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Sondre Norheim
- the
Skiing Pioneer of Telemark





Sondre Ouverson – born June 10, 1825 – Morgedal, Telemark - died March 9, 1897 - McHenry County, North Dakota

Sondre’s father: Ouver Eivindsson

Sondre’s mother: Ingerid Sundresdotter


Sondre photographed in America
Courtesy of the Ski Museum, Holmenkollen, Oslo


Rannei Åmundsdotter – born November 25, 1824 – Øyfjell - died November 1, 1913 - Salem, Oregon

Rannei’s father: Åmund Oleson

Rannei’s mother: Hæge Olavsdotter


Rannei photographed in America
Courtesy of the Ski Museum, Holmenkollen, Oslo

Sondre (28) and Rannei (29) married in Brunkeberg Church January 15, 1854 


Ingerid – born March 10, 1854
Hæge – born October 1, 1855 (died 15 weeks old)
Olav – born October 18, 1856
Hæge – born August 22, 1859
Anne – born October 22, 1863
Auver – born April 5, 1867 (died in 1879, 12 years old)
Åmund – born February 28, 1870
Talleiv – born November 11, 1872

Sondre’s name

Sondre’s last name was Ouverson, meaning “son of Ouver”. Very often the family names had the function to tell who the father was. This was also the case regarding Sondre’s wife. Rannei’s last name was Åmundsdotter, because Åmund was her father’s name (“dotter”=”daughter”).

Sondre and his family lived at several cotter’s farms in Morgedal. The last place where they took homestead, they named Norheim. And from then they also used that name as their new family name.

This family name has been written both “Norheim” and “Nordheim” – with and without a “d”. According to Telemark records, most importantly from the church where Sondre and Rannei were married, their name was written “Norheim”.

“Norheim” is the spelling most commonly used when Sondre’s name has been mentioned publicly, in books, articles, at monuments, in the museums and also in the information material available in the Sondre cottage in Morgedal.

The Immigration Document from 1888
Courtesy of Eivind Strondi

When the documents related to the US immigration were identified, we for the first time learned how Sondre himself wrote his name. Sondre’s signature on the Emigration Document from May 1888 proves that he wrote “Nordheim” himself. That signature is also the only example of his handwriting that we know of.

Other than the previously mentioned Telemark records, there is no documentation indicating how the family name was spelled while they lived in Norway. Both “Norheim” and “Nordheim” are commonly used names in Norway today – with a majority using “Norheim”.

The meaning of Sondre’s last name is “a home located in the north”.

Copyright © 2002-2012 by Anne-Gry Blikom and Eivind Molde email@sondrenorheim.com
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