Something has happened I can hardly believe! Not only was this blog was found by a fellow in Norway who was curious about our family from Biri, but he has provided me with fine documentation connecting our family to the Biri church. Rolf Steinar Bergli, who grew up in Biri’s neighboring valley of Snertingdal, has shared with me material for several posts, including a several beautiful photos.
Let me begin where he did: the birth and baptism of Marthe (or Maria) Thorsdatter – or Maria Thorson, mother to Gina Estenson Borreson, as we know her in our family history.
Her birth is documented at “Biri kirke” or Biri Church as 1 April 1850, which matches Aunt Clara Cook’s history Homestead. She was born to Oline Olsdatter and Thor Thorstensen who had her baptized/christened at Biri church about five weeks later, May 5, 1850. But the record reveals a surprise: she had been baptized at home on April 2, the day after she was born – and then later brought to the church for christening again. (Today we’d call this an affirmation of baptism.) What’s reason for the home baptism? We could guess that family feared she wouldn’t live long enough to make it to the church, but we’ll return to this matter at another time.
Our new Norwegian friend Rolf was good enough to send photos of the church which was built in 1777, although there has been a Biri church since at least the 1200’s. Here’s one of my favorite photos from Rolf. Isn’t the setting beautiful?
Click here for a photo and Norwegian description of the Biri church. Now let me add another photo: this one is of the beautiful interior from a day in 2003 when Rolf was there for the funeral of a great aunt.
I also have documentation for the marriage of Thor Thorstesen and Oline Olsdatter in the same Biri church on 22 May 1831. He was 34 years and from Petersborg, and she 21 and from Sigstad. (More on the places in another post.) For now, can you just sit back and imagine a wedding in this setting…. or a baptism? Enjoy the scene, compliments of Rolf Steinar Bergli – with our thanks.