A few weeks ago, we displayed our books at Family History Expo’s Immigration program, held at the Masonic Temple here in Salt Lake City. While there, Patty and I took the opportunity to meet for a few minutes with Marianne Ausseresses, who checked the card files for one of Patty’s cousins. It seems there’s a card for anyone who ever held membership in the Lodge.
In the Religion section of today’s Deseret News, there was a good article about Holly Hansen, her ancestor, and the records held at the Masonic Temple. Following is an excerpt:
SALT LAKE CITY — When Holly T. Hansen needed information on Matthew McBlain Thomson — a colorful Scottish ancestor who actually started up his own Masonic Lodge and went to prison for mail fraud as a result — she tentatively approached the historian at the Salt Lake Historic Masonic Temple.
She was delighted to find a wealth of information on her great-great-grandfather (including a bound volume written entirely about the “Thomson Masonic Fraud”) and resources that could help many a genealogist with roots in Freemasonry in Utah.
She also found a helpful friend in Aaron Saathoff, a dedicated Mason and volunteer who is a considerable resource himself.
As Hansen researched Thomson’s story, she found a man who was married six times — widowed five times and left by his sixth wife — and who spoke Gaelic, was raised by his grandparents, became the sheriff in Paris, Idaho (later burned in effigy and run out of town) and founded the American Masonic Federation in 1907. After he was tried and convicted of mail fraud for setting up the clandestine lodge and selling Masonic degrees, he became the prison librarian at Leavenworth.