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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Henry and Anna Borchers - Family Potrait

I say this all of the time, "I love photos!"  They are so interesting to look at.  When they are of your own ancestors, they are like magic.  A picture is like a window.  Old photos are like looking through a window into the past.

Last year, I mentioned to my aunt that I had wished that I had a photo of each of the Borchers children, my great grandfather's siblings.  She said she did have a photo of the entire family together in a portrait.  It amazes me how a comment like that can slip my mind and take me another year to request a copy of the picture.  In my Borchers Family, ask and you shall receive.

The following photo is just that, my Borchers ancestors.  Let me put some context around the photo before scrolling down.  It definitely helps to know the "Who? What? When? Where? and Why?".  Well, let's just say that the "why?" is simple.  Every family should have a portrait taken together.  While this is commonplace nowadays, it might not have been as such in the late 1800s.  When I do find surviving family portraits of my ancestors and family that are over 100 years old, I just about burst from the excitement.

So, who is in this photo?  Where and when was it taken?  What other context can I put around it?

The photo is of Henry and Anna Borchers and Family.  It was taken circa 1900 in Owatonna, Minnesota, at Mueller's, Ground Floor Studio.

Top Row: Henry, William, Martha;  Middle: Tillie, Henry, Albert, Anna;  Front Row Standing: Herbert, Clara

There is a note on the back of the photo indicating who everyone is by their first name.  Below, I have listed their full names and married surnames to the best of my ability.

Top Row
Henry Ludwig Christian Borchers
William Heinrich Borchers
Martha Sophie Dorthea Borchers Joersz

Mathilda (Tillie) Maria Margaretha Magdalena Borchers Weber (later married name was Adams)
"Henry" Hans Heinrich Conrad Borchers
Albert A. Borchers
Anna Maria Jackel Borchers (biological parents' name - Kern/Kearne/Kerns)

Front Row Standing
Herbert Herman Leonhardt Borchers (Sr.)
Clara Pauline Christine Borchers Gruenhagen

It is interesting that I don't seem to have Albert Borchers full name.  I wonder what the "A" stood for and if that is even correct.  Another point to make that was shared with me recently was that Anna Maria/Marie Jackel Borchers was adopted.  Yes, all of her children knew this.  This maybe why it was okay for Anna's half sister, Augusta Jackel, to marry her son, William Borchers.  Anna and Augusta were actually not biologically related at all.

So, who is missing from this photo?  Emilie Regina Barbara Borchers was the first child born to Henry and Anna in 1878 and she died when she was only 2 months old.  The second child born would have already been grown, married and out of the house by this time since she is not present in this portrait.  In fact, Elizabeth "Lizzie" Amillia Borchers Strehlow married Charles F. Strehlow at the beginning of 1900.  I wish that I had a photo of her.  I might.  I do have some unidentified photos that my aunt thinks are Strehlow's.

The best way for me to know when this photo was taken is to look at my great grandfather, Herbert Borchers, since he is the youngest in the photo.  He looks to be about two to three years old.  He was born on 3 Aug 1897.  I would assume that this photo was taken in 1900 or thereabouts.

It is funny to me so see the name Mueller on the photo matting because I have relatives by marriage who have that last name.  These Mueller's were apparently photographers in Owatonna, Minnesota, around the turn of the century.  Mind you, the name Mueller (pronounced Miller by many) is common in Wisconsin and Minnesota, at least it was as a German immigrant surname in those parts.

Again, I love photos.  If a Borchers descendant or family friend finds this photo, please comment.  I often wonder if anyone is looking for our Borchers Family roots besides my uncle, myself, and a few others on


  1. Hi, Mathilda was my G-grandmother. She was first married to Carl (spelling?) Weber and had 3 children (Clara was my Grandmother) before marrying Edward Adams. Great photos!
    SaDawna McCart

  2. Hi, Herb was my great grandfather. I am seeking a photo of the oldest daughter, Elizabeth Strehlow (not in this photo). If you come across one, let me know. Thanks.