Letter to Possible Relatives

Letter to Possible Relatives

By Espen Sundheim, Tønsberg , Norway                       (5th edition feb 2015, with minor updates 11.01.2019)


Dear Possible Relative!

On my Fathers side, we are descendant of Anders Olsen (Svennes) Sundem, b.August 17-1744, who died in 1784 at the farm “Sundem” in Ulnes, Valdres, Norway. Anders’s father was Ole Arnesen Svennes, born 1681, and Anders’s 3rd Great grandfather was Syver Svennes, born late 1500s

During the 1800s quite many of my ancestors migrated to the US. Some are traced, and some we know little about.

Some facts:

My grandfather, on the father side, was Iver (Ivar) Sundheim b.1892, and died in  54880 Superior, Wisconsin in Sep.1980. He married Martha Simensen (Brustuen) and had a daughter Alfhild Gladys Sundheim, while living in the US, and later a son (my father) Magne Sundheim. Iver was a baker, and worked at “Kirk Bakery” in Rhinelander. Iver had many relatives in the US, and so did his wife Martha Simensen (Brustuen).

Iver’s parents were Nils Eriksen Sundheim b.1857 & Anne Julsdatter Hilmen b.1865. Iver had many brothers and sisters:

  • Erik b.1887
  • Jul b.1889
  • Nils b.1890
  • Ingeborg b.1894
  • Kristine b.1896
  • Marit b.1898
  • Anna b.1901
  • Ragnhild b.1904
  • Thea b.1906
  • Ola b.1909

The farm had the register as follows: “‘Stormarken’ – Sundheim (Syndei). Stormarke: Gnr.54, bnr.1, P.adr. Ulnes i Nord-Aurdal Herad i Oppland fylke.

Matha’s parents were Mathias Brustuen b.1869 d. 1945 & Randine Pedersen b.1868 d.1964.

Mathias’s parents were Simen Brustuen & Mathea. Martha had 2 sister and 3 brothers who also migrated to the US at some point (all with the last name Brustuen). Ragna Brustuen was a sister of Martha, and she lived until 1995 in Gausdal in Norway. The other sisters and brothers were:

  • Mathea
  • Signe
  • Ole
  • Reidar
  • Karl

The farm in Norway has the register as follows: “Brustuen, gårdsnr.164, bruksnr.2, Svingvold, Østre Gausdal”.

There are not many alternatives if you are a “Sundheim”….

  • There is a town called Sundheim in Germany, of which I am not related to. I do not know any facts, other than that a Norman Sundheim is doing research on his background which is ancestors from Russia. (http://www.sundheim.com/)
  • In Norway there is at least 3 completely different places where “Sundheim” has its origin.
    • Bardufoss in northern Norway.
    • Froland near Arendal in sothern Norway.
    • Ulnes, Nord Aurdal in Oppland county in Norway, about 45 miles northwest of Oslo. The area is called “Valdres”. This is an area where several farms claimed the name “Sundheim”, and due to the different naming-traditions anyone born at these farms got the last name “Sundheim”. Today there is 6 farms called “Sundheim”, and I do not know if all of the different farms are related, but I believe it is likely that there is some connection in between the generations of persons that lived on these farms, which are practically neighbors.

Above I have mentioned one of the farms, which is the one I am related to. Here is the other five:

  1. Sundheim (sundei) Gnr. 95. Bnr. 25 in Aurdal. Owner is Alfred Sundheim, son of Ivar O. Sundheim (not my grandfather)
  2. Sundheim  Gnr. 53. Bnr.2 in Ulnes. Owner is Magnus Sundheim,b.1907, son of Lars M.Sundheim. Magnus was married to Kari Halvorsd. Jarstad. Their children were Leif b.1937, Ambjørg b.1938, Halvor Øystein b.1939, Kari Marie b.1944, Anders b. 1946.  This farm is from the year 1640!
  3. Sundheim (syndei), nordre. Gnr. 53. Bnr. 1 in Ulnes. The owner is Engebret K. Sundheim, son of Knut K. Gilen b.1890. Engebret was married to Gurine Halvorsd. Brenn. Their children were Guri b.1916, Harald b.1918, Knut b.1920, Marit b.1923, Kristian b.1925, Jørgen b.1929, Marta b.1932, Einar b.1936. (many kids, ey!).
  4. Sundheim (sundei), søre. Gnr. 52. Bnr.1 in Ulnes. Owner is Olav Sundheim, b.1900, son of Tore O. Semlebakken. Olav married Krstine Olsd. Seinde. Their children were Tormod b.1932, Bjørg b.1935, Oddvar b.1935. Olav served as blacksmith for the village.
  5. Sundheim (syndei), øvre. Gnr.52 Bnr.3 in Ulnes. Owner was Turid Sundheim, but in 1946 a new owner took over, Olav Haugen. This farm is also a very old farm.

There are not many alternatives if you are a “Sundem”….

For those with the lastname “Sundem”, it is almost guaranteed that your ancestors came from “Sundem” in Valdres, Norway. The naming traditions changed over the years and “Sundem” became “Sundheim”, and any children born at these farms got the name “Sundem” and later “Sundheim”. When someone then moved away, the lastname “Sundem” survived, and today there is many “Sundem’s” around. After my forefather Erik Iversen Sundem, b.1828, the names of his children got the name “Sundheim”, so the change happened around that generation.

The “Sundems” that I know of is:Ole Andersen Sundem, b.1781, Erik Andersen Sundem, b.1773, Andres Eriksen Sundem, b1795, Ole Eriksen Sundem,b1796, Iver Eriksen Sundem, b.1799, Ole Eriksen Sundem, b.1801, Anne Eriksdatter Sundem, b.1806, Bjorn Eriksen Sundem, b.1808, Jul Sundem, Ragnhild Sundem, Eli Sundem, b.1823, Jorand Sundem,b.1828, Erik Iversen Sundem, b.1828, Anne Sundem, b.1840.

Over the past year and a half, I’ve come to know much more about my ancestors, and I find it quite satisfying to learn about my ancestors. At times I spend way to much time working with genealogy, but it’s so engaging, and it’s hard to stop some times……I’ve reached the 1500 century on my fathers father side (Sundem/Svennes), so in the future most of my efforts will be used on my fathers mother side (Brustuen), and my mothers ancestors. However, even though I’ve come to know so much about my ancestors and their brothers and sister, I wish to know more about the descendents from the “brothers and sisters”. Kindly view my “GMW” page regarding persons I currently are chasing more information about.

I must remember to thank you in advance, and reassure you that any returned response will trigger some reply form me. For some it will be a revelation about their ancestors, and for others it will just be a confirmation that we are not related!

In your own time, please make contact with your parents, grandparents, aunt, uncles & cousins, and make some notes on a piece of paper, or download and use these forms !

Yours sincerely

Espen Sundheim

A list of persons & relatives who have visited Norway or made contact over the years:

  1. Norman Hagen  , Detroit, Michigan (Visited Norway)
  2. Arnold & Joann Hagen Hartland, Michigan
  3. Joyce (Hagen) Holmes, Dearborn Hights, Michigan
  4. Evelyn (Hagen) & Ralph Robinson,  Spring Valley, California .
  5. Christine S.(Sundheim) Stenerson, (sister of Iver),  San Jose, California.
  6. Cindy & Scott Sundheim in Fairview, Montana. Scott is descendant of Jul Sundheim b.1863
  7. Joshua Sundheim in Starbuck, Minnesota. Descendant of Erik Sundheim b.1866
  8. Leif & Erik Sundheim in Aas, Norway. Descendents of Anders Eriksen Sundheim b.1795
  9. Kari Olava Sundheim Penser, Stockholm, Sweden. Descendant of Erik Sundheim b.1866
  10. Cheril Dawn Sundheim Damon. Descendant of Jul Sundheim b.1863
  11. Joyce M. Harrison. Descendant of Anne Eriksdatter Sundem b.1802
  12. Gloria Hodge. Descendant  of (to be determined)
  13. Brian C. Sundheim, Chicago. Descendant of Jul Sundheim b.1889 
  14. Thelma Stefonowicz, Spokane. Descendant of Ole Sundheim Toppol b.1860 
    1. Nancy Stefonowicz, Spokane. Visited Norway 2018.
  15. Anne Margrethe Traa, Voss, Norway. Descendant of Ole Sundheim Toppol b.1860 
  16. Ann Moen Stroupe. Descendant of Marit Andersdatter b.1691
  17. Mark Ashley. Descendant of Amund Olsen Quale b.1826, son of Anne Eriksdatter Sundem b.1802
  18. Ruth Anne Henderson. Descendant of Marit Arnesdatter Svennes b.1690
  19. Carol Sundquist

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