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What it is:

Cabinet card measuring 4.25 x 6.5 inches.

What I know about it:

Written on the back in pen is Nettie Weimer Matteson.


I have, on occasions when I’m bored, browsed eBay using the search term “Weimer”.  This is, as some of you know, my last name.  It amuses me what I find, and sometimes I buy these items.  That’s how I’ve ended up with, say, vintage souvenirs from the Weimer Hotel in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, or the Weimer meat packing company in Wheeling, West Virginia.  While I assure myself (and you) that this isn’t a narcissistic act, I have to admit I enjoy owning some of these things.  And when I’ve been fortunate enough to find my great-grandfather’s art on eBay, I tell myself I’m doing myself a service.  Sometimes what I find are photos of people named Weimer.  Once even a photographer named Weimer.  I am not, as far as I know, related to any of these people, but I still like to give them a home in my collection.  So here we have Nettie Weimer Matteson.  Would a simple Google search turn up anything?  Yes!  Some pages I didn’t have to pay for!  And best of all, there are matching pictures!  Click here (and scroll about a third of the way down) to see that she lived 1860-1919 in Pennsylvania, and that Llewellan Matteson was the first of at least two husbands.  There’s a photo of her with Llewellan, and another photo that is a full-body version of the one here!  I was delighted by this.  I’m still not sure, though, what it is that’s sticking out of her head.  Sometimes I look at it and think it’s an ill-concealed head clamp from a posing stand, and other times I think it’s some sort of pin or comb in her hairdo.

13 comments on “Nettie”

  1. You just never know if you’re related to someone or not. Just this week, I found that I was related to an Alfred Ferreira who passed away in Half Moon Bay, CA earlier this year. I had found the obit online back in February, but didn’t find the connection (his mother was one of 12 of my grandfather’s siblings), until this week. Another connection that confirmed Alfred was a cousin was finding the obit of his nephew, Carl Maidt. At recent funerals for a couple of great aunts, Carl had shown up to pay his respects. With his distinctive look, he was hard not to notice

    So, if you had kin that lived in PA, Nettie may be a distant relative.

    • True, you never know. I’m sure that if I went back far enough I might find some connection. But then, a vast portion of the world’s population is supposedly descended from Genghis Khan. At some point it just becomes academic. Still, it makes for fun detective work, and as with the examples you mentioned, it can help you fill in gaps in your understanding of your immediate family.

  2. Well the page you linked to was a good one. Enough information to determine that your grandfather’s first name would have to have been Alvin, Victor or Elmo to be related to Nettie above. If this is true, email me and I will tell you more. Otherwise, you can eliminate a direct connection. All of the other siblings were female and would not have carried the name.

    • Thanks for the offer, but those names don’t ring a bell, and I’m pretty sure she’s not a direct relative. Weimer isn’t the most common name, but there have been plenty scattered around the country since (I think) colonial times, so it’s not a surprise. Still, photos like this are fun to find.

  3. Yes, it is fun to search out connections of our families name. I do have a distant uncle who had a town in Colorado named after him. The discovery was not a result of my research but of connecting to his direct line descendant. Of course his interest was far greater than mine but i do share the delight in knowing about it.

  4. Posture says head clamp, but I’m pretty sure it’s a bun-securing stick.

  5. My guess would be postmortem photography. There is something about the photo that is not quite right. Posture and angle of the head is contorted. No depth in the eyes, facial muscles are slack.

    • That’s a good guess, and I see what you mean. Postmortem photos are fascinating, and I wish I had more. But I don’t think that’s the case here. If you look at the genealogical site I linked to in the body of my comments, you’ll see another photo from this same sitting, a full-body photo where she’s standing. I’ve seen seated corpses in photos, but never a full body standing. Also, the link indicates she died in 1919 at around age 59, which would have been years after this photo was taken. I think in this case she’s just stiff and nervous from not being used to posing for photos. She may also be strapped into a posing stand, which might add to her discomfort.

      • If she passed at the age of 59 and this is her postmortem photo, that would make her the poster child for Mrs. Pinkham’s Elixir. I want what she had! Well, not if it killed her!

      • Ha! Yes, now if we could only find the formula for that elixir. 🙂

  6. Not Postmortem….She died in Tioga County, PA in 1950.

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