Saturday, September 19, 2015

84 Years Ago Today

My paternal grandparents, Howard Bierly Matthews and Dagmar Alice Viola Anderson, were married 84 years ago today in Manchester, Connecticut. I shared these home movies here in August which start with their wedding reception.

Watching those movies I realized that I had no idea who my grandmother's maid of honor might have been (although I thought she looked familiar) or my grandfather's best man (although he certainly looked like a brother) and there was no one to ask since my father was an only child and he died ten years ago.

Unbelievably, only one month later, I have many of my answers.

Only a couple of weeks after I received the MP4 file, my step-mother called to say that she was having a friend move in with her and she needed me to go through things in the house asap. Although it was an unexpected wrinkle in my plans to relax over the Labor Day weekend, I'd have gone right that second if she wanted me to since I'd been dying to go through the house for a very long time. As we packed china and explored boxes and closets an application for my grandparents' wedding certificate and check for $20 sat in my purse. I never had to mail it.

Wedding Service of
Howard B Matthews & Dagmar Alice Viola Anderson
September 19, 1931

When I first pulled this from one of the manilla envelopes I was hopeful that it would be from my grandparents' wedding. I turned the pages almost frantically hoping to find something that would identify the bride and groom and finally, there it was!

This is indeed the service from my grandparents' wedding. And there at the bottom of the Marriage Certificate are the names of their witnesses.  My grandfather's best man was a brother, his brother Charles Arthur Matthews, and although I did not recognize the name of my grandmother's maid of honor, she could possibly be the sister of my Great Aunt Anna whom she decidedly resembles, I'm still working on that.

And just as good as the marriage certificate - if not better since I cannot get this at Manchester Town Hall - was this page, the Guest List. My head almost came off! I'm still amazed at my luck. It means that I can pretty well narrow down some of the people in the photos and movies.

These photos I already had.

The happy couple with their officiant,
Dean Chanter of Wesleyan University
These photos were found at my step-mother's two weeks ago.

L-R: Dagmar Anderson, Howard Matthews,
Dagmar Peterson, Charles Matthews,
Little Girl-Unknown
L-R: Bess Matthews Ahlers, William Ahlers, Howard Matthews,
Dagmar Anderson Matthews, Nellie Jones Matthews, Charles Matthews

This is very exciting, especially because I had never seen identified pictures of my grandfather's siblings before and someone had most helpfully written names on the back of this last photo, confirming my guesses. I mean, who knew there was a Matthews nose, and these three all had it!

There are still other photos and documents and even a few pieces of china that I hope to find somewhere in my step-mother's house, but even if this is all there is, I will be very satisfied.

There will be much more to post as I organize and scan all of the photos I brought home two weeks ago and I'm still working on that Military Monday post so I can brag on my other grandfather. In the meantime, I will be heading back out to my step-mother's today to go through my dad's books and see what else I can find.

Have a great weekend!