On the Trail of Bernt

Am I any closer to learning what happened to our grandfather Emil’s uncle and godparent who came to Wisconsin in 1872, the year Emil was born?

Born January 10, 1857, Bernt Borresen was in the La Crosse/Onalaska area in October 1872 after which, according to Aunt Clara, he “went west” and all contact was lost. (A similar mystery exists for Berthe Borresen, another of Emil’s godparents.)

Using searches on Ancestry.com, I found Bernt Borresons in Superior, Wisconsin, and Fargo, North Dakota, but neither was our relative. Then I located a Bernt in nearby Jackson County. It turns out he was about 15 years younger and part of a large unrelated Borreson family in that county’s Irving Township. One of the family actually was buried in 1946 in the same South Beaver Creek (rural Ettrick) cemetery where Andreas Borreson and others of his family were laid to rest.

The hottest trail I’m on at the moment assumes that Bernt actually never went west but was residing in the wider La Crosse area.

In the Sharon Dallman family tree on Ancestry.com, there is a Bernt Borreson who married a Clara Hanson and had three daughters: Bernice (b. 1889), Florence (1892-1975), and Cora (b. 1895). The family lived in La Crosse and I located Clara and her daughters in the 1905 census. Bernt, however, was not with them, which most likely means he had died before 1905. In addition I have found an online marriage record for Bernt Borreson and Clara Hanson who were married October 25, 1883, in the adjacent county of Monroe. Supposedly Clara was from Leon in Monroe County. Maybe that county has more helpful information on this marriage.

The last bit of information I have is a Bernt Borreson listed in the 1895 La Crosse City Directory. He resided at 2132 Wood and worked for C B & N Railway (about which I haven’t found more info). Is this “our” Bernt? Possibly. Is this the Bernt married to Clara? Possibly. But there were other Borresons in La Crosse. In the decades of interest, I have found at least five or ten Borresons not related to us. So far I have not found anything to eliminate this Bernt from consideration.

There a second family tree on Ancestry. com – J P Mogren – that claims Bernt and Clara’s daughter Florence in their lineage. Maybe I can get this family or the earlier mentioned one to respond to my questions.

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