Thursday, October 17, 2013

Exploratory Data Analysis: William A.L. Metzner (1866-1879)

William A.L. Metzner (1866-1879) 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

          William was born October 24, 1866, probably in Jay County, Indiana.  The State of Indiana did not require state-wide registration of births until after 1907.  His date of birth was obtained from calculating from his death date and his tombstone.

          1.1.1. Birth Notice in Newspaper

               If William's birth was mentioned in a local newspaper, it has been lost to history.  The Jay County, Indiana public library has local 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 Metzner 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 William.  The Metzner's were members of the Evangelical Association.

          1.1.4. Adoption Record

               There is no indication that William was adopted.

     1.2. Marriage License

          Not applicable, as William died in his youth.

          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

          William died March 4, 18791, probably in Jay County, Indiana.  The Jay County Indiana Health Department has death records from 1882.

          1.3.1. Obituary in Newspaper

               Will need to search contemporary newspaper accounts to see if I can find mention of William's death.  Will add this to my list of "to-do" items.

          1.3.2. Funeral Home Records

               Once I've located an obituary for William, will see if the funeral home is mentioned and then contact them for additional information.

          1.3.3. Tombstone Photograph

               William's tombstone in the Mt. Zion Cemetery, Jay County, Indiana1 has been photographed.  His tombstone lists his death date as March 4, 1879, and states he was 12 years, 4 months and 8 days old.

2. Census Records

     2.1. Federal Census Records

          2.1.1. 1870 Federal Census

               On July 4, 1870, William was enumerated in the John A. Metzner household in Wayne Township, Jay County, Indiana2, as William Metzner, age 3, born in Indiana.

     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 legislative apportionment.

     2.3. Agricultural Census Records

          I have not yet examined these types of records to see what light they might shed on the Metzner farm.

3. Military Records

     3.1. Draft Registration

          Not applicable, as William died as a youth.

     3.2. Pension Records

          Not applicable.

     3.3. Service Records

          Not applicable.

4. Land Records

     4.1. Deed Records

          Not applicable.

     4.2. Plat map / county map

          Jay County, Indiana published a plat map in 1874, 1881, 1887, 1901, 1910 and 1920 that might be relevant to my research.  

5. Supplemental Records

     Supplemental records to research 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. FindAGrave, Inc., ( : accessed 17 October 2013).
2. John A. Metzner household, 1870 U.S. census, population schedule, Wayne Township, Jay County, Indiana, dwelling 71, family 71, page 9; National Archives micropublication M593, roll 327.

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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