navbar Home News Family Tree Time Line Reports
Revised: JUNE 30, 2015
The Tale of Runa,
Guðrún and The Pipers

By Roy Einar Christopherson

The third Tale
Gudrun and Runa with Monument_retouched
Runa 'Thorsteinson' Thordarson, born 17 Mar 1895,Washington [1]. Died 28 Dec 1986 at Seattle, WA [2]
Residence: 1900 Blaine City, Whatcom, Washington [3]. In 1910 at Point Roberts, Whatcom, Washington [4].
Daughter of Dagbjort 'Dagbjartsdottir' Þorsteinsson and Helgi Þorsteinsson.

Runa 'Thorsteinson' Thordarson married Benjamin Thordarson (Photo to the right)

On May 19th, Roy had information from Pauline DeHaan, many cousins and family, all come together painting a picture of Roy's grandmother, Guðrún Runa nee 'Thorsteinsson/Stoneson' Christopherson and her best friend Runa 'Thorsteinson' Thordarson. In America we usually spell Guðrún as Gudrun.
For without Pauline and their help, this tale might not of been told!

Imagine your great grandparents taking a train after leaving, their homeland of Iceland, forming a friendship with another couple, that lasts their whole lifetime, and more importantly continues with their children; Guðrún & Runa. Here is an example of just that, Lifetime Friends.

  Image 3460
Starring Runa Thordarson's book, 'Echoes of the Past'
On May 7th, 2012, Roy was reading each word of this book republished in 1975 by Daga's son, about Helgi and Dagbjort Thorsteinson
Update: According to Pauline, Runa herself made this booklet about 1980.
'Echoes of the Past' was posted online, which of course, Roy found after Pauline at the Point Roberts Historical Society brought it to his attention. In the book, Runa recites her mother Dagbjort's diary, she was known as Daga.
Daga and childhood friend, Helgi, whom she married crossed the Atlantic from Iceland to Victoria B.C.. Then Runa, Daga's daughter, continues the history of the family based on personal letters.

Wow, Roy thinks! Our family has many photo postcards 'photographed' by Runa herself. Probably sent to her close friend, Roy's Grandmother, Guðrún and Kjartan Christopherson, and passed down to her son, Sig, then his brother Henry, then scanned by Roy and shared on the Internet.
Pauline was kind enough to confirm this, and send a recent newsletter with Runa and her family. 'Echoes of the Past' talks about all the places Stone Stoneson family and their daughter, Guðrún lived...including Crescent (See Ytranes Homestead under Maps), which is probably when Kjartan met Gudrun. It solves the G&B mystery photo!

Here is a passage on page 9 & 10 describing how Runa's parents meet Thorstein and Ingebjorg Thorsteinsson.
"They met on train, enroute to America, then separated to be neighbors years later." Passages of his name change to Stone Stoneson, and details confirming it is our family. This would solve the riddle. How did Runa become one of Gudrun's best friends? Why would grandmother Guðrún 'Rooney/Roonie' nee Stoneson Christopherson have so many photos of a Runa (Gudrun), which was again answered by Pauline.

Runa was a photographer. Roy has one photograph he retouched of the two Runa's together shown above. While separated by water, Blaine, Washington was not far from PT. Roberts were Runa grew up." Roy's latest find state Stone had 40 acres at PT. Roberts on the west side.
The pages in 'Echoes of the Past' go on with incredible visions of the hardships of not only surviving blinding fog on a ship with the late evening silence broken every few minutes by a horn, to avoid colliding with other boats, along with one woman disappearing in Scotland from their party, it details their homestead and daily life in PT. Roberts!

We now enter about 1904 when Helgi's son is born. The part of the story about the ram is as good as when Veiga, daughter of Sigurdur, placed her baby on the ground to help put out a fire, coming back to find the baby safe.
Back to 1904 or after, Stone had lived on PT. Roberts and sold his cows...Ah Ah Ah, you'll have to read the story for yourself once Roy contacts the family. Reformatting the story with Runa's photos is now dancing in Roy's imagination. Maybe a historical task for the family Publishing Team.

Runa Thordarson
Meet Runa 'Thorsteinson' Thordarson
Courtesy of The Sig & Hank Collection

1. Groa Þorsteinsson
2. Runa 'Thorsteinson' Thordarson (self)
3. Elsa Þorsteinsson
1. Helgi Thordarson
Hilda Thordarson
Margret Thordarson
Dagbjort Thordarson, b. 14 Aug 191

NEW: Here in Runa's OWN WORDS what it was like living on Point Roberts and her Icelandic ancestors in this video
Film by Richard Eugene Clark, 1980


Runa to Gudrun Post Card of Pt.Roberts

Copyright Runa Thordarson
Courtesy of The Sig & Hank Collection

Back side
Zoom in 3x
Gathering backside
IMG_SCAN_3384_Gathering backside

Helgi and Margret

Helgi & Margret Thordarson of Pt.Roberts

Correction: That is Helgi and my mother Hilda. From Hilda's son, Runa's Grandson
Courtesy of The
Sig & Hank Christopherson Collection
Little Dagbjort Hilda (4 months old)

Little Dagbjort Hilda (4 months old)
Verify Runa is mother.

Courtesy of The Sig & Hank Collection
Other photos Roy has




IMG_SCAN_3473_PT.Roberts_04.09.1915_RunaT to GudrunChristopherson




IMG_SCAN_3881_Runa_SIZE (youngest of Runa)


All of Runa's photyos have been placed into an jAlbum SlideShow
for the family only here.

On April 14, 2013, Roy emailed Gary Simundson photo #3404 and the back with names on it. Two names stuck out, as every person was not recognized in the many photos in the collections. The names Helgi and Margaret.
Knowing Gary´s family connection [see below], Roy sent a copy to him.
Here is his response

'Jackpot! The "our children..." mentioned on the back of the photo are Runa Thodarson's. Margaret is holding the blonde baby (Amy), the little boy [sic Girl] Hilda is holding must be Ricky and Charlotte (wife of Runa's son Helgi, adult male in back row far right) is holding Dorothy who happened to have spent Easter with us this year!...'

Here is a family photo verified by Richard "Rick" Castellano, 4th son of Hilda Thordarson. "Runa Thordarson as she is my grandmother.
Her daughter Hilda Thordarson was my mother.
Great shot of the family! Runa was a prolific photographer, and we hold many of her original photos. She also made her own postcards from photos.

"Our chlidren and all eleven grand children. Home together for the first time this summer "
circa ___

Standing - back row, L to R:
Steven Castellano [14],

Mike Castellano [16],

Philip Thordarson [16],

Helgi Thordarson - See image 3370 above left

women seated: Margaret THORDARSON
, holding Amy [2 1/2];

Hilda THORDARSON Castellano, holding Rick [3];

Charlotte Thordarson, holding Dorothy [2].

Standing left: David Kragness [6],
Verna Kragness [8]

Standing right: Runa Marie Thordarson (dark
hair) [13];

Kristina Thordarson (blond hair) [12]
To view the whole family, visit Dagbjort Thorsteinson's page here

Click photo to enlarge it
Courtesy of The Sig & Hank Christopherson Collection

CIRCA 1920
There are no names on the photo. The following is from family or based on comparision of multiple photos.
Back Row L-R:
1. Elsa Thorsteinson - Runa's sister (below),
2. Runa 'Thorsteinson' Thordarson with Hilda, Roy thinks Margaret
3. Guðrún STONESON Christopherson, baby, possibly Ted,
4. *The woman next to your grandmother is Vala Christopherson, my grandmother, and she is holding my mother [Baby Evelyn Sigurveig Christopherson Ruccius]. I think that is the first photo of her. Who is your grandmother holding. Who was born in 1919 or 1920?
5. Unknown Woman and baby,
6 . Vala´sister Gudbjorg, known as Bertha THORDARSON Campbell - Miriam's email. Miriam has a copy of this photo and was given to her by her mother.
7. Possibly Dagbjort Thortesinson or Ida Pearl Badger.
8. *John S. Christopherson.

Middle Row-Children:
9. Possibly Helgi Thordarson (above) ,
10. *Lilja CHRISTOPHERSON Costello,
11. *Carrie Christopherson Humber is the  shorter of the two girls in front
of Bertha Thordarson Campbell,
12. Girl?,
13. Girl?,
14. Boy?

Sitting: 15. Possibly Lorne Christopherson,
16, *Herman Alvin "Uncle AL" Chistopherson is sitting on the ground in front of Lilja Costello.
17, Unknown, Johnie not in picture according to Miriam Westereng

Foreground Child-Left: ?

* ID from Miriam Westereng

Groa and Kolbeinn Simundson
Roy makes another discovery this evening. For a year he wonders who Groa and Kolbeinn were, and why there are photos of them, not just a few, but many photos. There were postcards and photos of their entire life, probably sent to Gudrun! It is hard for us in this day and age, to understand the past. With the Internet connecting us in less than a minute, to any point in the world, to find something like this book posted in PT. Roberts, or even Sagas in Iceland. We cannot imagine mail arriving by boat once a week. Photographs were new in the late 1800s and became less expensive to send to relatives or friends. When was the last time you sent relatives photos of the family?

Groa was the 2nd born of Helgi Þorsteinsson and Dagbjort 'Dagbjartsdottir' Þorsteinsson, known as Daga. Groa married Kolbeinn Simundson, who became Reverend. There are many unknown family or friends in the collection of photo scans by Roy, the mystery of who Groa and Kolbeinn, for this family historian has been solved. The mystery photo of the Baby in the Buggy may have an answer after all, since Roy has a few more pages of 'Echoes of the Past' to read. See image 3379 below.
While dedicated pages of this whole family may not be required on these findings, even though no relation has been found...yet,
Runa's family are Icelanders, thus, at some point, our relatives. Roy had to create this page!

Finding this treasure creates a new puzzle to solve after reading the following...
"Crystal Water Beach was part of the homestead of a family named Taylor from the eastern United States. Mr. Taylor, of English descent, established a home and orchard near the present junction of Robert Drive and Waters Road."
Is this our William Taylor?
Reviewing timelines, our Taylor was at Argyle District, Manitoba, Canada, NW 36-5-14 Taylors Hill in 1881 and passes away.

Found Daga's actual gravestone...I think.
Like playing darts, Roy just keeps throwing them (searches on the Internet) until he hits the board or get a bullseye. The birthdate seems to match.

Now before I got to this page with many Thorsteinsons.

Yeah, internet searching gets over-whelming. Without photos of them, this is the next best thing.
Just wondering if related having same name. A common name. As stated on Runa's story, Stone Stoneson met her parents on the train.
Thorsteinson is almost as common as Smith.

Rev.Kolbienn & Groa Simundson
wedding day

Courtesy of The
Sig & Hank Christopherson Collection
Rev and Mrs.

Rev. Kolbeinn and his second wife Sara (Scott) Simundsson
wedding photo 1953

Courtesy of The
Sig & Hank Christopherson Collection

Jonas Simundson
Courtesy of The
Sig & Hank Christopherson Collection


Simundson Family Xmas Card cropped
Courtesy of The
Sig & Hank Christopherson Collection
Other Photos not posted
IMG_SCAN_3602_Simondsons copy


IMG_SCAN_3894_Rev Simundson
IMG_SCAN_3897_Groa and Kolbeinn Simundson

IMG_SCAN_3898_Groa and Kolbeinn SimundsonFamily (roadside picnic)

UPDATE: FEB 27 & MAR 5, 2012
Contacted by Gary, a family member of Kolbeinn and Groa who said this photo of the nurse is NOT Runa Thorsteinson, as it is written on the photo jacket,
it is Marjory Simundson Wesen (Daughter of Kolbeinn and Groa, sister of his father Luther)

Another clarification...there is a photo thought to be Nancy Piper.
The caption says that it may be Groa's daughter. Nancy is Groa's niece, the daughter of her youngest sister Elsa Piper.

The siblings in that generation are
1. Runa
2. Groa
3. Laugi
4. Jonas
5. Elsa (the children of Helgi and Daga).
You have Runa's three children. And now Groa's six. Laugi's children are twins Robert (deceased) and Sylvia Schonberg. Jonas's daughter is Living X.
Elsa's daughter is Nancy Piper.

There is a link to a gravestone in the Pt. Roberts cemetery that is indeed my great-grandparents (and great-great grandmother, Daga's mother). We visit the cemetery regularly when we visit the Point. Groa and Kolbeinn are buried at Pacific Lutheran Cemetery in north Seattle....

Kolbeinn and Groa

Kolbeinn and Groa's children are
1. Leonard
2. Jonas K
3. Dorothy
4. Marjory
5. Luther (Gary's father)
6. Daniel
A Runa's daughter

Marjory SIMUNDSON Wesen
Nursing School
Courtesy of The Sig & Hank Collection

The Pipers
Whoa, If the child is correct which I do not recall seeing before, this may be the connection to The Pipers!
  Elsa Dorothea Thorsteinson Piper (1903 - 2005)
I have a bunch of postcards from The Pipers of this little girl to a young woman. The Christmas cards are very elaborate for the time.

Wow! Look, there is an Elsa listed as possibly the mother. Leads to here.
Image 3614
Backside of Photo to the right
Nancy Dagna Piper
Nancy Dagna Piper

Daughter of Elsa Piper
Courtesy of The Sig & Hank Christopherson Collection

Gathering at PT Roberts
Gathering at PT. Roberts
According to this site

Helgi, Runa´s son is on left with ball.
Courtesy of The
Sig & Hank Christopherson Collection


Hi Roy,
I visited your webpage and it is very interesting.  You have done a lot of good research.  Dagbjort's diary has been made into a small booklet by her daughter (now deceased) Runa, (the photographer) and is in the Point Roberts library called "Echoes Of The Past".  Runa wrote it in the 1980's, I believe.

Pauline is in contact with Runa's nieces and Paul and Dorothea in Point Roberts, WA.

Roy ends this Tale of Runa, Gudrun and The Pipers with photos of one child. Possibly the baby above, Nancy. Atleast until he receives a group photo of the family .
Runa's story and this tale were so compelling he wrote this out throughout one evening into the following day.

The PipersIMG_SCAN_3371
Seasons Greetings The Pipers

Courtesy of The
Sig & Hank Christopherson Collection
The Pipers

Gary says ''this is Elsa’s daughter,
not Groa’s´´

Courtesy of The
Sig & Hank ChristophersonCollection

Nancy Dagna Piper
Courtesy of The
Sig & Hank Christopherson Collection

Source: Crystal Water Beach - History of Point Roberts - Read 'Echoes of the Past' at this website
Article By Dermott McInnes

Other photos Roy may have of Runa's
long shot down the top of the dyke.



IMG_SCAN_3493, Public School


IMG_SCAN_3495_PC_LogCabin, Cabin and mud with shingle roof,partial view of two walls, door and roof. Logs extend
past corners of walls. Pointed end-2 angle cuts.
Text: DESERTED...text faded into the overgrown ferns
in front of cabin. BACK: Ranka Johnson to Rooney (Roy's G.M.), Mar 3, 1914. ...The Seattle Icelanders are going to have a play here Tues night. "El?neyer's Anrikikj...last letter might be an R

We have this picture in the archives.I assume it a log cabin that was already here when the Icelandic settlers arrived.
The Clark book mentions an article about Henry Roeder, claimed to be
"one of the two first white settlers in Whatcom County" who fished at
Point Roberts in 1854.
He wasn't the only one who came for the fishing and we have no idea who built the cabin, nor where it was located. We consider ourselves
lucky that Runa took so many pictures as a young girl and that we have the negatives in the archives.,
MG_SCAN_3497. Photo of light bldg. entrance,
back in Icelandic.

9. IMG_SCAN_3496_PC_3 House, Three houses
IMG_SCAN_3881_PC_RunaThordarson_Closeup copy, Back:... Remember me your friend

IMG_SCAN_3863_Their-Ship_Ch_UnknownBoy100_Helgi Thordarson,
Runas son_simmundsson


IMG_SCAN_3920_Xmas_Runa and Ben

Probably by another Photographer
waves coming onto the beach
possibly the dyke broke. Marked 5. 1913-1914
PtRoberts, G&B CO.
New Slideshow Album available to Daga's family only
Log-In Required


Roy believes this to be at the PT. Roberts Cannery.
Trees similar to that area. Buildings and piers
look same in the full Cannery photo

Courtesy of The Sig & Hank Collection
Other Tales by Roy
Tale of Two Photos
Tale of Wrangler Kay

"Ben and Runa owned Ben's Store, the one and only store on Point Roberts to be open all year long. Runa used postcards such as this for their Christmas greetings to friends and customers. The store was one of those good old fashioned "we have everything" type of stores. One resident remembers being able to do all her Christmas shopping right there with fancy boxes of chocolate, perfumes and all sorts of stuff. If you couldn't find it at Ben's, you had to travel to Bellingham an hour plus each way in those days, or into Canada to Ladner, B.C. or up to Vancouver B.C.

She (Runa) did a lot of photography and we have her to thank for a lot of historical images of Point Roberts in earlier years. She probably is the photographer that did most of your postcards as she would write "Point Roberts" on the postcard and had them printed on card stock.

Research Groa, she married Kolbein Simundsson who became a Lutheran Minister in Seattle, perhaps in the Ballard area.
I should mention that their youngest son, Dan Simundson, became Dean of the Lutheran Theological College in Minnesota."
Point Roberts Historical Society, P. O. Box780, Point Roberts, WA 98281

Blaine Icelanders have a website you could contact for information.  The contact person is Rob Olason.

Grand daughter of Helgi and Daga
Roy found Sylvia Schonberg first quite awhile ago. She is the grand daughter of Helgi and Daga, daughter of Laugi, and still resides at PT. Roberts. We have never been in contact.
Sylvia Schonberg is a Point Roberts native whose grandparents, Helgi and Dagbjort Thorsteinson, were among the founding members of Trinity’s congregation. She began playing the organ at Trinity at thirteen years of age and has being playing since then at churches wherever she has been.
After graduating with a Bachelor of Science Degree at Washington State University , she raised a family of six children before beginning her teaching career.
Later she received a Master’s Degree in School Counseling from Western Washington .
Sylvia returned to Point Roberts in 1987 and has been since then Trinity’s organist and pianist and member of the Worship and Music Committee.

Here is Helgi´s lineage back in time. Courtesy of the great Helgi Helgason, who Roy is greatly appreciative of his work in genealogy in Iceland.

What is the meaning of GUDRUN
In Icelandic, it is spelled this way, and I suppose it should be posted exactly as thus - Guðrún
GENDER: Feminine
USAGE: Norse Mythology, Scandinavian, German
In 2004, it was ranked first before Anna and Sigríður. According to Icelandic custom, people are generally referred to by first and middle names and patronyms are used if disambiguation is required. In Old Norse, Goðrún was an alternative version. The Faroese equivalent is Guðrun and the mainland Scandinavian version is Gudrun.
PRONOUNCED: Goo-Da-Roon. The d is more like TH
Meaning & History From the Old Norse name Guðrún meaning "god's secret lore", derived from the elements guð "god" and rún "secret lore". In Norse legend Gudrun was the wife of Sigurd. After his death she married Atli, but when he murdered her brothers, she killed her sons by him, fed him their hearts, and then slew him.
Many girls in Iceland are named Runa, and many of them are called Runa if their first names are actually Guðrún.

Disclaimer: Roy retouched the Intro photo of Guðrún & Runa. He believed if Runa had the same tools, she would do the same. Only possible due to having other photos of both of them, which were almost exact in pose, age and features, which Roy used Photoshop Dodge & Burn tools. This Tale has not been approved by Runa's family. Any corrections are welcomed.

[1, 2, 3, 4], Public Member Trees (Provo, UT, USA, Operations, Inc., 2006),, Database online. Record for Runa Thorsteinson.

Steven Castellano