In Clara Borreson Cook’s Homestead, Biri is identified as the birthplace of Maria Thorsen (Mrs. Bertinus Estensen), as well as the parish in which she was baptized and confirmed (p. 14). Her parents (p. 8) and siblings claim that parish as well.
Some time ago cousin Judy e-mailed us (or me, I forget) a photo of the Faberg Church which is, according to my understanding, the church for the Biri parish. I include it here, lovely in itself and evidence of Judy’s photo skills too.
Some of you may have been to this part of Norway so you know much more than I; if I am wrong, you must correct me! I admit to making some assumptions here, but I proceeded to do some online searching for Faberg Church information and here’s what I learned.
The Faberg Church is actually located between the villages of Faberg and Gausdal about five or so miles north or northwest of the Olympic city of Lillehammer. A church building has existed for hundreds of years on the site. Originally it was a “stave church” but this was demolished in the 18th century when the present red wooden building of cruciform shape was erected. Apparently the current church has some items from the original, including a bell which dates from the 12th century. Also to be found there is a gravestone from the 13th century and a stone with a runic inscription about a thousand years old. Doesn’t that sound like an interesting place to visit?
If that’s not enough to motivate us, the Faberg Culture Trail begins at Faberg Church. This trail is four kilometers and will lead the walker past Viking burial grounds, a river abounding in fish, and traditional farms. Fabulous views of the Olympic city of Lillehammer are also available on this walk – with signs in English along the way – plus picnic areas. Sign me up!
Another site indicates that many Biri records are available online: Biri parish records are available on microfilm for the time period 1730-1921. Biri clerical district consists of the parishes Biri and Snertingdal with Segård and Nykirke chaples. Note: Church records for the years 1789-1814 and 1854-1877 were destroyed in a fire on 12 September l890. In Homestead, Clara confirms the missing records from 1791-1813.
The bottom line is: Faberg Church appears a good source for further searches, whether online or traveling.