An interesting side effect of finding all these photos of my husband’s family. They have started to seem like real people to me. Before I started doing genealogy, if I thought about my ancestors at all, it was like trying to see someone in the fog. There was a vague outline of a person, but no details. Nothing of their personality, their lives and loves and losses. I knew my grandparents. I even knew one set of great-grandparents. But relatives much beyond that seemed lost and unreachable.
Now that I’ve started researching my family, I’m finding there are more details out there to be discovered than I ever imagined, and those details resemble my own life in astonishing (although decidedly lower-tech) ways. They may have lived a hundred years before me, but they bought and sold homes, got married, raised children, went to church and sometimes even got in trouble. Just like me. (Except for the trouble part — I NEVER get in trouble… wink, wink.)
Suddenly 1911, even 1811, doesn’t seem so remote anymore. And having actual pictures of family members who lived back then just reinforces the feeling. Which leads me to Michael. I know at some point I’m going to have to take a break from the Shivelys and pay some attention to other branches of my tree, but I just can’t leave it until I’ve figured out Michael.
Michael Shively is the oldest Shively on my tree. He was born in what is now West Virginia in 1807. By 1832 he had moved to Hamilton County, Ohio, where he married his first wife Keziah Laboyteaux — how’s that for a name? In 1834 he was issued a land patent for property in Henry County, Ind. A patent was also issued that same day for a Philip Shively, and the two properties adjoined each other. Michael and Philip were surely family, but what was their relationship? Brothers? Father and son? Uncle and nephew? Later on there’s record of a Philip Shively in Henry County who was said to be born in 1790. It seems like it could be the same Philip, but I don’t know for sure.
And what were they doing in Ohio? There are Shivelys there, but how do I know it was this family? I suppose the next step is to send off for Michael’s death record. Since he lived into his 90s, passing away in 1900, I should have a good shot at finding one I think. Does anyone out there in the blogosphere have suggesstions on solving the mystery that is Michael?