A Name By Any Other...
March 11, 2013
Jessie Elizabeth Rush, also known by her first name only and her middle name only and even just Lizzie Rush on her marriage certificate. What about Shively, Shibley, or Sheobley. UGH! Those are all the same family, and it certainly looks like Shively to me when I read the handwriting. But to the person indexing those names, it was a guessing nightmare. And, it can be a nightmare for researchers as well.
If you're having trouble locating an ancestor, it's time to play with the name. Change the spelling (like William to Wm, Catherine to Cathrine and Catharine, or Thomas to Thos). Try their middle as their first or vice versa. The room for error is great in those old documents when it comes to spelling because either the person giving the info had an accent or couldn’t spell well. Also, the person taking the information wrote what they heard and not what they were told, and the person indexing the information couldn't decipher the handwriting. Even Smith can become Swith. That's how Shively becomes Scheobley, and that's how you get lost.
So don't get disheartened. Keep looking, keep digging, and if all else fails, ask one of our many helpful staff for some alternate spelling suggestions!
Midwest Genealogy Center