Sunday, March 1, 2015

Mystery Photo... Ellen Carlson of Cass County, MN

Ellen Carlson

This photo was in an album belonging to my Great-Grandmother... She was a great collector of photographs... which is wonderful!  However, she would paste her photos in albums with no rhyme or reason... photos of her family, her husbands family, neighbors, friends, church members... you name it, they all share a page!

Luckily, I was able to ask her the identities of many of the photos... though this fine portrait however never was truly explained....

"Aunt Ellen"  Ellen Carlson

When I showed it to my Grandfather, he said "Oh, that's Aunt Ellen"... "Well, we called her that, but she wasn't really our Aunt".

I had family of two different Great-Grandparents settle in rural Cass County, Minnesota (and they often trickled over into Crow Wing County as well). Many different, far flung relatives ended up settling there, especially during the 1900s & 1910s. Many not blood relatives, but relatives of kin by marriage, etc.

After Great-Grandma passed away, I inherited her collection of funeral programs... among them was one for Ellen Carlson... born March 14, 1879.... died February 14, 1965

Doing some brief census research, I find that Ellen was born in Sweden and it appears that she arrived in the USA in 1881 (as a young child). The first census I find her in, is the 1910-- where she is living in Cass County, with Annie Hagen. This is most interesting, because my Great-Great Grandmother was a Hagen. Annie Hagen was born in Norway (as was my Hagen Grandma)... now Hagen is not an uncommon Norwegian surname... but the coincidence is strong....

I'm going to have to do some more research and see if this Annie Hagen is indeed a "relative" or not... but I'm pretty certain "Aunt Ellen" is of no blood relation... They were living together up through the 1930 census, but as Annie was 77, it seems she passed away by 1940. 

As both remained unmarried, I don't expect to stumbled upon any descendants... but perhaps someone out there can claim "Aunt Ellen" as their own!

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