By Don Taylor
In my ancestor research process, my third step is to review what others think they know (WOTTK). Invariably, I learn something new from others. But occasionally, I find a real treasure. In my research of Edward “Eddie” William Matson, I took a look at the “hints” that Ancestry offered to see what others think they know. Ancestry suggested 13 hints, and several of them were absolute treasures.
- 1900 – Census – Ignored – I already had.
- 1910 – Census – Ignored – I already had.
- 1920 – Census – Ignored – I already had.
- 1922 – Marriages from the MOMS system – Ignored – I already had.
- 1930 – Census – Ignored – I already had.
- 1940 – Census – Ignored – I already had.
- 1940 Minneapolis City Directory. Interesting. I had found Eddie and Hildur in the 1940 Census living in Annandale. To see them in the 1940 Minneapolis City directory surprised me. It makes me want to carefully follow the real property records to see precisely when they relocated to Minneapolis.
- 1942 – World War II Draft Card – I already had.
- 1977 – Obituary – Ignored – I already had.
Member Photo – “Grandpa Matson and siblings.” The Matson (Mattson) Siblings: Top Row: Louis, Edward, Rudolph, Mary, John (Grandpa) Front Row: David, Minnie, Emma, Lena, and Carl Augus Initially added by Ryan2106 on 6/19/2011. A treasure. Eddie is clearly identified, and the image looks very much like him. The photo provided images of nine of his siblings that I’d never seen before. I don’t recall ever meeting any of them, but I remember hearing when several of them died between 1962 and 1963. I definitely can incorporate this photo into my work (with proper credit).
Member Photo – “Louis and Eddie Mattson.” Front Row: Eddie Mattson, Elmer Opsahl; Back Row: Nels Johnson, Louis Mattson, Carl Johnson. Another photo was originally added by ryan2106, this time dated 26 Sep 2017. This is a particularly great photo because it showed Eddie when he was much younger, blonder, and heavier. Based on it, I confirmed another image I’ve seen on the “Terri’s Tales” website.
Member Photo – Eddie and Hildur Mattson. This photo, printed in Dec 1955, is clearly of Hildur and Eddie. It shows Eddie in his typical wear, a plaid lumberjack shirt and light khaki pants. Again, the photo was submitted by ryan2106 to Ancestry on 5/30/2009.
- Ancestry Member Trees and what I learned:
- Merklin Hayes Matson Utterberg Family Tree – owned by ryan2106. – No new fact, however wonderful photos.
- Stephen – Family Tree – owned by Elizabeth Brown – Nothing new.
- Eva-Elle – owned by Elle Hamilton.
- Elle indicated that Ardis (Mattson) and Richard Rohloff had a child, David Peter Rohloff, born and died in 1943. I hadn’t heard of him before.
- She also indicated that Kenneth Mattson’s wife, Mary Barna’s middle name was Ann. I didn’t have that before.
My thanks to all people who share their research and family trees publicly. It is their work that provides the hints Ancestry uses.
I corresponded with ryan2106 through Ancestry Messaging and learned of a blog, “Terri’s Tales: Views to the Past.” The blog has two entries for the Matson surname, one for John Matson and one for his wife, Annie Theresia Utterberg. John was an older brother of Eddie. (John was the 4th child of Lars and Christine and Eddie was their 10th child.)
#5 – John Emil Matson (1886-1962).
Terri’s blog has lots of photos. Notably, a “Mattson family farm in Cokato.” Great photo. My sister lives in Wright County, not too far from the old homestead, and she knows where it is. I asked her if she’d take a new photo of the old Matson homestead. It will be interesting to see what it looks like now.
There is a great “Mattson Family circa 1902” photo which includes little four-year-old Edward. The caption indicates Christina as “Stina,” a nickname I hadn’t known she used. Eddie is the boy standing between Lars and Stina.
Terri includes a fascinating bit of ephemera in her post. There is a copy of a 1915 banknote that John Matson took out to start his cement block business. In it, he signed his name with one t. However, his father, Lars, and uncle, Andrew, both signed their name with two t’s. The address for John was 3107 Upton Ave. North, Minneapolis. For some reason, I had always heard that the name change was due to a sign mistake. I also assumed it was Eddie’s business; however, this document suggests the name change occurred with John before 1915 and before starting his cement block business.
Of really great interest is a photo from the 1925 Mattson Family Reunion, Cokato, MN. I looked at the picture carefully and am pretty sure I’ve identified Eddie from the group. In 1925, Eddie was 27 years old; he and Hildur were married and had two children, Ardis and Elizabeth (Edgar would be born the following December). A man who looks like Eddie from the “Louis and Eddie Mattson” I mentioned earlier is sitting on the far right. On his lap is a child who appears to be about a year and a half, the age Elizabeth would be. Next to him is a woman with a child, about three, about the age Ardis was in 1925. The young woman does appear to be Hildur, although I’ve only seen photos of her when she was much older. Anyway, I’m pretty sure it is them sitting in chairs on the far right of the photo.
The article about John Emil Matson (1886-1962) is a lovely tribute to Terri’s grandfather, John Matson. My thanks to Terri for sharing John’s story and the wonderful photos. Her work has provided new insights into the Eddie Matson story as well.