Last Thursday I made a trip to Pigeon Falls to examine family records at Pigeon Creek Lutheran Church. It was a beautiful day for a drive, and when I arrived, secretary Diane Thorson and Pastor Moe were so helpful and hospitable. The next two and a half hours flew by.
Mostly I ended up confirming dates and places that I already knew from Aunt Clara’s history, Homestead. I wanted to document as many as I could, however, so this took time. Along the way I found a few surprises – or findings that brought a smile.
1. As I checked through Baptism records, I noticed that Elias Borreson was one of the baptismal godparents or sponsors for Gina Estenson in 1880. Little could he realize that she would become his daughter-in-law 19 years later! To be chosen as a godparent must indicate a long history of friendship between the two families. (To read the whole listing of godparents in the records would be to find the names of family, friends, and neighbors!)
2. Remember the three Hallingstads on the same baseball team with three Borresons in the early 1930s? The connection between these two families must be long and deep too. Nearly 50 years earlier in 1883, two Hallingstads – Mathias and Martinus – were godparents for Elias Borreson’s youngest son, Charles (or Charlie).
3. In all that I’ve seen, October 17, 1899 has been given as the marriage date for Emil Borreson and Gina Estenson. In fact, I had recorded that on this blog. But in checking the Pigeon Creek church records and the Trempealeau County Courthouse records, the date is definitely October 16, 1899 (a Monday, by the way).
4. I thought it interesting that in both church and courthouse records for Emil and Gina’s marriage, they had middle initials: Emil E. Borreson and Gina B. Estenson. Nowhere else have I seen that either had a middle initial or name. I keep wondering what this is about, and my best guess is that the middle inital reverts back to the old Norwegian practice of using the father’s name: Emil Eliassen Borreson and Gina Bertinusdatter Estenson. Other thoughts, anyone?
5. Finally, I saw the usual fluidity in the spelling of names: Garvin or Garven, Edner or Ednar, Bertinus or Bertinius, Boreson or Borreson – not to mention a few obvious misspellings even in official records.
Well, besides all the good documentation I made, that was enough fun for one day!