Leaving Loten

The home area for Borreson roots to our family is Loten in Hedmark County, Norway. (That’s Loten spelled with a / through the o.) Those roots are deep, at least four generations from the mid-1800s back to 1740 or so (Clara’s Homestead, pp. 24f.). I decided to do some looking in the Norwegian parish registers online, and I have been able to document much of Clara’s information.

Borre Andersen Lille Rustad and Maria Andersdatter were married in Loten May 3, 1836. That’s 175 years ago! His farm residence was Lille Rustad and hers Imsetbakken. Even more intersting, Lille Rustad was to be their home for the birth of all six of their children. I found documentation for the birth and baptism of all of them: Andreas, 1837; Elias, 1839; Berthe, 1842; Anne, 1847; Berthe Marie, 1851; and Bernt, 1857. As a sidelight, I mention that the handwriting for all these records is the most beautiful I have seen: every word and letter is perfectly formed and wonderfully legible, a treat to the eyes!

Our great-grandfather Elias left Loten and married Kari Eriksdatter in Elverum in October 1868, and from there they immigrated to America via Christiania (Oslo) in May of 1869. According to Clara, four of the other children also immigrated (she lists a date only for Bernt) and Berthe and Bernt were baptismal sponsors for Elias and Kari’s son Emil October 6, 1872 in Onalaska, Wisconsin. From that time, Clara has no further information on these two.

Could the one remaining daughter Anne have stayed in Norway? Clara doesn’t know and I haven’t tried to learn more. All I know is that life must have been radically changed for Borre and Maria with at least five of their six children gone to America. After Borre died in 1882, Clara writes, Maria herself immigrated to America and lived with Elias and Kari on the farm. She died in 1905 and I have seen her tombstone in the Pigeon Creek church cemetery.

The longevity of this family at the Lille Rustad place is noteworthy. Borre and Marie married there in 1836, and Borre died there in 1882. That’s the stability of 46 years in one place. Contrast that to Gina’s mother’s family the Thorsons. They spent their years in the Biri parish but I count about eight moves among five or six different places (info from Rolf Steiner Bergli in April). I wonder if the difference was due to harder economic conditions in Biri.

Loten coat-of-arms

About Loten…  Loten is about 75 miles north of Oslo about midway between Hamar and Elverum. A Wikipedia article indicates that it occupies a “border situation” between cultivated land and the coniferous forest that stretches from Norway to Siberia.

It seems likely farming was more prosperous here than some parts of Norway. When the import of German beer was prohibited in the 17th century and consquently distilling began in Norway, Loten became an important distillery. In fact, a premier aquavit was produced there. Maybe that’s why the recent Loten coat-of-arms (1984) features a gold drinking horn on a red background.

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3 Responses to Leaving Loten

  1. Daniel Borreson says:

    Some of you may remember, in December 1988, Shelley and I sent a picture with our Christmas cards that was the inside of the Loten Church. We attended a Sunday morning service there in October, 1988. After the service we introduced ourselves to the Pastor. He was so interesting. We took him to lunch and he then accompanied us to the farms that were in Clara’s book. We were on the Rustad farm, which was still in the same family name. We met the then current Rustad family in residence. We drove by another farm identified in Clara’s book, but no one was home. It no longer was in the same family. What a delightful time and we knew the Pastor enjoyed visiting some of his parrishiners as well.

    • I’m glad you mentioned your being in Loten; for whatever reason, that escaped me. If you have a photo or two of the church interior or the Rustad farm, I’d be happy to include them in a post. One day soon I am including a post on the Loten church – but only from my online searches. I’d love something personal from you. Thanks!

  2. Daniel Borreson says:

    Unfortunately all my pictures are back in Wisconsin. I did bring an album to the family reunion at the Whitehall Rod & Gun Club, I believe in 1990. I have more than 200 slides of Norway. We visited the Eleverum Church as well but a funeral was underway when we arrived. Out of respect for that event, we did not venture in to that Church.

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