Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Exploratory Data Analysis: Olive Jane (Smith) Wehrly (1846-1913)

Olive Jane (Smith) Wehrly (1846-1913) was my paternal 2nd-great grandmother.  What follows is an exploratory analysis of the biographical facts I've discovered about her.

1. Vital Records

     1.1. Birth Certificate

          Olive was born June 23, 1846 in Cass County, Michigan1,2.  There were no birth certificates required at that time by the State of Michigan.

          1.1.1. Birth Notice in Newspaper

               I have not been able to locate any contemporary news reports of Olive's birth.

          1.1.2. Bible record

                I am not aware of the survival of any Smith family Bible.  I will continue to reach out to extended family in hopes of locating one.

          1.1.3. Baptismal record

               I do not know what church the family was associated with, and am not aware of the existence of any baptismal record.

          1.1.4. Adoption record

               There is no indication that Olive was adopted.

     1.2. Marriage license

          Olive was married August 5, 1866 in Jay County, Indiana to William P. Wehrly2.  One source indicated that the marriage took place on August 4th1.  Obtaining a copy of the actual record from Jay County is now on my "to do" list.

          1.2.1. Marriage notice in newspaper

               I have not searched local newspapers to see if Olive and William's nuptials were mentioned.  Will add this to my "to do" list on my next research trip into the area.

          1.2.2. Anniversary notice

               I have not searched Jay County, Indiana newspapers for mention of Olive and William's anniversary either.  Their 25th would have been August 5, 1891.  They did not survive to reach their 50th anniversary, which would have been August 5, 1916.  Have added finding an anniversary mention to my "to do" list.

          1.2.3. Divorce decree

               There is no indication a divorce ever occurred, and a recent search of court records during the time period did not turn up a divorce record.

     1.3. Death Certificate

          Olive died January 6, 1913 in Portland, Jay County, Indiana1,2.  I thought I had a copy of her death certificate, but apparently I do not.  Will add obtaining one to my "to do" list on the next research trip.

          1.3.1. Obituary in newspaper

               I need to search out the copies of the Portland Commercial-Review on my next research trip to locate a copy of Olive's obituary.  I thought I had one for my files, but if I have, it has not been properly sourced in my database.

          1.3.2. Funeral home records

               The Jay County library has some funeral home records from the various funeral homes in the county.  Will add this to my list of "to do" research items.

          1.3.3. Tombstone photograph

               Olive's tombstone in the Salamonia cemetery has been photographed.  It lists her as "Olive J. Wehrly June 23, 1846 - Jan. 6, 1913", and her husband, William, is also listed3.

2. Census Records

     2.1. Federal Census Records

          2.1.2. 1910 Federal Census

               For some reason, I have not been able to locate Olive in the 1910 census.  A widow at this time, I believe she should be living in Salamonia, Madison Township, Jay County, Indiana or in the household of one of her children.  A cursory search of her children's locations in 1910 has not located her.  I will have to add a line-by-line search of 1910 census in Salamonia to my "to-do" list.

          2.1.3. 1900 Federal Census

               On June 2, 1900, Olive was enumerated in Madison Township, Jay County, Indiana4 as Olive J. Wehrly, age 53, born June 1846 in Ohio.  She had been married for 33 years, and was the mother of 13 children, 11 of whom were still living.  Both her parents were listed as being born in Ohio.  She could read and write and spoke English.  Living in the household were her husband, William, age 54; son Alva M., age 21; daughter Ida L., age 17; son Blaine, age 15; daughter Ethel M., age 13; and son Martin N., age 11.

          2.1.4. 1880 Federal Census

               On June 3, 1880, Olive was enumerated in Salamonia, Madison Township, Jay County, Indiana5 as Olive Wherley, age 33, married, born in Michigan.  Both of her parents were born in Ohio.  Living in the household with her were husband William, age 24 [sic]; daughter Minerva, age 12; daughter Isabell, age 11; son John, age 10; daughter Catherine, age 9; son Franklin, age 8; son Henry, age 5; son Harvy, age 3; and son Monroe, age 1.  William's age is clearly listed as 24, though he should more rightly be listed as 34.

          2.1.5. 1870 Federal Census

               On August 2, 1870, Olive was enumerated in Madison Township, Jay County, Indiana6 as Olive J. Werly, age 24, keeping house, born in Michigan.  Living in the household with her were William P., age 24; Minerva P., age 3; Barbary J., age 1; and John W., age 2 months.  A servant, Amo H. Mamo, age 20, born in Ohio, was also in the household.

          2.1.6. 1860 Federal Census

               On June 9, 1860, Olive was enumerated in the William Smith household in Madison Township, Jay County, Indiana7 as Olive Smith, age 13, born in Michigan.  She had attended school within the year.

          2.1.7. 1850 Federal Census

               On August 21, 1850, Olive was enumerated in the William Smith household in Jefferson Township, Cass County, Michigan8 as Olive Smith, age 4, born in Michigan.  She had attended school within the year.

     2.2. State Census Records

          The State of Indiana conducted state census in 1853, 1857, 1871, 1877, 1883, 1889, 1901, 1913, 1919 and 1931.  These however, were merely for the purposes of determining legislative apportionment.

     2.3. Agriculture Census Records

          I have not yet investigated these types of census records to see what information might be shed on the Wehrly farm.

3. Military Records

     3.1. Draft Registration

          Not applicable, as Olive was female.

     3.2. Pension Records

          Olive did receive a pension for William's Civil War service.  I need to make the records of this pension the subject of a future post.

     3.3. Service Records

          Not applicable, as Olive was female.

4. Land Records

     4.1. Deed Records

          Deed records need to be researched thoroughly in Jay County, Indiana.

     4.2. Plat map / County Map

          Jay County published a plat map in 1874, 1881, 1887 and 1901, 1910, and 1920 that may be relevant for my search for Olive.  I have access to copies of the 1887 and 1901 plat maps of Jay County, and need to see what information they hold on the Wehrly family.

5. Supplemental records

      Supplemental records available to research for Olive include city/county directories, court records, and will and probate records.  Searching these items will be on my "to do" list for my next research trip into Jay County.


1. Brown, Walter L., "The Maxson Family. Descendants of John Maxson and Wife, Mary Mosher of Westerly, Rhode Island.", 1954, p. 123.
2. Wehrly, Blaine & Gladys, "Wehrly & Smith Family History". Report to Wehrly Reunion, New Castle, Indiana, 16 August 1970.  Photocopy held by author.
3. Olive J. Wehrly tombstone, Salamonia Cemetery, Jay County, Indiana, transcribed by writer, 29 August 2009.
4. William P. Wehrly household, 1900 U.S. census, population schedule, Madison Township, Jay County, Indiana, ED 62, SD 67, sheet 2B, dwelling 44, family 45; National Archives micropublication T623, roll 380.
5. William Wherley household, 1880 U.S. census, population schedule, Madison Township, Jay County, Indiana, ED 169, SD 6, page 28, dwelling 6, family 6; National Archives micropublication T9, roll 287.
6. William P. Werly household, 1870 U.S. census, population schedule, Madison Township, Jay County, Indiana, Salamonie P.O., dwelling 197, family 200; National Archives micropublication M593, roll 327.
7. William Smith household, 1860 U.S. census, population schedule, Madison Township, Jay County, Indiana, Salamonia P.O., dwelling 60, family 60; National Archives micropublication M653, roll 269.
8. William Smith household, 1850 U.S. census, population schedule, Jefferson Township, Cass County, Michigan, page 298, dwelling 759, family 767; National Archives micropublication, M432, roll 349.

This post was developed as part of the series relating to Building My 2011 Research Template, an attempt to systematically document and source the details of my ancestors' lives. Comments regarding this template and the conclusions drawn in this article are welcomed.

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