Wishful Wednesday: The McKelvey Family of Ohio


Ollie McKelvy of Canal Winchester visiting her Marion, Ohio Beerbower cousins.
Ollie McKelvy of Canal Winchester visiting her Marion, Ohio Beerbower cousins. Marion Daily Star [Marion, Ohio], 04 September 1880, page 8. With permission via Ancestry.com.
Beerbower Family (Click for Family Tree)

The McElvey family has been elusive- possibly because there are so very many ways to spell the name: MacElvey, MacElvy, McKelvey, McKelvy, Mac Elvey, and a host of others I have seen online but my fingers just can’t type those letter combinations.

Another reason for being elusive is that it is a maiden name in our line: Matilda Louise McElvey married Eleazer John Beerbower. Add to that a time period before vital records- Matilda was born in 1823 and married in 1839, plus a family that lived in a number of places, and one can understand how challenging it is to find information on an ancestor’s ancestors.

A previous post, Tombstone Tuesday: Matilda (Mac Elvey) Beerbower gives more information about Matilda and her family. Matilda McKelvey and Eleazer John Beerbower married in Winchester, Ohio on 7 March 1839.

Wednesdays are not the only days we have wished for more information on this family, especially the names of the parents of Matilda. So it was exciting when researching the Beerbower family to find the above newspaper article. This was the first document found about the McElvey family, other than those about Matilda as a married woman.

So this article is a good clue- Ollie McKelvey was from Canal Winchester in 1880, called just Winchester in its earliest times and again later, after the canal was not as important. Ollie would have been the child of  Matilda McKelvey Beerbower’s brother, since she was visiting the family of her cousin, Samuel T. Beerbower. (She couldn’t be a child of a sister of Matilda, since she has the family name and a sister would have taken her husband’s name.)

Of course, the truth of this assumption would depend on whether or not the word ‘cousin’ is used in the article as we do today- in earlier times ‘Cousin’ (as well as ‘Aunt’ and ‘Uncle’) were used more loosely, sometimes even for someone not related. Ollie was most probably related though since she had the family name and came from the same town as where Matilda and Eleazer were married- marriages often took place in the bride’s hometown.


Notes, Sources, and References: 

1) Newspaper citation as above.

2)  McKelvey-Beerbower marriage information in House of Bierbauer.  Two Hundred Years of Family History, 1742-1942 compiled by James Culver Bierbower and Charles William Beerbower; Published under the direction of Beerbower History Committee, 1942.  A note to the county recorder is probably a good next step to see if the marriage record exists, and if so, does it contain the names of Matilda’s parents.


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