"He looks just like his father." How often have you heard that said about a child?
I've been reading an article "Sally Hemings's Children: genealogical analysis of the evidence" by Helen Leary published in the (US) National Genealogical Society Quarterly of September 2001. Hemings was a slave in Predident Thomas Jefferson's household at Monticello. In the article Leary examines "the chain of evidence that securely fastens Sally Hemings's children to their father Thomas Jefferson." Part of the evidence mentioned is the "striking similarity" between Sally's son Madison Hemings and Thomas Jefferson.
However such similarities in appearance can occur when there is no known family relationships. For example, there are job opportunities for Sarah Palin look-alikes at strip clubs for the forthcoming Republican National Convention! Google it!
Local genealogical guru Alison Hare CG tells me she can't think of any other cases where similarities in appearance, or commonalities of speech and mannerisms have been used in proving a genealogical case, perhaps because most studies involve more distant generations than the Hemings case.
What's striking similarity? If you see the person approaching from the other direction in the street and greet them as someone you know, only to find it's a look-alike, that would be striking similarity.
Let's explore our experience. Please answer the poll and leave a comment with your experience if it would be helpful.