Mystery may not be quite the right choice of words, but as I’ve worked on our family history and genealogy in the last couple years, a few big questions remain unanswered. All three items here concern the siblings of the Elias Borresen, great-grandfather to us Borreson cousins.
Bernt Borresen, born 10 Jan 1857
Bernt was Elias’s younger brother by 18 years. Three years after Elias arrived in America, Bernt came in 1872. After being in the La Crosse area for the October 6 baptism of Emil for whom he was a sponsor, Clara writes that he “then went west and all contact was lost.”
Now there’s a challenge! I have done numerous searches (including old census records) on Ancestry.com without success, eliminating from consideration other Bernt Borresons in Jackson County and Superior, Wisconsin, and Fargo, North Dakota. I have even tried sending out a few “blind” letters to Borresons in western states describing the situation and seeing if I could stir up a connection. Well, that was a productive as buying a lottery ticket….! In any case, Bernt remains a Borreson mystery.
Berthe Borresen, born 25 Dec 1842
Elias’s younger sister by three years also came to America and was another sponsor for Emil. As with her brother Bernt, we have no further information. She deserves to be on this list too, but I haven’t attempted a search for her yet. If she married and changed her name, locating her may be even more difficult. (A younger sibling with the name Berthe Marie (b. 1853) married Alexander Matson, and that family line continues.)
Anne Borresen, born 8 Feb 1847
Anne was another younger sibling of Elias by eight years. In Homestead, Clara reported that Anne was born this date in Norway but had no other information. So I wondered: Did she stay in Norway or come to America? Could she have married before or after Elias left Norway in 1869? Did she die young perhaps? With these questions and others, I began my search.
I had one immediate success: I confirmed her birth and baptism with records found in the Loten, Hedmark, parish register. Clara was correct. Although this next step in the wrong order, I searched Loten marriage records for her name from 1862 to 1874. No results. Then I did what I really should have done first: I searched the Loten confirmation records. Success! I found her confirmation recorded for October 6, 1861. She would have been 14 years old. So we know she was alive at that point. Then I searched Loten death records from 1861 to 1874 without finding her name. My next step may be to search emigration records for her name. In the meantime, she too is a mystery to me.
As I think about this theme, I find it quite amazing: that Elias had five siblings, and we don’t know the fate of three of them.