terms or policies or if we are investigating suspected misconduct.
Using our Services does not give you ownership of any intellectual property rights in our Services or the content you access. You may not use content from our Services unless you obtain permission from its owner or are otherwise permitted by law. These terms do not grant you the right to use any branding or logos used in our Services. Don’t remove, obscure, or alter any legal notices displayed in or along with our Services.
Our Services display some content that is not Search Angels. This content is the sole responsibility of the entity that makes it available. We may review content to determine whether it is illegal or violates our policies, and we may remove or refuse to display content that we reasonably believe violates our policies or the law. But that does not necessarily mean that we review content, so please don’t assume that we do.
In connection with your use of the Services, we may send you service announcements, administrative messages, and other information. You may opt out of some of those communications.
Some of our Services are available on mobile devices. Do not use such Services in a way that distracts you and prevents you from obeying traffic or safety laws.
Your Search Angels Search Account
You may need a Search Angels Upgraded Search Account in order to use some of our Services. You may create your own Upgraded Search Account, or your Upgraded Search Account may be assigned to you by an administrator. If you are using an Upgraded Search Angels Search Account assigned to you by an administrator, different or additional terms (including Faster Paced Search) may apply and your administrator may be able to access or disable your account.
To protect your Search Angels Basic or Upgraded Search Account information, keep your password (if a password is needed or created) confidential. You are responsible for the activity that happens on or through your Search Angels Account. Try not to reuse your Search Angels Account password on third-party applications (should a password be needed or created).
DNA test access for research
First and foremost understand that our volunteer search angels will require access to all your DNA test results; whether that be from autosomal DNA tests taken at AncestryDNA, Family Tree DNA, 23andMe, MyHeritage, GEDmatch or any other company not mentioned here. The primary reason for this is so we can perform genetic genealogy to compare all your shared DNA matches in these tests to identify your most likely birth or biological relatives. This is the primary skill shared amongst all our volunteers and the reason you should even consider working with us on your case. Without access to your results, we can do little to substantiate your search. While paperwork attained, or rumors and other substantiation might help, autosomal DNA testing is at the core of what we use to prove each search.
Privacy and Copyright Protection
Search Angels privacy policies explain how we treat your personal data and protect your privacy when you use our Services. By using our Services, you agree that Search Angels can use such data in accordance with our privacy policies.
Your Content in our Services
Some of our Services allow you to upload, submit, store, send or receive content. You retain ownership of any intellectual property rights that you hold in that content. In short, what belongs to you stays yours.
When you upload, submit, store, send or receive content to or through our Services, you give Search Angels (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content. The rights you grant in this license are for the limited purpose of operating, promoting, and improving our Services, and to develop new ones. Some Services may offer you ways to access and remove content that has been provided to that Service. Also, in some of our Services, there are terms or settings that narrow the scope of our use of the content submitted in those Services. Make sure you have the necessary rights to grant us this license for any content that you submit to our Services.
Our automated systems analyze your content (including emails) to provide you personally relevant product features, such as customized search results. This analysis occurs as the content is sent, received, and when it is stored.
Search Angels is committed to protecting your privacy and developing technology that gives you the most powerful and safe online experience. This Statement of Privacy and Terms and Conditions applies to the searchangels.org website and governs data collection and usage. By using the searchangels.org website, you consent to the data practices described in this statement.
I authorize the Search Angel’s at SearchAngels.org to release my name and information to the person(s) for whom this search is conducted and/or their appointed representatives. I also authorize to release my name and information to other reputable organizations for the purpose of increasing my chances for a match. I understand that unforeseen events could result in termination of “SearchAngels.org” or the sharing of my personal identifiable information.
Any private information, like shared passwords to DNA third party accounts, or other family tree 3rd party companies (like Ancestry.com) is the sole responsibility of the individual giving permission on this contract to change/update upon completion or termination of their search assistance.
Note that there are no guarantees that “SearchAngels.org” will be able to complete your search or solely be responsible for your entire search. By use of the word “search” it is intended to mean the search for your biological parent(s), or relatives.
You also agree that you are not breaking any laws of the state in which you are searching for these relatives; including searching for anyone under the age of eighteen years.
There are limits as to how much we can assist birth-mothers, fathers or siblings on their search for adoptees relinquished at birth; as most of the tools at our disposal are limited to public records, DNA testing at 3rd party companies, or genealogy.
We do not claim to be a private investigation company, nor will we claim to take on searches for individuals outside of the scope of adoptees and/or birth relatives seeking out one another because closed adoptions (original birth certificates) have denied them this ability to find one another.
About our Services
When a Service requires or includes downloadable data, this data may update automatically on your device once a new version or feature is available. Some Services may let you adjust your automatic data settings.
Search Angels gives you a personal, worldwide, royalty-free, non-assignable and non-exclusive license to use the data provided to you by Search Angels as part of the Services. This license is for the sole purpose of enabling you to use and enjoy the benefit of the Search Services as provided by Search Angels, in the manner permitted by these terms. You may not copy, modify, distribute, sell, or lease any part of our Services, nor may you attempt to extract the data, unless laws prohibit those restrictions or you have our written permission.
Purchases and/or Subscriptions
Donations and Contributions are tax deductible. However, our paid subscription levels are based on fees in exchange for services and do not constitute being able to be claimed on one's taxes as tax deductible. Only donations and or contributions made without any exchange of services given can be claimed as tax deductible. Again, while we do not charge taxes on any service we offer, those fees cannot be claimed as tax deductible contributions to our non-profit. By making a contribution/donation, purchase or signing up for our subscription based service fees we are not agreeing that your search will be guaranteed to be completed. We only agree to make our best effort to work toward helping you understand your DNA results and start your family tree based on the closest relatives in your (autosomal matches). We may terminate or suspend access to our Service immediately, without prior notice or liability, for any reason whatsoever, including without limitation if you breach the Terms of Service. All provisions of the Terms which by their nature should survive termination shall survive termination, including, without limitation, ownership provisions, warranty disclaimers, indemnity and limitations of liability.
Modifying and Terminating our Services
We are constantly changing and improving our Services. We may add or remove functionalities or features, and we may suspend or stop a Service altogether.
You can stop using our Services at any time, although we’ll be sorry to see you go. Search Angels may also stop providing Services to you, or add or create new limits to our Services at any time.
We believe that you own your data and preserving your access to such data is important. If we discontinue a Service, where reasonably possible, we will give you reasonable advance notice and a chance to get information out of that Service.
Our Warranties and Disclaimers
We provide our Services using a commercially reasonable level of skill and care and we hope that you will enjoy using them. But there are certain things that we don’t promise about our Services.
OTHER THAN AS EXPRESSLY SET OUT IN THESE TERMS OR ADDITIONAL TERMS, NEITHER SEARCH ANGELS NOR ITS SUPPLIERS OR DISTRIBUTORS MAKE ANY SPECIFIC PROMISES ABOUT THE SERVICES. FOR EXAMPLE, WE DON’T MAKE ANY COMMITMENTS ABOUT THE CONTENT WITHIN THE SERVICES, THE SPECIFIC FUNCTIONS OF THE SERVICES, OR THEIR RELIABILITY, AVAILABILITY, OR ABILITY TO MEET YOUR NEEDS. WE PROVIDE THE SERVICES “AS IS”.
SOME JURISDICTIONS PROVIDE FOR CERTAIN WARRANTIES, LIKE THE IMPLIED WARRANTY OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND NON-INFRINGEMENT. TO THE EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW, WE EXCLUDE ALL WARRANTIES.
Liability for our Services
WHEN PERMITTED BY LAW, SEARCH ANGELS, AND SEARCH ANGELS’S SUPPLIERS AND DISTRIBUTORS, WILL NOT BE RESPONSIBLE FOR LOST PROFITS, REVENUES, OR DATA, FINANCIAL LOSSES OR INDIRECT, SPECIAL, CONSEQUENTIAL, EXEMPLARY, OR PUNITIVE DAMAGES.
TO THE EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW, THE TOTAL LIABILITY OF SEARCH ANGELS, AND ITS SUPPLIERS AND DISTRIBUTORS, FOR ANY CLAIMS UNDER THESE TERMS, INCLUDING FOR ANY IMPLIED WARRANTIES, IS LIMITED TO THE AMOUNT YOU PAID US TO USE THE SERVICES (OR, IF WE CHOOSE, TO SUPPLYING YOU THE SERVICES AGAIN).
IN ALL CASES, SEARCH ANGELS, AND ITS SUPPLIERS AND DISTRIBUTORS, WILL NOT BE LIABLE FOR ANY LOSS OR DAMAGE THAT IS NOT REASONABLY FORESEEABLE.
Business uses of our Services
If you are using our Services on behalf of a business, that business accepts these terms. It will hold harmless and indemnify Search Angels and its affiliates, officers, agents, and employees from any claim, suit or action arising from or related to the use of the Services or violation of these terms, including any liability or expense arising from claims, losses, damages, suits, judgments, litigation costs and attorneys’ fees.
About these Terms
We may modify these terms or any additional terms that apply to a Service to, for example, reflect changes to the law or changes to our Services. You should look at the terms regularly. We’ll post notice of modifications to these terms on this page. We’ll post notice of modified additional terms in the applicable Service. Changes will not apply retroactively and will become effective no sooner than fourteen days after they are posted. However, changes addressing new functions for a Service or changes made for legal reasons will be effective immediately. If you do not agree to the modified terms for a Service, you should discontinue your use of that Service.
If there is a conflict between these terms and the additional terms, the additional terms will control for that conflict.
These terms control the relationship between Search Angels and you. They do not create any third party beneficiary rights.
If you do not comply with these terms, and we don’t take action right away, this doesn’t mean that we are giving up any rights that we may have (such as taking action in the future).
If it turns out that a particular term is not enforceable, this will not affect any other terms.
The laws of Philadelphia, U.S.A., excluding Philadelphia’s conflict of laws rules, will apply to any disputes arising out of or relating to these terms or the Services. All claims arising out of or relating to these terms or the Services will be litigated exclusively in the federal or state courts of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, and you and Search Angels consent to personal jurisdiction in those courts.
For information about how to contact Search Angels, please visit our contact page.
If communication between an "adoptee" or "client" includes, inter alia, offensive, profane, lewd, obscene, vulgar, inflammatory, harmful, or disrespectful language, and/or comments deemed to be rude or inappropriate, we reserve the right to ban, and forfeit any future efforts to work with, or communicate to, the individual or third party involved. We aim to provide you with our best recommendations, but many factors will be important in determining your actual results, and we make no guarantees that you will receive a specific type of result. We make no guarantees that you will achieve any results from the ideas or strategies contained on our web site or by using any of our services. Moreover, we will never act as a mediator between an adoptee and/or birth family, should one be found. You fully agree and understand that Search Angels is not responsible for the dissatisfaction of any results received and makes no representations of any kind whatsoever that our services will produce a particular result for you.
Trust is an essential part of the communication between an adoptee ("Client") or birth relative and the volunteer searcher. If the volunteer agrees to assist the adoptee or birth relative, then there is a trust that must be established between the two parties. This trust can be difficult to establish or maintain over time if information is purposely withheld by the adoptee or birth relative. We, at Search Angels, will spend literally hundreds of our hours on your search so having a clear understanding of expectations of truth, shared knowledge, and information that may have been collected before or during our participation in your search is essential to maintaining this trust. It is important then for the adoptee or birth relative to maintain open communication with the volunteer Search Angel.
Examples of information that should be shared:
· If the adoptee or birth relative is working with others alongside their search with a Search Angel volunteer, the adoptee or birth relative should share any new findings, whether that be documentation, opinions, doubts, concerns, or other pertinent dialogue that occurs outside of the volunteers' knowledge.
· Often times, if the adoptee or birth relative is working with a television program or similar organization, the producers of the program or directors of the organization may ask the adoptee or birth relative to share all known search information. Please be advised that it is very unfair to the Search Angel volunteer to have his or her efforts, genealogical findings, or extensive search results used by an organization that focuses on monetary gain. At the very least, the Search Angel volunteer should be recognized by the television program or similar organization.
· If the Search Angel volunteer is relatively confident that a match has been made, remember it is not the responsibility of the Search Angel volunteer to contact the match. Nor is it appropriate to blame the Search Angel volunteer for any negative reaction that the adoptee or birth relative may receive from the match. Remember, we strongly encourage patience and open communication between all parties involved in the search process.
The process involved in a search can vary, but in most cases either an extensive amount of information is already available and our volunteers will help with a more traditional level of search or a DNA test may be strongly encouraged to be taken by the adoptee or birth relative with a genealogy DNA testing company like Ancestry DNA. In either case, the documentation, rumors, or hints an adoptee or birth relative will share with the volunteer Search Angel or the results from a DNA test will be used to establish the best substantiated information to locate a positive match. In the case of DNA results, a guest access needs to be shared with the volunteer Search Angel and editor rights need to be given to the Search Angel volunteer so that he or she may build your genetically related cousins upon a Ancestry.com tree.
Not every Search Angel volunteer is exactly alike. We each have methodologies, search patterns, and strategies we engage in to help you along your way. Some of us like to drive the search ourselves, while others may encourage the adoptee or birth relative to participate frequently to assist with the collection of information and search. Sometimes our searchers will have an equal amount of both active participation and encouragement of the birth relative or adoptee's active involvement.
· Abruptly moving your DNA results, starting a new genealogical tree, and communicating nothing about your intensions can cause our volunteers to feel their participation is no longer needed, wanted, or trusted. Please make every attempt to speak to a Search Angel volunteer before making any dramatic changes to information they have collected or built on your behalf.
Again, our volunteers will not act as intermediaries who will reach out to birth relatives in the immediate family. There are unforeseen consequences that may make a second chance at communication impossible. It is for this reason, we want the adoptee to make the call and be prepared to ask questions or make their own attempt to start the dialogue. We do not guarantee that every "best guess" of a relative will be a hundred percent accurate. There are many times when information collected by the social worker and later surrendered to an adoptee as "non-identifying" information is filled with misinformation or lies. Other times it was a carefully written set of bread crumbs that was intentionally meant to lead back to the birth relative. We cannot be sure, one way or the other.
It is for these reasons we reserve the right to not take on your case or drop out of participation entirely if we feel you cannot keep an open and trustworthy communication with our Search Angel volunteers.
While enormous cases, under very rare circumstances, might require multiple genealogists working on different branches of a tree, we strongly discourage more than one cook in the kitchen. Meaning we assign one genetic genealogist to a case and do not include other searchers to participate on that tree. There is just too many chances for differing opinions to be thrown into the search that conflicts can and usually do occur. So instead of chancing such a scenario, we would rather step out of a search and let your other "personal helper" put their two cents into the search. When they are done, then invite us back into the case. That's even if the search angel feels they can step back in without causing a rift between the two parties involved; the adoptee and some other searcher; without causing more grief. There is nothing more aggravating than making progress on a tree to find that someone else working on the same tree, erased it because they thought it was bogus or incorrect information. If you have an individual helping you on your search, you should not be asking us to step in and give our opinion of their work. Most genealogists would rather start from scratch than to assume what information was already started was later found to be grossly inaccurate, wasting hundreds of hours of time coming to that conclusion.