CNN reports about a woman named Florence Hand, who had an inkling that she had been separated from a sibling, 85 years ago.
Using the Ancestry.com 1930 US Census, she found this brother living with her grandfather. She used this information to find him, and they have been reunited.
The CNN piece is brief but makes a couple of points that are important for beginning American genealogists to remember, here they are in a more elaborated form:
Spelling. Consider alternate spellings. Success will come to those who think, “I wonder if they could have spelled it this way?”
The US Census is a powerful tool. It is easy to access online, and it can help place your ancestors in particular places at particular times. Personally identifiable census data is released 72 years after it is taken, for the privacy of individuals. So the most recent census available is the 1930 census. (I will add that this also means that the 1940 census is becoming available on April 2, 2012 in a digital format from the National Archives at their facilities and over the Internet. For more information, see the National Archives page about the 1940 Census.