Sometimes one little discovery solves many a mystery!
Bernt Borresen, our grandfather Emil’s uncle and his godparent in 1872, has been something of a mystery. First, I thought he had no family, but it turned out he lived in La Crosse in the 1890s and had five children. Then, it appears he died before 1905 (because his widow remarried that year) but I’ve never located a record of his death.
Check old posts here under Bernt’s name and you can learn a bit about his five children. This weekend, however, the discovery of one obituary uncovered all kinds of family information about Bernt’s middle daughter Florence.
Florence, born in La Crosse in 1892, married a John Landis in 1920 in Minot, North Dakota. (Other family members had moved this northerly direction too.) All I knew about their family was that they had one daughter June who had, maybe, married a David Albrecht. Someone on Ancestry.com told me he knew the Albrechts had a daughter or two.
Suddenly there appeared in one of my many searches a 2019 obituary for a Bonnie Mehlhoff in Minot, North Dakota. What was this about, I wondered? I quickly learned that Bonnie was the second of five daughters born to June and David Albrecht, and she was the granddaughter of John and Florence Landis. That would make Bonnie the great-granddaughter of Bernt Borresen! She would be a third cousin to us “Borreson cousins.” Not close, of course, but interesting to me.
That same obituary gave me wonderful information not only on Bonnie’s family, but also on the married names of her four sisters, plus where they lived. Her own mother–that would be Bernt’s granddaughter–was still living in Minot, and if I figured correctly, would have been 98 years old at the time (99 now). Minot remains home to several members of this family, long after Florence Borresen, Bernt’s daughter, married there nearly 100 years ago.
In other words, one obituary revealed many Borreson relatives I never knew about–and will likely never meet. The discovery was still fun.