Meet the Family Tree Firsts Blogger

By Diane Haddad Premium

Back in October, we sought to view genealogy through fresh eyes by finding a newbie genealogist to blog about research experiences and resources. Nancy Shively of Skiatook, Okla., whose interests include family history and writing, perfectly filled the bill. A genealogist of six months at the time — since she discovered her mom had a brother who died in infancy — she’s researching mostly in Oklahoma, Missouri, Tennessee, Indiana and Canada.

“For most of my life I’ve been a busy mom, too occupied with raising the next generation to think much about the previous ones,” Shively says. “Now that I have an almost-empty nest, [family] mysteries seem to have come knocking at my door, insisting that I find their answers.” Besides her newly discovered uncle, she’s looking into a missing grandfather and a puzzling set of twins who may have suffered from the Spanish Flu.

Another ancestral story that rivets this blogger is the oldest Shively on her tree, Michael, born in 1807 in what’s now West Virginia. Land and other records she’s found bring up more questions than answers: What were he and first wife Keziah doing in Ohio in 1832? How was he related to a Philip Shively, who two years later purchased property next door to Michael’s in Indiana? Was that the same Philip born in 1790 in Henry County, Ind.?

This year, Shively is blogging about her family mysteries and genealogical discoveries on the Family Tree Firsts blog on Family Tree University’s website. In addition to solving family puzzles, her goals echo those of most genealogists — to better understand our ancestors. “I’m interested in my female ancestors but also in the military experiences of the men in my family tree. I want to know how my family fit in with larger events and trends in history.”


From the May 2011 issue of Family Tree Magazine

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