About eight months ago I was working with a client who just needed some help getting started with her clues. She had completed her DNA tests and was looking for a way to take advantage of two closely related cousins who appeared within a stones throw of one another on genealogy she had yet to compose.
I spent about three days, on and off, assembling the ancestors related to these two cousins and even bringing them together on the same family tree. However, at that time she did not have any details regarding her birth relatives. She had been born during a time and place where she might be able to take advantage of the California Birth Index. Otherwise known as the CABI.
If you have never heard about the CABI take a look at the Wikipedia page devoted to it. There is controversy surrounding its use in finding birth relatives. It was one of the essential items that kick started my own search for my birth relatives. Being born in nineteen sixty-seven made it an opportune time for me to use the information off the CABI. My birth mother had indeed left telling clues behind.
Anyway, with this adoptee she had an individual who was helping her access the information off the CABI; where others had tried and failed to produce a name. This search angel on the yahoo group DNAadoption spent an extra amount of time deciphering what was scrabbled pretty badly on the microfilm. Enough effort was put into it that a name was procured and it happened to match a name on our tree we had built together.
About four months had gone by and we had exhausted a lot of leads, but once I knew the name I spent the better part of a day trying to find any living relatives related to the mother. I found someone who appeared to match her date of birth and name who had married an very oddly named individual from Canada. I won’t repeat the surname, because I have not received permission to divulge her search. However, it was unique enough that it only took a single day to locate a daughter born late in the marriage of her birth family.
I found the daughter on Facebook and encouraged the adoptee to reach out to this individual. She was young enough to be her daughter, but was in fact her potential half-sister. When she got in touch with this individual, and explained who she was, the half-sister actually knew of her name and welcomed her with open arms.
It was a thrill to hear the elation they exchanged with one another and it closed the chapter on one of four different searches I was performing at that time. Sisters made contact more and more over the coming months and I have not heard back from her ever since. In this case we had the CABI play a big role, some elbow grease from a dedicated searcher, and around four hundred names assembled through some genetic genealogy bring it all together.
The birth mother had passed away a decade earlier, but both sisters had exchanged quite a lot of information with one another from last I had been told. The last resounding clue was the surname of the birth mother’s husband she had married a quarter of a century earlier. As described before, one never knows where clues can come up. In this case an out of the ordinary surname made the last leg of this search rapidly form a clear path to the conclusion of this journey.