Visiting Oppland Online

This is the second of three visits, all to the counties from which the Borreson-Estenson clans emigrated. Today we go online to Oppland county, the home of Maria Thorson who became the wife of Bertinus Estenson.

Oppland is one of only two Norway counties without coastline, the other being Hedmark just to the east. The county administration is in Lillehammer, site of the 1994 Winter Olympics. Oppland includes 8 of Norway’s 10 highest mountains – and the two highest, Glittertind and Galdhopiggen. As you might guess, tourism and winter sports are important to the county. Its coat of arms (below) is the spring pasque flower, an anemone appearing in early in the season.

Biri, the parish of our ancestors, is included in the Gjovik municipality which is one of three towns bordering on Lake Mjosa, Norway’s largest lake.  Biri does not have its own coat-of-arms, but Gjovik’s (below) is a silver/gray swan on a blue background. In one source it was labeled “an irrational choice,” but in another was said to be based on a nickname for the town of Gjovik. A boat that harbors in Gjovik is called “the white swan of Mjosa.”

The early growth of Biri was due to glass works based there 1764-1843 and 1855-1880s. Today it is home to O. Mustad and Son, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of fish hooks, and Madshus. a ski and ski equipment manufacturer. (With the Borreson history of ski jumping, it seems perfect that a family site in Norway is known for its skis.) In 1994 Gjovik Olympic Hall was the site of Olympic hockey games.

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