This photograph is simply labelled, "Aunt Ethel" on the back, but the identification of the subject may not be as impossible as it might seem at first glance. I purchased this portrait with a grouping of photos once belonging to a child of Ora Ealey Kolcheck. I've posted about this collection in four previous posts (click on "Ealey" in the sidebar to see these) and so I have looked into this family's family history a bit already. Since the inscriber of the photograph is likely Ora's offspring, it would make sense that I would be looking for a sibling of her mother or father. Ora's parents were George and Melissa Ealey. George married a second time after Melissa died, to Phebe Loveall. I started with Ora's siblings and found that she did, in fact, have a half-sister named Ethel.
Ethel Ealey appears in the 1910 US Federal census for Jackson, Clay County, Indiana, daughter of George and Phebe Ealey. Her birth date is listed as abt. 1899. She also appears in the 1920 census, living on her own at age 21. You may notice that this photo was taken at a Street Fair in Brazil, Indiana in 1901. That would mean that this little girl would be two years old. Does she look that young to you? Maybe, but she seems slightly older to me.
I noticed that Ethel doesn't appear in the 1900 census with her parents. Why? Either she wasn't born yet, or she is there and we just don't recognize her. There is an Eve Ealey, daughter of George and Phebe Ealey, born 1898 in that census, who, coincidentally, doesn't appear in the later censuses. Could Eve be Ethel? If so, I think I would be more comfortable with the age of the child in the photograph as being three years old.
One of the documents I found with the photographs was Ora Ealey's marriage certificate. She married William Henry Kolcheck on October 6, 1909. One of the witnesses who signed the certificate was Ora's grandmother, Wealthy Ealey.
I searched for information about the family of William Henry Kolcheck in the US Censuses. His parents were George (b.1840) and Addie Kolcheck (b.1854) of Indianapolis. The family appears as Kolachek and Kolanchek in the 1880 census. George and Addie only appear to have had three daughters, Katie (b.1866), Rosa (b.1879), and Louisa (b.1863) and one son, William (b.1875). Addie had a child from a previous marriage named George Holb (b.1862). So no Ethels there.
Have we successfully identified this little girl? It's hard to say. I think it's a good guess and quite probable, but without other photographs to compare this one to, we can't say for sure.