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 Anna Kristinia Bergstedt


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Johan Georg and Anna Bergstedt
Johan Georg and Anna
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Anna Kristina Bergstedt Fougner was born August 14, 1874 in Hisoy, Norway to Johan Henrik Bergstedt and Ingaborg Ovedia Osmundsen. When she was eight years old, her mother died, and for two years her father, who was a sawyer, cared for her and her younger brother Johan Georg. Two years later Johan married Charlotte Marie. Anna and Johan Georg quickly acquired three brothers and eight sisters. There were thirteen children in the family.

Anna was an exceptionally beautiful child and woman. She easily turned men’s heads. As a young lady she moved to Oslo and worked in the home of a family by the name of Schou at the Rosenborggaten 5,Chrisianis (Oslo). She soon fell in love with a man by the name of von Hirst. He was from an aristocratic family, and because she was of the working class, he didn’t marry her even though she became pregnant. Her sister, Borghild, thought that he was a dentist and that he wanted to marry Anna, but Anna found out that he had made another girl pregnant and she refused to marry him. The baby was a daughter she named Eli. Anna was their sole support. She paid a family with no children to care for Eli. Eli spent weekends and holidays with her mother. When they visited in Arendal, her aunts and uncles loved her as a sister. Borghild was three years older than Eli, and she felt especially close to her. They carried on a lifelong correspondence.

Anna’s sisters remember visiting her in Oslo where she showed them the sights. One day she took three of her sisters into a department store where she encouraged them to enjoy themselves looking around. “I will stay here and admire myself in this full length mirror.” While she was beautiful, she was also a bit vain.

Anna later worked in a dress shop – she was the one who put the laces and final touches on the dresses. She later had a shop of her own. It was one of the best dress shops in Oslo.

On April 20, 1912 she married Gunnar Fougner (born September 18, 1866). After her marriage she stopped working and brought Eli home for good. Evidently Gunnar was from a family quite high in society. He had a brother or relative who served on the Supreme Court. Gunnar was a government official with the department that administered the legal system for the city of Oslo. They lived in a lovely home on Johan Collets Allee in Oslo. 

Tante Ingeborg received a letter from a cousin, Wendla, on December 30, 1925, where she wrote, “We had a visit from Anna and Gunnar Fougner this Christmas. Anna Fougner is just as impossible as ever. Don’t know if she will ever change. Anyway, she has a good and kind husband.”

Gunnar had a portrait painted of Anna. When she received it she felt it didn’t do her justice, and in her vanity she touched it up to reflect her beauty. She did oil painting herself. After Eli’s death some of her mothers paintings were given to her niece Anna Espelande and grand niece Signe Solberg.

Anna died on May 20,1943, and her husband Gunnar died on March 25, 1950.

Anna’s nephew Helge Seljaas tells us of an interesting family story that may or may not be true but it is fascinating, nevertheless. The mother of Anna Kristina and her bother Johan Georg (the first wife of Johan Henrik) was the daughter of the illegitimate daughter of Karl Johan Bernadotte. He was a general under Napoleon and was elected King of Sweden after the king became insane. Could this be true…?

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