52 Ancestors: Strong Woman


Let me introduce you to my great-great-grandmother, Dorothea Wilhemine Alder, Dora for short.

Dora was born on 10 December 1858 in Kiel, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, the daughter of Ernst Johann Martin Adler and Catharina Margaretha Ohlsen. I know nothing of her childhood, if she had any siblings, or how long her parents lived. The first record I have of her is of her marriage to Hermann Peter Borchert, on the 27 May 1885 in Kiel.

dora and hermann marriage

The marriage record of Dora Adler and Hermann Borchert, in the original German.

The next day, Dora and Hermann left from the port in Bremen, and arrived in New York on 15 June 1885. She is even listed by her maiden name on the ship’s manifest. They were processed through Castle Garden.

dora and hermann rec

I think it is amazing enough that she was married the day before immigrating to a new country, but she was also pregnant! Nearly three weeks on a transatlantic ship, entering the port in New York, and then settling in a new country. A strong woman, indeed.

Dora gave birth to their first daughter, my great-grandmother Ida, on 23 October 1885 in Lansing, Michigan. Dora and Hermann traveled over 4000 miles from the time they were married to where they had their first child.

Dora, Hermann, and Ida would move to Cincinnati, Ohio, where they would add five children to their family. The family then moved to Indianapolis, and later Toledo, before making the move to San Diego.

1900 census borchert

The family in the 1900 census. Notice the incorrect birth year for their daughter Ida.

Dora died in San Diego on 1 November 1926, at the age of 67. She is buried nearly 5600 miles from where she was born and married.


Herman (he dropped the extra “n”) and Dora’s headstone, at Mount Hope Cemetery in San Diego. 

A strong woman on my family tree! If Dora had not made her trip, I wouldn’t be here, and that amazes me.

Thank you for reading about my great-great-grandma! If you happen to know more about her, especially a picture, let’s get in touch!

You can find all my 52 Ancestors post through the tag below.

As always, you can find me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. You can also email me: familyhistoryfood [at] gmail.com.

I also have a vintage site: familyhistoryfood.etsy.com.

Until next time,






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