This evening I worked on a family that may be closely related to an adoptee. There is momentum to a level where a DNA test may be solicited by a close relative. This will help validate, and may even prove to be a close relative, on our search. The pleasant discovery made was that I stumbled across an obituary that led back to a find-a-grave web link.
Upon navigating to the site, I was pleasantly surprised to find a large amount of documentation and photographs of family members that spanned at least three generations. These bits and pieces helped to flesh out the family where documentation was not aligning well.
After spending about three hours on the project, I was able to gather about two dozen photographs, and several leads on extended family marriages, divorces, and children that were missing from family tree hints in Ancestry.com. Once these relatives and their accurate dates were added the entire tree around these individuals blossomed to life with hints leading to a substantial amount of documentation.
I could tell by the individual contributing to the find-a-grave site, that he was a nephew of the family and had done an excellent job bringing clarity to information I had that was missing. Nothing leaped out and become an obvious alignment with the non-identifying information I had on this particular adoptee. However, if a resemblance were to be obtained from photographs, then there were plenty to be had.
Keep in mind that all my searches are built on family trees that are both hidden and unsearchable on Ancestry.com. Even though great care is put into substantiating the family, placing a child where we might guess the adoptee might align with could be incorrect; and we want nothing to do with the proliferation inaccurate information. There is certainly plenty of that to go around without our help.
If anything the hope is, once a search concludes the tree will be made public, once family is agreeable. Then there is at least hope that our clearly documented tree will overshadow the false ones out there. Especially since great care and autosomal DNA testing are often used to validate our information.
I have great respect for all those folks making their rounds throughout the dozens and dozens of cemeteries documenting as much information as possible. Find-a-grave has been invaluable to me on dozens of cases looking for birth family. Although I have to admit to feeling a bit ghoulish reveling in an obituary for information and stepping away from one happy to have found something useful to contribute to a search.