Genealogy is not Supposed to be this Easy

Michael Shively 1896

OK… genealogy is not supposed to be this easy. Even a newbie like me knows that genealogy takes patience and time. But apparently that doesn’t apply to the Shivelys, or at least not to this Shively.

Early last week, before I wrote the last post, I was Googling “Michael Shively” and found an old thread on a message board. One of the replies to the query was from a Debby Shively. She seemed to have done quite a bit of research and her email address was there so I thought “What the heck?” and sent her an e-mail hoping the address was still valid. It was.

The very day I submitted the last post about the mysterious Michael, Debby emailed me back. She was born and raised in Henry County, Ind., where Michael and his family homesteaded. And it turns out that Debby had the missing piece. Michael was born in West Virginia, but he was born out of wedlock. There are court records to document this fact and which name his mother. At some point Michael was sent to Kentucky to live with relatives.

The Philip Shively that was issued a land patent the same day asMichael is his uncle. I knew there was a group of Shivelys in Kentucky (which explains the town of Shively, Ky., a suburb of Louisville) and another group from West Virginia, but no one was able to connect the two groups until Debby’s father, Ralph Shively, took a DNA test. It proved the connection. Debby also emailed me a 22-page document containing all the Shively descendants in America, from the the first immigrant—Johann Michael Scheiffle, born in 1717 in Germany.

I have to say again that genealogists really are the kindest and most generous bunch of people I’ve ever come across. And as if to reinforce that fact, I was contacted last night by another Shively! Larry is also taking an Family Tree University class—he’s taking Find Your German Roots while I’m in the Land Records 101 class. Grace from FTU noticed the common surname and connected us. Larry, too, has been researching the Shivelys for many years and was delighted to find another link in the family chain. He very generously offered to share his research with me.

Neither Debby nor Larry have many old photos, but guess who does? Yep, that would be me. Collaboration is an amazing thing, isn’t it? I get documentation, Debby and Larry get pictures, and Grace at FTU gets to add yenta to her job description. Sounds like a win-win-win situation to me!


Family Tree Firsts is an ongoing blog series featuring newbie genealogist Nancy Shively of Skiatook, OK. Read all her posts at Family Tree University.

3 thoughts on “Genealogy is not Supposed to be this Easy

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Genealogy is not Supposed to be this Easy | Family Tree University --

  2. Nancy: my late father, Al Miller’s once Bell Labs boss, was a Mr. Shively; dad always spoke well of the Shively name. Jim

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