Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Exploratory Data Analysis: Benjamin Franklin Wehrly (1873-1895)

Benjamin Franklin Wehrly (1873-1895) was my paternal great-granduncle.  What follows is an exploratory analysis of the biographical data I have discovered about him.

1. Vital Records

     1.1. Birth Certificate

          Benjamin was born October 28, 1873 in Madison Township, Jay County, Indiana1.  The State of Indiana did not require state-wide registrations of birth until after 1907.  Jay County, Indiana only has birth records from 1882.

          1.1.1. Birth Notice in Newspaper

               If Benjamin's birth was announced in the local newspaper, it has been lost to history.  The Jay County Public Library has newspapers from the late 1880s.  The holdings of the Indiana State Library in Indianapolis do not indicate any newspapers of the time period.

          1.1.2. Bible Record

               I am not aware of any surviving Bible record of the Wehrly family.  Will continue to reach out to extended family in hopes that one does exist.

          1.1.3. Baptismal Record

               I am not aware of any baptismal record for Benjamin, nor the church affiliation of the Wehrly's.

          1.1.4. Adoption Record

               There is no indication that Benjamin was adopted.

     1.2. Marriage License

          I have found no record of marriage for Benjamin in the likely locale, Jay County, Indiana.

          1.2.1 Marriage Notice in Newspaper

               Not applicable.

          1.2.2. Anniversary Notice

               Not applicable.

          1.2.3. Divorce Decree

               Not applicable.

     1.3. Death Certificate

          Benjamin died September 9, 1895 in Salamonia, Jay County, Indiana2 of typhoid fever.

          1.3.1. Obituary in Newspaper

               Benjamin's obituary appeared in the October 10, 1895 edition of the Portland Daily-Commercial in Portland, Indiana2.

          1.3.2. Funeral Home Records

               According to his obituary, J.S. Hines was the undertaker for Benjamin's funeral2.  The funeral was conducted by the Williamson Funeral home.  His father paid the account by supplying lumber.

          1.3.3. Tombstone Photograph

               Benjamin's tombstone in the Salamonia Cemetery in Salamonia, Jay County, Indiana has been photographed3.

               His tombstone was the subject of a previous post.

2. Census Records

     2.1. Federal Census Records

          2.1.1. 1880 Federal Census

               On June 3, 1880, Benjamin was enumerated in the William Wherhly household in Salamonia, Madison Township, Jay County, Indiana4, as Franklin Wherhly, age 8, son.  He had attended school within the year.  He was born in Indiana, his father's birthplace was blank, and his mother was born in Michigan.

     2.2. State Census Records

          The State of Indiana conducted state census in 1853, 1857, 1871, 1883, 1889, 1901, 1913, and 1921.  These, however, were merely for the purposes of legislative apportionment.

     2.3. Agricultural Census Records

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

3. Military Records

     3.1. Draft Registration

          Not applicable.

     3.2. Pension Records

          Not applicable.

     3.3. Service Records

         Not applicable.

4. Land Records

     4.1. Deed Records

          Deed records need to be thoroughly searched in Jay County, Indiana to see what records might mention Benjamin.  Will add this to my list of "to-do" items for my next research trip.

     4.2. Plat map / county map

          Plat maps and county maps for Jay County, Indiana will need to be searched.  Will contact the local historical society to see what maps they might have in their collection.

5. Supplemental Records

     Supplemental records available for research on Benjamin include city/county directories, court records and will and probate records.  Will add these to my list of "to-do" items for my next research trip.


1. Wehrly, Blaine & Gladys "Wehrly & Smith Family History." Report to Wehrly Reunion, New Castle, Indiana, 16 August 1970.  Photocopy held by author.
2. Jane Ann Spencer, Williamson & Spencer Funeral Homes, Inc. Portland and Pennville, Indiana Burial Records Book One 1892-1899 (Portland, Indiana: Williamson & Spencer Funeral Homes, Inc., 2008), page 152.
3. Salamonia Cemetery (Jay County, Indiana), Benjamin F. Wehrly marker, photographed by Travis LeMaster, 26 March 2009.
4. William Wherhly household, 1880 U.S. census, population schedule, Salamonia, Madison Township, Jay County, Indiana, ED 169, SD 6, page 28, dwelling 6, family 6; National Archives micropublication T9, roll 287.

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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