In my April 15 post, “Roots in Biri, Norway,” I wrote about Maria Thorson’s birth there in 1850. (Maria was Gina Borreson’s mother.) I also mentioned the marriage of her parents, Thor Thorstensen and Oline Olsdatter, there on May 22, 1831. Again using the generous materials supplied me by Rolf Steinar Bergli, I want to take you to places in the lives of this couple.
When Thor and Oline were married in 1831, he was a “bachelor servant from Petersborg” and she a “servant girl at Sigstad,” according to church records. I have the perception that they were poor and remained poor throughout their lives. Thor, for instance, is idenitfied as a “husmann” (cottager, renter) at Lunde in Maria’s baptismal record from 1850, and Oline, a “husmandskone” or husmann’s wife.
Rolf Steinar Bergli reviewed census information and learned that the couple resided at a number of farms around Biri throughout their lives. For his summary of these places on a very helpful Google map, click here. Even better, he has sent photos of several farms.
Let me review Rolf’s list of farm places, adding several of his photos. Thor may have been at Skog in Ringsaker at age 5. He was at Pedersborg when he married Oline in 1831, she at Sigstad (below), which I understand is very near Biri church.
Thor and Oline and family lived at Bratberg in 1831 and at a place belonging to Baaberg in 1834 (below).
In 1836 they were back at Sigstad, at Pedersborg in 1840 (where Thor was when they married), at a place at Kaarstad 1841-1845, and at Lundevolden at the farm Lunde in 1849, 1850, and 1853. Here’s a tower (below) from Lunde farm. They were at Lunde when the Borreson cousins’ great-grandmother Maria Thorsen was born in 1850. Clara Cook is in agreement in Homestead as she writes that Thor was a “husman paa lunde…and also a tenant farmer” (8).
In 1865 Thor was living at Northern Feiring and Oline at Kaarstadhagen (same as 1841-1845?). Rolf Steinar Bergli found a note about Thor to the effect that old age made him live away from his wife. He probably died between 1872-1877.
As you can see, the family moved very often. I keep thinking that their living probably was subsistence, and I wonder if Thor and Oline’s living apart at the end was also about doing whatever was needed to survive. A sad thought…
Again, special thanks to Rolf Steinar Bergli for this great information.