Whitley County is a county located in the U.S. state of Indiana. As of the 2010 census, the population was 33,292. The county seat is Columbia City. The county has the highest county number (92) on Indiana license plates, as it is alphabetically the last in the list of counties.
The first non-Native American settlers arrived in what is now Whitley County in 1835. They arrived as a result of the end of the Black Hawk War as well as the completion of the Erie Canal. They consisted entirely of settlers from New England. These were "Yankee" settlers, that is to say they were descended from the English Puritans who settled New England in the colonial era. They were primarily members of the Congregational Church though due to the Second Great Awakening many of them had converted to Methodism and some had become Baptists before coming to what is now Whitley County. When the New England settlers arrived in what is now Whitley County there was nothing but a dense virgin forest and wild prairie. Whitley County was formed in 1838. It was named for Col. William Whitley, who was killed at the decisive American victory at the Battle of the Thames in the War of 1812. In the late 1870s immigrants began arriving from Germany and Ireland.
Genealogical Society of Whitley County has a large number of free online vital and legal record indexes, cemetery transcriptions, and even some original documents. A good place to start is by doing a search of their site for a family name.
A Survey of Historic Sites and Structures for Whitley County is freely available online from the Indiana State Library.
The local Peabody Public Library is a great place to start your in-person research.