Ester Sundvik was born in Ödkarby on the Åland Islands, which are located halfway between Sweden and Finland. The islands belong to Finland, but the people that live on them speak Swedish. Ester's parents were Julia Adarina Hinder and Gustav Fristedt. Gustav was a baker and met Julia in a bakery. When Ester was three months old, Gustav emigrated to the United States and was never heard of again. Julia remained on their small farm in Ödkarby, where Ester was raised along with her two older sisters Wilhemina and Ingrid. Julia sold calves, milk, and butter and also worked as a midwife and kindergarten teacher. Ester attended school for six years but decided not to proceed further because she wanted domestic training instead. Ester was also confirmed, after which she went to work in Stockholm for one year. In Stockholm, Ester became homesick and returned home to help her mother before obtaining a job for a local minister. In 1922, Ester's friend Edith convinced Ester to emigrate to America with her despite opposition from her mother and the minister. It took the girls eleven days to get from Finland to New York, and upon their arrival in New York, they found employment with a Swedish woman. The Swedish woman did not prove to be very good boss, however, discouraging the girls from learning English and failing to feed them well. After nine or ten months, Ester and Edith left to learn English. Ester eventually found a cooking job for a couple in Connecticut. After working in Connecticut, Ester went to Boston working for a family with four children. She stayed there for three years. Ester had saved money to visit her mother in Finland. After visiting her mother, Ester returned to New York where she met her husband. Her daughter was born in New York. Ester's husband got a job with the Pentagon in Washington D.C. and in 1943, he sent her tickets for Vancouver, Washington. In October 1943, Ester started a nursery for the Shipyard workers' children. In Vancouver, her home was torn down to make way for a highway. Ester moved to Illinois when they did this but returned to Vancouver later.
Full Name: Ester Irene Sundvik. Maiden Name: Ester Irene Fristedt. Father: Gustav Fristedt. Mother: Julia Adarina Hinder. Brothers and Sisters: Wilhemina Fristedt, Ingrid Fristedt. Spouse: (?) Sundvik. Children: One daughter.
From the guide to the Ester Irene Sundvik Oral History Interview, 1981, (Robert A.L. Mortvedt Library Scandinavian Immigrant Experience Collection Archives and Special Collections Department)