Friday, August 15, 2014
Randi was born on 15 August 1839 at Fale,Sunndal, Møre-Romsdal, Norway. She was the daughter of Knud Andersen Gravem and Marit Jorgensdatter Toske. She was christened on September 8th of the same year at Sunndal. Her parents were not married. She was her father's third illegitimate child and her mother's second with the same father. A record of their later marriage has not been found.
Møre-Romsdal is a county in the northernmost part of Western Norway that borders Oppland and other counties. Sunndal is the largest community in Møre-Romsdal, stretching from the fjord into the Dovre Mountains. It is an area of dramatic beauty as shown by this photo of Vinnufossen. Interestingly, Sunndal's police department has a sister-city in the USA, which is Issaquah, Washington!
On 21 May 1865, Randi married Halvor Thorsen Ottem at Sunndal. Halvor did not own the Ottem farm himself, but lived at a place called Ottem-lokken, which belonged to Ottem, and is sometimes called Aakerlokken. He was a "husmand" or a cottager. All of their children were born at the Ottem farm. They raised a large family of twelve, several of whom immigrated to America. When they arrived, this family used the farm name of Ottem as their surname. It may be that they hoped to improve their situation by coming to America.
Sometime before 1900, Halvor died. On the 1900 census Randi was a widow and her son, Martinus was living at home with her in Sunndal. He was a tailor. Another son, Lars was also living at home. So while we do not have death dates for Halvor or Randi, we know that he died before 1900 and she died after that time.