Friday, December 26, 2008

Steinþór Guðbjartsson

Eftir Steinþór Guðbjartsson
Ýtarlegar upplýsingar um Utah-farana í nýrri bók
NÆR 400 Íslendingar fluttu til Utah á árunum 1854 til 1914 og nú hefur David Alan Ashby gefið út nýja bók, Icelanders Gather to Utah 1854-1914, með ýtarlegum upplýsingum um þessa vesturfara og fjölskyldur þeirra.
David Ashby segir að tilgangurinn með útgáfu bókarinnar sé að leggja fólki í Utah af íslenskum ættum lið í því að tengjast uppruna sínum. Reyndar er unnið mjög öflugt starf á því sviði á vegum Íslenska félagsins í Utah (IAU), sem var stofnað 1897, og halda afkomendur íslensku Utah-faranna upprunanum hátt á lofti.
Þó nokkuð hefur verið skrifað um flutningana til Utah. David Ashby hefur með þessari bók endurbætt bókina Icelanders of Utah eftir LaNora Allred. Hann byggir líka á safni móður sinnar, Phyllis Higginson Ashby, sem var sagnfræðingur IAU um árabil. Við gerð bókarinnar naut hann aðstoðar Bliss Koyle Anderson, ættfræðings í Spanish Fork og fór í smiðju Hálfdáns Helgasonar sem heldur úti vef um íslenska vesturfara.
Bókin er rúmlega 150 síður í A4 stærð. Höfundur hennar gaf IAU upplagið og það sér um söluna. Eintakið kostar 18 dollara og flutningskostnaður til Íslands er 12 dollarar en pantanir má senda á eftirfarandi heimilisfang:

Icelandic Association of Utah
P.O. Box 874,
Spanish Fork, Utah 84660 USA

Hálfdan Helgason

Just recently I received a copy of a book called Icelanders Gather to Utah 1854-1914.A great work of David Alan Ashby in Orem, Utah. For a long time La Nora Allred's book The Icelanders of Utah has been almost the only source of information regarding the Icelandic Mormons who went to Utah, but unfortunately in many ways both very brief and very incomplete and with far too many errors. Now David has dug deep for information and the result is a very comprehensive and accurate book which in the future will serve as a reliable start point for those descendants of the Icelandic Mormons in Utah who search for their roots as well as for Icelandic genealogists -and of course others - searching for the faith of those who left. Congratulations David!

Hálfdan Helgason - Reykjavík - Ísland

The book is available from
Icelandic Association of Utah Inc.
P.O.Box 874
Spanish Fork, Utah 84660.
For information write to:

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Gerald Blaine Ashby

Gerald Blaine Ashby, son of Gerald & Phyllis Higginson Ashby, died December 5, 2008. Born July 25, 1938 in Spanish Fork, Utah. Graduated from S F High School, Seminary, & BYU. Married Carol Proctor in Manti Temple. They have two children, Steven, & Karen; a foster daughter, Irma Begay Tsosie; son Ernie Joe, deceased; five grandchildren, Alison, Stephanie, Shelly, Tyler, Sheri, four foster grandchildren, one foster great grandchild.

He treasured his membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; served a mission to Denmark; enjoyed many callings and served in several Bishoprics, loving the people he worked with and those he served. He & Carol served a Family History Mission. He was a member of Kiwanis and served on the Icelandic Association Board. He retired from Geneva. Survived by family & siblings, David (Bonnie); Marilyn; Ann (Dennis) Gull; Garth (Kay); aunts, Karla (Dean) Holm; Gloria (LaMar) Ashby; LaVern (Ralph) Higginson.

Viewing will be held at Walker Mortuary, 187 South Main, December 12, 2008 from 6-8 p.m and one hour before funeral at church. Funeral will be December 13, 2008 11:00 a.m. at the church, 1661 S 1400 E, Spanish Fork. Burial in Spanish Fork Cemetery.

Thank you to medical providers, family, friends, and ward members.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Einar Magnússon

Einar Magnusson was born 7 February 1869 at Steinholt, Reykjavik, Gullbringu. His parents are Magnus Einarsson, born in 1842, died 20 July 1927; and Sigridur Gudmundsdottir, born 18 August 1831 in Gardar a Alftanes, Gullbringu, died 1885. Einar was five years old when his mother died. He then went to foster care with his Aunt Johanna Einarsdottir, the widow of Arni Thorsteinsson. He lived with Johanna until after confirmation, when he moved back to live with his father Magnus until his father immigrated to Utah in 1886.

Einar graduated from Seaman’s school in 1896. He was employed as ship’s captain for the next three years. He emigrated to Spanish Fork, Utah in 1899. He married Margret Sigurdardottir 10 September 1900. Margret was born 6 September 1875. Her parents are Sigurdur Asmundsson, born 25 July 1850, died 11 December 1913; and Thora Gudmundsdottir, born 15 May 1838, died 2 December 1921.

In 1902 Einar and Margret moved to Blaine, Washington and they were there for thirteen years. They then moved to Bellingham, Washington. Einar labored at both the cannery and sawmill. He was a sharp and inquisitive, widely read and he had a fine voice.

Einar and Margret had nine children: Gudmunda Jana, Kristinn, Sigridur Johanna, Einar, Thora, Asborg, Margret, Soley and Laufey. Einar went by Einar M. Einarsson in America. He is number 278 in Icelanders of Utah.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Spanish Fork, Utah

Spanish Fork, Utah, the first permanent Icelandic settlement in North America
The Franciscan Friars named Silvestre Valez de Escalante and Francisco Atanasio de Dominguez were some of the first explorers to pass through the Spanish Fork area. The priests were in quest of a direct route from Santa Fe, New Mexico, to Monterey, California. After traveling down Spanish Fork Canyon they camped somewhere near the present day city limits on September 23, 1776.
Many years later the name "Spanish Fork" appeared on John C. Fremont's map of the area published in 1845. This was two years before the Mormons settled in Utah, and five years before there were any settlers in Palmyra. Spanish Fork originally began as an outgrowth of Palmyra, but as the community developed, Palmyra diminished and became the northwest suburb of Spanish Fork. In the early days, both settlements existed with one fort, Fort St. Luke.
In all likelihood, the name "Spanish Fork" was derived from the fact that the route of the Taos trappers during the early part of the 1800's followed the canyon and the river. The indigenous population of Spanish Fork was composed of members of the Ute Indian tribe. They had no permanent villages due to their nomadic nature. Because these Indians ate so many fish, they were also known as the "water Indians".
In the winter of 1850-51 a few families settled along the Spanish Fork River. By the end of 1852 the population along the river had grown to over 100 families. In 1854 a fort was built in Spanish Fork to meet the needs of existing settlers. On 17 January 1855 Spanish Fork was incorporated as a city. In September of that year, the first Icelandic immigrants; Samuel Bjarnason, Margrét Gísladóttir, and Helga Jónsdóttir arrived in Utah, they were directed by Brigham Young to the city of Spanish Fork. From these first Icelandic pioneers nearly four hundred Icelanders emigrated to Utah by 1914, most settling in Spanish Fork.
By 1860, the population had grown to 1,069. Spanish Fork inhabitants were of Irish, English, Scottish, Welsh, Danish and Icelandic descent. In ten years the population had reached 1,450. The first commercial industry was a saw mill which began operation in 1858. One year later the first flour mill opened its doors for business. The business group known as the Spanish Fork Mercantile was opened on February 11, 1883; the association was similar in function to the modern day Chamber of Commerce.
Spanish Fork is part of the county of Utah in the state of Utah. Utah County is located 44 miles south of Salt Lake City, Utah. The name "Utah" comes from the Native American "Ute" tribe and means 'people of the mountains'. Utah County: Apparently anglicized form the word Yuta, which is what the Spanish Explores called the Ute Indians. It is called Utah Valley because mountains frame the county on both sides. Utah is the 2nd largest county, in terms of population, in the state.
Average Elevation of Utah County is between 4300-4700 feet above sea level. The highest points in Utah County are Mount Nebo, south of Spanish Fork at 11,928 feet and Mount Timpanogos at 11,750 feet to the north. On the eastern side of Spanish Fork is one of the most beautiful mountains of the Wasatch Mountains range, the official maps call it Mount Flonette, but earlier inhabitants of the area called it Sierra Bonita. Sierra Bonita means beautiful mountain. Sierra Bonita is also the name for this mountain found in the novel Paradise Reclaimed by Halldor Laxness.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Helen Olson

Helen Elizabeth Nelson Olson, 81, of Spanish Fork died Friday, November 21, 2008 at her home. She was born on November 2, 1927 in Spring Canyon, Carbon County, Utah, the daughter of Oliver Willard and Ferrel Blackett Nelson.

Mom grew up in Springville and Spanish Fork, spending many summers on "The Ranch" at Wanrhodes up Diamond Fork Canyon. Helen graduated from Spanish Fork High School. Her brother Leon, was killed in the Bataan Death during WWII. In 1943, when she was 16, her father died in a mining accident after which she helped raise her two younger siblings.

She married Gilbert Hjlmar Olson on February 8, 1947 in Ely, Nevada. She was the mother of five children. One, Lois Ann, passed away as a young child.

Helen was a leader in the community. She was president of many organizations including The Rotary Club, The Chamber of Commerce, and the DUP. She was active in the LDS church, holding many positions, especially enjoying her work with the Young Women Certification program.

She was a great cook, loved the garden and flowers, spending time with her family at the cabin, and family reunions.Helen worked at many jobs over the years, including the Del Monte Cannery, Olson's Greenhouse; and the Petal Pantry. Along with her daughter Karen, she opened and operated Artistic Floral for 16 years.

Survivors include one son, Leon (Susan) Olson; and three daughters, June (Gary) Dutton; Kaye (Mark) Bailey; and Karen Olson; 10 grandchildren; and 17 great grandchildren. She is also survived by a brother, Wendall (Arlene) Nelson; and one sister, Marie (John) Waters. She was preceded in death by her husband, Gilbert; and her daughter, Lois Ann; a sister, Louise (Fred) Atwood (Bud) Hales; two brothers, Leon Willard Nelson; and William James (Jean) Nelson.

Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, November 26, 2008 at 1:00 p.m. at the Old 1st and 12th Ward Chapel, 310 East Center Street, Spanish Fork. Friends may call at Walker Mortuary, 187 S. Main Street, Spanish Fork on Tuesday evening, November 25, 2008 from 6:00-8:00 p.m. or Wednesday morning at the church from 11:45 a.m. until 12:45 p.m. prior to services. Burial will be in the Spanish Fork City Cemetery.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Boyer 'Nick' Austin Carter

Boyer 'Nick' Austin Carter 1916 ~ 2008 LAYTON - Boyer 'Nick' Austin Carter, 92, passed away Friday, November 7, 2008 at the Dee-McKay Hospital, in Ogden, Utah. Nick was born March 25, 1916 in Spanish Fork, Utah to Austin and Kate B. Carter. He married Dorothy Ilene Don on April 24, 1937 in Coalville, Utah. Nick attended the University of Utah; he later worked for the U.S. Government Civil Service as Chief of Base Plans, in Planning and Budget. He served in the Army during World War II. Nick and Dorothy raised their family in Kaysville where Nick was active in the Kaysville civic organizations. Nick was a member and President of the Kaysville Civic Association, member of the Jaycees, and a Little League coach. He served 22 plus years on the Board of Directors of Federal Employees Credit Union (America First), seven of those years as President. Nick enjoyed hunting, fishing, camping, and golf. He had summer homes in Palisades and Victor, Idaho; winter homes in Arizona and St. George. He spent the last ten months at Apple Village in Layton. Nick is survived by his wife, Dorothy; son J. Scott Carter (Janis); Layton; daughter-in-law Gay Carter, Kaysville; eight grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, son Don A. Carter, daughter Sharon Lee and a brother Paul B. Carter and sister Kathryn (Kaye) Smith. Funeral services will be held Wednesday, November 12, 2008 at 11 a.m. at the Lindquist's Layton Mortuary, 1867 N. Fairfield Road. Friends and family may call Tuesday from 6 to 8 p.m. and Wednesday from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Interment, Kaysville City Cemetery

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Sveinn Þórðarson - November 2008

Sveinn Thordarson was born February 18, 1827 to the Rev. Thordar Brynjolfsson (1763-1840) and Solveig Sveinnsdottir (1797-1872) in Vestur Skaftafell, Iceland. Born into a strong Lutheran family, he ventured to Denmark to study barrel making sometime after his father died when he was 13. He later returned to Iceland where he applied his craft for the fishing industry.

On October 28, 1854, he married Helga Arnadottir (1833-1907), daughter of Gudny Erasmusdottir (1794-1888) who was one of the first and oldest immigrants from Iceland to Utah in 1857. Sveinn and Helga had six children while in Iceland, three of whom lived to adulthood. Sveinn, Helga, and their youngest child John Julius (1872-1951) came to Utah in 1878 while their daughters Solveig Thordis Jorunn (1858-1920) and Johanna Gudny Helga (1861-1927) came later. The family settled in Spanish Fork where the 1880 census shows Sveinn as a laborer living outside the city limits. In 1884, Sveinn also married Helga’s sister Gudney (1834-1915) as his plural wife after Gudney’s husband had died in 1879. After Helga and Gudney’s mother died in Spanish Fork at the age of 94, Sveinn and Helga moved to Cleveland, Emery County, Utah in 1890 where he (and eventually two of his children’s families) settled as a farmer. Sveinn died in 1901 after a back injury, and this photo with his wife Helga was likely taken shortly before his death.

By David Johnson - Seattle Washington

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Book - Icelanders Gather to Utah 1854-1914

Icelanders Gather to Utah 1854-1914
from Iceland to Spanish Fork, Utah
by David Alan Ashby
Icelandic converts to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were encouraged to gather to Utah as were other converts from the other countries in Europe, the United States, Canada, and elsewhere. Life in Iceland at this time was very difficult: there was wide spread poverty due to poor economic conditions, the continued struggle for independence from Denmark, volcanic eruptions that greatly damaged the land in part of the country, and unusually cold winters. The majority of Icelanders that emigrated to Utah did so for reasons different from the Icelanders that emigrated to other places in North America. The Utah Icelanders emigrated so they could be apart of their new found faith.
The Icelanders that immigrated to many parts of North America dreamed of all Icelandic communities, where Icelandic was the language of choice and the majority of the immigrants were Icelanders. The Icelanders that came to Utah did so for religious purpose. They did find a need to have their own congregation, where Icelandic was the language used for instruction. This was only necessary until they could learn English and attend Church with other English speaking emigrants from Wales, England and Denmark.
The Icelanders that gathered to Utah were for the most part members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, although they were Icelanders they were part of a larger group of immigrants that had the same purpose for immigrating to Utah, to worship together as Mormons. They soon found themselves involved not only in there religion but in finding away to improve their new community and their own state of affairs.
Although they did not intend to establish an Icelandic community in Utah, the Icelandic emigrants to Utah, like Icelandic emigrants in other places in North America worked to retain their identity as Icelanders. The Utah Icelanders created the Icelandic Association of Utah in 1897, an association that provides a time to gather annually and celebrate their Icelandic heritage. The association continues to provide the instrument for descendants of the Icelandic immigrants to Utah to maintain a cultural sense of Iceland. Our ancestors left us a legacy: belonging to the Icelandic Association of Utah means belonging to something that has a history of over one hundred years and has accomplished a few great things.
Each emigrant has his or her own story demonstrating faith in their new adventure, their beliefs, their character, their will power and the independence of these pioneers. They were fishermen and farmers in Iceland. On coming to America, many did not having the means to survive in this foreign land. They spoke a language unfamiliar to those in the community where they intended to build their future home. Their clothing was not suitable for the climate in Utah. There was farming in Utah, but it was much different than in Iceland. There was no fishing industry in Utah. This left these early pioneers to Utah needing to learn a new language, finding a new occupation and finding a place for their families.
It is remarkable that 150 years after the first Icelanders arrived in Utah, and there remains a strong cultural sense of Iceland among the descendants of the Icelandic pioneers. We who have descended from great and faithful forebears, have the right to say “I’m proud of my Icelandic heritage”. We too have a need to continue to honor our Icelandic ancestors and the land of our forebears, as we have been shown to do by those that have gone before. The Icelandic emigrants to Utah and other places in North America have left us a rich heritage that we all can be proud of.
The significance of our connection to a place is affected by two things: our heritage from that place, and our cultural awareness of that place. A basic need common to humanity is a sense of a connection to a place or country. Our Icelandic heritage furnishes that connection to Iceland, and it runs as deep as the connection to Zion was for the Icelandic emigrants to Utah. Iceland being a small place, our connection is perhaps more pronounced, and also easier for people to find their identity and a role that they are satisfied with.
Through genealogy, descendants of the immigrants from Icelanders can make that connection of place, Iceland. It is not difficult to find Icelanders in the homeland whom we are related to. My experience has given me several acquaintances who live in Iceland and who have became my dearest friends. Once we make that connection we have a different sense of place.
This is just a little from the book. The majority of the book is biographical sketches of the nearly 400 emigrants that came from Iceland to Utah.
The book is now available from the Icelandic Association of Utah.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Leif Eiriksson Day

Leif Eiriksson Day

In the United States of America, October 9th is Leif Eiriksson Day. This day honors Leif, who brought the first European adventures to North America. In 1964, Congress authorized and requested the President to create the observance through an annual proclamation. Lyndon B. Johnson and each President since have done so. Presidents have used the proclamation to praise the contributions of Americans of Nordic descent generally and the spirit of discovery. Some states also officially commemorate Leif Eiriksson Day.

October 9th is not associated with any particular event in Leif Erikson's life. The date was chosen because the ship Restauration coming from Stavanger, Norway, arrived in New York Harbor on October 9, 1825 at the start of the first organized immigration from Norway to the United States.

Leifur Eiriksson was born between 975 and 980 on the west coast of Iceland, the son of Erik the Red, a Norse explorer and outlaw. Leif immigrated to Greenland as young boy, in 985, with his father. The Complete Sagas of Icelanders begins with the two sagas known as the Vinland Sagas, which tell of the voyages first led by Leif Eiriksson to a land he called Vinland (‘Wineland’). Leif, nicknamed 'Leif the'Lucky' after rescuing shipwrecked seamen on his way back from Vinland.

While in Norway Leif Ericson converted to Christianity, like many Norse of that time, at the request or command of the King of Norway, Olaf I. When he returned to Greenland, he bought a boat and set out to explore Vinland, which likely was Newfoundland, Canada.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Einar Jónsson - October 2008

Einar Jonsson was born 16 August 1839 at Samstadir, Breidabolsstadir i Fljotshlid, Rangarvalla, the son of Jon Halldorsson and Gudrun Jonsdottir. Jon Halldorsson was born at Samstadir, Rangarvalla, in 1813; his wife, Gudrun, was born at the same place in 1817.

Einar married Gudrun Jonsdottir 5 November 1871. There were nine children born from this marriage: Gudrun Helga (24 July 1872), Johanna (2 July 1874), Gudrun (5 October 1875), Agustina (1 August 1878). These four children were born in Vestmannaeyjar: Nicholas Wisconsin, born in July 1880, on board the S.S. Wisconsin on the way to America, Alice Theodora (5 November 1882), Ephraim Alexander (7 January 1885), Sarah (16 November 1886) and Elizabeth 27 October 1888, the last four being born in Spanish Fork, Utah.

Einar joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Iceland. He was baptized by Magnus Bjarnason 25 May 1874 and confirmed the next day by Loftur Jonsson. Einar and his family immigrated to Spanish Fork, Utah in 1880. While living in Spanish Fork, he married 17-year-old Ingveldur Arnadottir, whom he took as a plural wife. They were married 5 August 1885 in the Logan, Utah Temple. One child was born to this union: Alexander, 25 August 1886 in Spanish Fork.

In the spring of 1889, Elder Einar Jonsson of Spanish Fork was called to serve a mission to Iceland. He did missionary work for some time after his arrival, but later got into trouble, which caused him to discontinue his missionary labors. While in Iceland, Einar entered into another polygamous relationship with Margret Gudmundsdottir; they were married March 1889 on the Westman Islands. There were three children born to them: Gudrun Alexandra, Martel and Oscar Jon, all born in Vestmannaeyjar. Einar met with an accident on the Westman Island that almost instantly caused his death. An oil tank fell on him. Einar died 25 May 1900 and is buried in Vestmannaeyjar. He is number 208 in Icelanders of Utah.

Monday, September 1, 2008

JÓN JÓNASSON - September 2008

Jon Jonasson was born 24 September 1857 at Rimakot, Kross, Rangarvalla, the son of Jonas Jonsson, born 1 February 1823, died 27 October 1885; and Gudrun Thorkelsdottir, born 4 August 1825, died 23 February 1899. Jon’s father Jonas Jonsson was the director of the poor-law district of Onundastadir, Kross, Rangarvalla. Jon joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and was baptized by Elder Einar Eiriksson 18 June 1886. Jon immigrated to Spanish Fork, Utah later that month.
Jon married Gudny Sigurdardottir, born 22 November 1860; her parents are Sigurdur Sigurdsson, born 6 August 1833, died 29 October 1885; and Sigridur Petursdottir, born 30 August 1830 at Holmahjaleigu, Kross, Rangarvalla, died 26 December 1903 at Olafshus, Vestmannaeyjar. They were married 29 November 1886 in Spanish Fork, Utah. Their first home was a dugout or a hole in the ground covered with a thatched roof. Jon followed the sheep-shearing business, where he earned enough to meet his expenses. He then purchased a farm in the river-bottoms at the mouth of Spanish Fork Canyon; he farmed there for a few years and then sold the land and bought a farm in Palmyra, Utah.
Through the years Jon worked not only as a farmer but also as a carpenter. He was known as a man that everyone could trust. He was a devout member of his church and attended his meetings faithfully. He had an excellent voice and spent many evenings singing from his hymn book. He also sang songs from his childhood in his native tongue.
Jon and Gudny had nine children: John Karl, Ellen Olive, Samuel, Sara Ann Margret, Eystein, Joseph Franklin, Daniel, Sigurosa and Gudrun Jane. All the children died while still young, John Karl lived the longest, he was fifty when he died.
Jon, an industrious man worked continually until a few weeks before his death. While working on a new home he fell, seriously injuring his back, which resulted in his death, 17 October 1929. In Utah Jon went by John C. Johnson, he is number 182 in Icelanders of Utah.
Some of the descendants of John C. Johnson are: past presidents of the Icelandic Association of Utah, John K Johnson and Michael Hutchings; Pamela Helsten; and Carol Johnson. If you are a descendant of John C. let me know and I will add you to the list.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Robert A. Hutchings

Robert A. Hutchings, of Spanish Fork, died August 15, 2008, in Payson, Utah, at the age of 81. He was born May 27, 1927, in Springville, Utah to Shepherd Birgus and Ellen Olive Johnson Hutchings. He married Mary Lou Milner on February 9, 1945 in Spanish Fork, Utah. They were sealed in the Salt Lake Temple on May 22, 1945.
His early education was in Spanish Fork, Salem, and Payson, graduating from Payson High School where he played football, basketball, and baseball. He joined the Navy June 1, 1945 and served at the 12th Naval District Headquarters in San Francisco during WWII. He later served on the USS Valley Forge during the Korean Conflict. After the war, Bob and Mary made their home in Spanish Fork.
Bob took a course in Commercial Art at the Trade Tech in Provo, where he learned the skill of sign painting. For years, he painted many of the business signs in Central Utah. He worked at Geneva and for the Bureau of Reclamation. He worked 27 years for the United State Postal Service as a letter carrier in Spanish Fork.
Bob was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints where he had served as a scoutmaster and Elder's Quorum President.
He like to build and always had a project adding on a room, building a garage, or building a cabin or "fort" up the canyon. He enjoyed fishing and hunting. He owned and restored antique cars and for years was actively involved in the Utah Valley Old Car Club, serving for a time as its president.
Bob was a member of the American Legion and for many years served as Adjutant. He was instrumental in the design and construction of the Veterans Memorial Monument at the Spanish Fork City Cemetery. He loved Spanish Fork and was honored to be chosen along with his wife as Grand Marshall of the Fiesta Days Parade and as Spanish Fork's Citizen of the Year.
He was proud of his Icelandic and pioneer heritage.
He is survived by his wife, Mary Lou; two sons, Gary Robert (Ethel), of Spanish Fork; and Michael A. (Christine), of Payson; seven grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren; one brother, Carl; and one sister, Barbara. He was preceded in death by his parents; three brothers, Verl, Cliff, and Jack; two sisters, Bertie, and Velma; and one grandson, Karl.
Funeral services will be held Saturday, August 23, 2008 at 11:00 a.m. at the 19th Ward Chapel, 590 North Main, Spanish Fork. Viewings will be held on Friday, August 22nd from 6:00-8:00 p.m at Walker Mortuary, 187 South Main, Spanish Fork and on Saturday one hour prior to services at the church. Military rites will be provided by American Legion Post 68. Interment will be in the Spanish Fork City Cemetery.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Thora Leifson Shaw

Thora Arvella Leifson Shaw passed quietly from this earthly life on August 11, 2008 at the age of 73. Thora was born February 12, 1935 to Leo and Thursa Arvella Davis Leifson in Spanish Fork, Utah. She married James (Jerry) Shaw on September 7, 1957 and their marriage was later solemnized in the Manti Utah Temple on January 22, 1964.
Thora graduated from Spanish Fork High School where she was always considered a top student. She attended Brigham Young University for a short time but chose not to finish her own schooling to take care of her growing family. Later she built a career in the insurance industry as an agent/broker. She achieved the status of Professional Secretary and served as president of her local chapter of Professional Secretaries International and later as Regional President. She was a life-long learner and took joy in seeing her children and grandchildren find success in their own studies.
She was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and served as a teacher in Primary, Young Women's, and Relief Society, as well as serving as Historian in the Spanish Fork 15th Ward. She especially loved the young women and they loved her. These special young ladies remained her friends throughout her life.
Thora loved and supported the arts all of her life. She made sure that her children and grandchildren had opportunities to attend plays, musicals, and other art exhibits. Many fond memories involve a night or afternoon at the theater in Salt Lake City or Tuacahn in St. George.
The welfare of the City of Spanish Fork and its citizens was always on her mind. She was the first female member of the City Council in the history of Spanish Fork and served 14 years in that position as well as five years on the City Library Committee and five years on the Planning and Zoning Commission.
She took great pride in her Icelandic heritage and served as Chairperson of the Icelandic Sesquicentennial Celebration of the immigration of Icelanders to Spanish Fork. She was an active member of the Icelandic Association of Utah and was recently honored as an Outstanding Icelander.
She will be sadly missed by the ladies of her woman's club who were all 1952 graduates of SF High and have met together monthly for almost 40 years.
She was preceded in death by her mother and father and two brothers. She is survived by her eternal companion, Jerry; and her three children, Jay (Jeralyn) of Reno, NV; Tanya (Laird) Campbell of Cedar City, UT; and Kelly (Corie) of Selah, WA. Her nine grandchildren and three great grandchildren were the special stars of her life. There was nothing she wouldn't do for them if it was in her power. She is also survived by her two sisters, Rayona (Harry) Humphry; and Mildred Longo.
Funeral services will be held on Saturday, August 16, 2008 at 11:00 a.m. at the Spanish Fork Stake Center, 1006 East 200 South, Spanish Fork, Utah. Family and friends may call on Friday evening, August 15, 2008 from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at Walker Mortuary, 187 South Main Street, Spanish Fork, or on Saturday morning at the church from 9:45-10:45 a.m. prior to funeral services. Interment will be in the Spanish Fork City Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers please donate a book to the Spanish Fork City Library.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

David Ashby

In 1990, being prompted by my mother, I became a member of the board of directors of the Icelandic Association of Utah. Without much excitement I agreed to serve on the board. While serving they asked me to be over publicity. This assignment necessitated research into the history of the Icelandic Association and, as a result, to learn more about Iceland. While serving in this capacity I found a love for my Icelandic Heritage.

I have served in various capacities while on the board of directors, president twice 1994-1995 and 1999-2000, photographer, director of publicity, director of public affairs, director of sales, director of Icelandic relations, and director of membership.

I have helped with several large projects of the Icelandic Association of Utah. Serving as president of the association in 2000 when the association placed a monument on Vestmannaeyjar and an exhibit at the Iceland Emigration Centre at Hofsos, Iceland. I was the Co-Chair of the Icelandic Memorial project in 2005, and a member of the sesquicentennial committee for 150 years of Icelanders in Utah. I also served as fundraising chairman for both the 2000 and the 2005 projects.

I will forever be grateful for many experiences that I have had while serving the people of Icelandic descent in Utah. It has been an exciting ride, with many memorable experiences. The friends I have found along the way are some of the best that anyone could have. Although I will not any longer a member of the board of directors of the Icelandic Association of Utah or attend their monthly meetings and be involved in the planning of their many activities, I will remain a supporter of this organization.


Icelandic Association of Utah

Icelandic Association of Utah
P.O. Box 874
Spanish Fork, UT 84660, USA

The purpose of the Icelandic Association of Utah, Inc. is to: celebrate and perpetuate the common interest in culture and heritage of Iceland through activities and continuing education; promote closer and better relations with the people of Iceland; preserve the memory of the early Icelandic pioneers who established the first permanent Icelandic settlement in North America at Spanish Fork, Utah.

In 1897 the Icelanders of Utah held their first Icelanders Days. Poles and willows were gathered from the river bottoms near Spanish Fork and a bowery was built on the north side of the Icelandic Amusement Hall. The Icelandic Amusement Hall had been built by the Icelanders in Spanish Fork on 700 East between 200 and 300 South. The first Iceland Day was held on August 2, 1897. The entire program was in Icelandic.
Early Iceland Days were held at the same time as the Iceland National Holiday celebrated in Iceland on 2 August. Iceland’s National Holiday was later changed to June 17th, yet Iceland Days in Spanish Fork continued to be held on the first weekend in August until it was officially changed to the third Saturday in June in 2003. It soon became apparent that the third Saturday in June presented a conflict with Fathers Day so it was moved to the fourth Saturday in June in 2004.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Steinvör Lárusdóttir - August 2008

Steinvör Lárusdóttir (Steinvor Larsdottir) was born in July 1867. Her parents are Larus Jonsson, born 30 January 1839 in Dyrholar i Myrdal, Vestur Skaftafell, died 9 February 1895; and Kristin Gisladottir, born 13 January 1843 at Petursey, Solheimur i Myrdal, Vestur Skaftafell, died 30 December 1921 at Buastadir, Vestmannaeyjar. Steinvor’s christening took place in Vestmannaeyjar 15 July 1867.
Steinvor married Einar Bjarnason, born 21 May 1861at Kalfholt, Rangarvalla. They were married about 1887. Three children were born to them in Iceland: Gisli Johann, Kristin Ingunn, and Larus Einar. Einar immigrated to Spanish Fork, Utah in 1891 and Steinvor followed the next year with the three children. Two of her children died shortly after she arrived in Utah. Larus Einar died 31 December 1892 and Gisli Johann died 1 July 1898, both children were buried in the Spanish Fork City Cemetery.
Apparently three more children were born to Steinvor and Einar in Utah. Sometime after 1900 the family moved to Blaine, Washington. Steinvor is number 33 in Icelanders of Utah.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Utah Icelandic Settlement

Two natives of Iceland, Þorarinn Hafliðason and Guðmundur Guðmundsson, while studying in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1851, met two Mormon missionaries from Utah. After careful investigation, they converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They returned to their homeland to share their newfound faith. In 1852, Þorarinn drowned at sea. Guðmundur carried on the proselytizing activities. Many converts were baptized on the shore of Vestmannaeyjar, Iceland.

Samúel Bjarnason and his wife, Margrét Gísladóttir, and a traveling companion, Helga Jónsdóttir, were the first converts to leave Iceland for Zion, in Utah. They sailed from Iceland in the fall of 1854 to Liverpool, England, on the ship James Nesmith. From England, they continued on to New Orleans, where they boarded a riverboat headed to St. Louis, Missouri. After passing through Mormon Grove, the group arrived in the Great Salt Lake Valley 7 September 1855, three hundred days after their departure from Iceland. Brigham Young, President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, directed Samúel, Margrét, and Helga to settle in Spanish Fork, Utah. With a foundation of sixteen Icelandic pioneers, the first permanent Icelandic settlement in the United States was established in Spanish Fork.

Nearly four hundred Icelanders immigrated to Utah from 1854 to 1914. Before 1869, Icelanders made the trip to Utah by sailing on ships, traveling in wagon trains, and pulling handcarts. After that time, they traveled to Utah by steamship and train. Because the pioneers had very little money to help themselves or others, they found it necessary to work together as they settled in their new homes. In 1897 the Icelanders in Spanish Fork held their first Icelanders Day. Kate B. Carter wrote, “The Iceland people in Utah are said to have preserved the folklore and customs of their mother country more than any other nationality that pioneered in Utah.”

Icelanders that returned to Iceland, as missionaries, after immigrating to Utah were; Loftur Jónsson, Magnús Bjarnason, Þórður Diðriksson, Samúel Bjarnason, Einar Jónsson, Jón Eyvindsson, Jakob Baldvin Jónsson, Gísli Bjarnason, Pétur Valgarðsson, Eiríkur Ólafsson, Einar Eiríksson, Halldór Jónsson, Halldór B. Jónsson, Þórarinn Bjarnason, Jón Jóhannesson, Loftur Bjarnason and Jón Júlíus Sveinsson. Elias W. Eiriksson son of Einar Eiríksson went to Iceland with his father in 1913. Johan P. Lorentzen was sent to Iceland, in 1853, to assist Guðmundur after Þorarinn died at sea.

Before 1869, Icelanders made the trip to Utah by sailing on ships, traveling in wagon trains, and pulling handcarts. After that time, they traveled to Utah by steamship and train. Because the pioneers had very little money to help themselves or others, they found it necessary to work together as they settled in their new homes. In 1897 the Icelanders in Spanish Fork held their first Icelanders Day. Kate B. Carter wrote, “The Iceland people in Utah are said to have preserved the folklore and customs of their mother country more than any other nationality that pioneered in Utah.”

In 1887 the Icelandic members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints built a meetinghouse, where they conducted church services in Icelandic because many of them found it difficult to learn English. In 1892 the Icelandic Lutherans of Spanish Fork built a small frame church where the sermons were taught in Icelandic and English. Runolfur Runolfsson, who had joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Iceland and immigrated to Spanish Fork, converted back to Lutheranism and led this congregation.

A lighthouse monument honoring the Icelanders who settled in Utah was built on the east bench of Spanish Fork at 800 East and Canyon Road in 1938. Andrew Jensen, a historian for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, dedicated the monument on August 2, 1938, as part of the Iceland Days celebration. J. Victor Leifson and Eleanor B. Jarvis were co-chairs for the monument project. Gesli Bearnson donated the land and John K. Johnson designed the monument in the shape of a lighthouse, reflecting the seafaring background of the Icelanders. Fred Wilson built the original Viking ship on the monument.

The centennial celebration of the first Icelanders coming to Utah was held on June 15–17, 1955. Elder Anthony R. Ivins of the First Council of Seventy, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, opened the celebration as a keynote speaker during a religious service on Wednesday, June 15. Elder Ivins replaced Elder Henry D. Moyle of Twelve Apostles, who had been called to Texas on Church business. The celebration concluded with a parade on Friday, June 17, a national holiday in Iceland.

Byron T. Geslison, his wife, Melva, and their twin sons, David and Daniel, were called to Iceland in 1975 to renew the missionary effort of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. When the Geslisons arrived in Iceland there were no missionary discussions or tracts in Icelandic. Byron had the Voice of Warning and Truth, written by Thordur Didriksson in 1879, re-printed to use as a missionary tract. The Icelandic government officially recognized The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 1 November 1983.

The centennial celebration of Iceland Days was held in Spanish Fork, Utah in 1997. Iceland’s President, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, and his wife, Guðrun Katrín Þorbergsdóttir, attended the event. President Grímsson and his wife were honored by Spanish Fork City as the grand marshal of the Fiesta Days parade on July 24th. President Grímsson and Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, spoke at a pioneer heritage fireside.

The first Þorrablót was held in Utah in the spring of 1998. It was at a board meeting that the possibility of having Thorrablot came up, and the board of directors voted to try this Icelandic event. Oli Olafsson was at the board meeting and made arrangements for the thorramatur to be brought in from Iceland. The event was held at the Spanish Fork Veterans Memorial Building.

On 30 June 2000, in Vestmannaeyjar, Iceland, a monument honoring the nearly four hundred emigrants from Iceland to Utah was dedicated by Elder William Rolfe Kerr, a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The monument overlooks the North Atlantic Ocean and what was is known as Mormon Pond the location where many early Mormon converts were baptized.

At Hofsos, Iceland the exhibit “The Road to Zion” was opened by Iceland’s President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson on 3 July 2000. The exhibit shows how Icelanders joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and went to settle in Utah in the mid nineteenth century. It tells the tale of the first settlers, their difficult journey over sea and land, and their lives and those of their descendants to the present day. This exhibit was moved to the Culture House in Reykjavik, opening 5 May 2005.

A sesquicentennial celebration was held on 23–26 June 2005, 150 years after the first Icelanders arrived in Utah. The Icelandic monument in Spanish Fork, Utah was given a face lift for the occasion. Major additions to the new Icelandic Memorial include 1) a rock brought from the shores of Vestmannaeyjar, 2) eight bronze plaques describing the history of the Icelanders of Utah, 3) a new granite monument to all the Icelandic emigrants, listing the names of nearly four hundred Icelanders who traveled to Utah before 1914. The new Icelandic Memorial was dedicated by Gordon B. Hinckley, President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, on 25 June 2005. Iceland’s President, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, also spoke at the dedication of the new memorial.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Utah Iceland Days 2008

The 111th annual Iceland Days in Utah was held June 20, 21 and 22, 2008 in Spanish Fork.

Friday, June 20th the Icelandic Association held workshops Friday evening. Thelma Marinosdottir-Moreland opened the workshops with a light-hearted general session telling the attendees how to stay on the good side of Icelanders when visiting in Iceland. Other sessions included; how to write an ancestral history by Lin Floyd, educator, librarian and family history specialist from St. George, Utah. Lin has recently wrote a history of her ancestors Vilborg Jóhanna Þórðardóttir, born 5 February 1831 at Hjaleigusandar, Storidalur undir Eyjafjollum, Rangarvalla; and her second husband, Sigurður Árnason, born 28 November 1842 in Vestmannaeyjar. Another workshop session, by Icelandic Association president Jack Tobiasson, taught Icelandic folk songs while still another was a slide-show presentation by Rick Mathews and Tyler Shepherd of their tour to Iceland in 2007. The last session taught how to make Icelandic pönnukökur, a workshop that was repeated again this year because of its popularity at last year’s workshops.

The traditional Iceland Days Family Festival was Saturday, June 21st in the Spanish Fork City Park at Center and Main streets from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The festival featured displays, artifacts, memorabilia, family history, entertainment and food.

Events included: a Barnabǽr, with a variety of activities for the children of all ages; Barnakór, singing songs in Icelandic; a medley by Icelandic descendant, songwriter-singer Kathryn Warner; the presentation of honorees Kathleen Reilly from Payson, Utah and Karen and Ed Anderson of Spanish Fork; a bus tour of historic Icelandic sites in Spanish Fork; Icelandic folksongs by Tanner and Jack Tobiasson; report of the status of the Icelandic Association of Utah by David Ashby; Icelandic poetry by Vell and Jeanne Runolfson; an Icelandic tale by storyteller, Cherie Davis, from the Timpanogos Storytelling Guild in Orem, Utah; Icelandic folk songs by Darline Ivie and Lanae Baxter and David spoke about Dagbjört Dagbjartsdóttir, born 18 October 1862, the daughter of Dagbjartur Hafliðason who is the brother of Katrin Hafliðasdóttir, the mother of Eyjólfur Eríksson, David’s great grandfather, who emigrated from Iceland to Utah in 1882. Dagbjort immigrated to Victoria B.C. in 1887 the same year as David’s great grandmother Jarþrúður Runólfsdóttir immigrated to Utah. Dagbjort wrote a diary of her trip from Iceland to Canada. There are very few first hand reports of the Icelandic emigrants to North America. Dagbjort’s diary is typical of what many emigrants from Iceland to North America would have experienced.

At the Iceland Days Festival in Utah there was a distinct Icelandic flavor with the food, which included; pönnukökurs, kleinur, and pylsur, the latter imported from Iceland, served with Icelandic mustard and fried onions, also from Iceland. A lunch with lamb, red cabbage, a roll, and green salad was also on the menu.

An election was held for new officers of the Icelandic Association of Utah. Devon Koyle was elected as president and Tyler Shepherd as vice-president. They will serve for the next two years.

Iceland Days in Spanish Fork concluded with a religious meeting (fireside chat) on Sunday evening, with featured speaker Dr. Jack R. Christianson, an administrator at Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah and the former director of the Orem Institute of Religion. Jack is a descendant of Eggert Kristjánsson, born 1 September 1869 at Modruvallaklaustur, Eyjafjardar; and Sesselja Jónsdóttir, born 26 February 1868 in Kross, Rangarvalla.

Jack told about his great-great-grandfather, Eggert, and his struggles as a young man. Eggert’s father died when he was only six years old. After the death of his father, his mother, Anna Sigridur Gudmundsdottir, took all of her children except the two oldest, Johannes and Arngimur, to Canada, where they settled in “New Iceland” in the Winnipeg area. Anna was a midwife and was helping with the birth of a baby when the house caught on fire. She went for help, became lost in a late March blizzard, and was found frozen to death on Lake Winnipeg the next day.

Eggert met a Presbyterian minister, who befriended him and took him to his home in the Dakota Territory. The minister taught Eggert to read and write and sent him to school. At the age fifteen he learned of the Icelandic settlement in Spanish Fork, Utah. Wanting to be with other Icelanders, he walked to Utah, arriving in 1885.

Jack taught that we should know and care about or heritage, care about our roots, read the histories of ancestors. He also taught that we need to be true to God, have faith, love those of other faiths, heal wounded hearts, and remember that God loves all his children.

Past president of the Icelandic Association of Utah, Kristy Robertson, said; “Iceland Days 2008 in Utah was wonderful from beginning to end!” Lin Floyd, who presented a workshop, e-mailed the following comment: "enjoyed myself immensely at Icelandic Days, it was fun."

Monday, June 23, 2008

Eggert Ólafsson July 2008

Eggert Ólafsson (Eggert Olafsson) was born 1 November 1855 at Olafshus, Vestmannaeyjar. He is the son of Olafur Gislason, born 13 November 1803, died 4 June 1855; and Margret Olafsdottir, born in 1828 at Litlabaer, Vestmannaeyjar. Eggert was married to Steinunn Isaksdottir, born 22 October 1856, died 31 January 1920. They had one child, Gudjon 1881-1936. He was then married to Gudrun Arnadottir, born 26 August 1854, died 24 August 1882. Eggert and Gudrun had one child, Gisli, born 4 August 1882.

Eggert joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and was baptized by Halldor B. Jonsson 20 June 1887. Eggert and his son Gisli left Iceland for Utah 30 June 1887 with a small company of Icelandic emigrants (22 or 25), mostly baptized members of the Church. They sailed from Vestmannaeyjar to Leith, Scotland on the steamship Thyra, and then traveled by rail to Liverpool, England. They traveled from Liverpool to New York on the steamship Wyoming. From New York they traveled by steamer to Norfolk, Virginia, then by rail to Salt Lake City, Utah, arriving on 25 July 1887. Nearly all the emigrants went directly to Spanish Fork, Utah, where they became permanent residents.

Eggert married Margret Markusdottir, born 21 November 1879 in Vestmannaeyjar. Her parents are Markus Vigfusson, born 25 December 1851 in Kobenhavn, Denmark, died 6 December 1921 in Spanish Fork; and Gudridur Ulfsdottir. Gudridur was born 26 April 1858 in Vestmannaeyjar, died 8 December 1933 in Spanish Fork, Utah. Margret had emigrated to Spanish Fork with her parents in 1886. Eggert owned a few acres of land; however, he was generally engaged in railroad work.

Eggert died 2 December 1918 and is buried in the Spanish Fork City Cemetery. He was known as Eggert Gudmundur Olafsson and Edward Olson, and is number 289 in Icelanders of Utah.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Diary of Dagbjort Dagbjartsdottir

Dagbjört Dagbjartsdóttir was born 18 October 1862, the daughter of Dagbjartur Hafliðason who is the brother of Katrin Hafliðasdóttir, the mother of Eyjólfur Eríksson, my great grandfather, who emigrated from Iceland to Utah in 1882. Dagbjort immigrated to Victoria B.C. in 1887 the same year as my great grandmother Jarthudur Runolfsdottir immigrated to Utah.
As a young girl Dagbjort, called Daga for short, learned to cook and sew, spin, knit and weave and to make shoes from sheepskins. In Iceland at this time it was common for little girls to learn to read, but it was not considered necessary for them to learn to write. Daga had ideas of her own. She made friends and did errands for a kindly old man who worked in the barn. He taught her how to write. Pen and ink were not available, she found a large feather from one of the many birds along the seashore, and the old man made a quill pen for her. Now, what to use for ink? It being butchering season, the old man saved a bottle of sheep’s blood, and this was the beginning of Daga’s very fine handwriting.
Daga meet Helgi Þorsteinsson and the two of them immigrated to Victoria B.C. Many of Daga’s and Helgi’s friends hoped someday to come to America, so Daga promised to keep a diary of the trip, hoping it might help the ones that were to come later.
From North Vik they traveled to Reykjavik by horse back. Some of the horses where ridden, and some were used as to pack the luggage. There were no roads and no bridges over the rivers.
The shallowest places were chosen by the guide so that people and luggage stayed dry. At certain times of the year when the rivers were high the only way to cross was for the horses to swim. Several people joined the group, some going only part way to Reykjavik, others going all the way; but Daga and Helgi were the only ones headed for America. The trip to Reykjavik was tiring but uneventful, and in the big city they met with groups of people from all parts of Iceland, all going as immigrants to America, mostly to Canada.
From Dagbjort’s Diary translated form Icelandic to English by Runa Thorsteinson
July 11, 1887 “At 6:30 this mourning we boarded the steamship Cameoens. There is much to see which I cannot fully describe, but will try. We are in a fairly large room or cabin forward on the ship and on the middle deck. There is room for thirty bunks on one side and twenty-six on the other, two bunks high. We are all bedded down in the same cabin. It is quite light and open on both ends so the sun shines in. There are two canvas ventilators, one at each end, so we have good ventilation. At one end of our cabin are stairs that lead from our deck and the deck below us to the upper deck. There is much traffic in these stairs as everyone is getting settled and preparing their bunks. There is much noise one can hardly hear their own voice. I don’t know how many rooms there are but there must be many.
Hot water is available two to three times a day in a large kettle forward on the ship. There is a tap on it and each person must bring their own container. Cold water is on tap at all times. Six restrooms are on the ship, three for men and three for women there is no mistaking them as they are marked with big white letters. One of the men is playing an accordion in our cabin and soon the whistle will be blowing and we are on our way. Now the whistle has blown and they are hauling in the anchor and I have never in my life heard such a racket. The whole ship quivers and shakes. I’m sure it must be hard on the nerves of anyone who isn’t very well. Now it’s five o’clock and Cameoens is starting to move. Lovely calm weather and almost feels like the ship is standing still. Now the ship is beginning to roll a little and I am getting a headache. Some of the women are knitting and some sewing, but it doesn’t look very peaceful. I am going up on deck as I am afraid I am getting seasick. Now its eight o’clock and every one has to go to their own bunk.”
July 12th “I slept quite well last night and feel well as long as I lie still but everyone has to go up on deck for fresh air and exercise. Our dear fatherland has disappeared.
There is much seasickness and some of the women are quarreling. Many of them are sick. I vomit very little but am so weak I can hardly write even if I am trying to do it. The man is playing his accordion again and another a violin, some are singing hymns and it would be good entertainment if one were feeling well. There is and English minister on board and also and English doctor and two Icelandic nurses. The minister was very kind and gave each child under twelve years old that could make it up on deck, bread and raisins.
He sent milk to those below and also to the women who were sick. The milk is thick and real sweet. When thinned with water it is real good. This evening it is blowing and raining. They say the ship is only going half speed even if all sails are up. Very much seasickness.”
July 13th “About midnight last night we were in a thick fog, so thick that one could hardly see across the deck. Bright lights were placed on each side of the ship and the whistle blew every four or five minutes to warn other ships that might be near us. This mourning at four A.M. a baby was born in our cabin, all went well. I was so sick yesterday I could not even comb my hair, let alone anything else. But I staggered up on deck twice as the doctor recommends we get up on deck occasionally to fill our lungs with fresh air.
This mourning I felt so much better I got up at nine. I’m sure all of you at home got up much earlier than that. On deck one of the ships crew brought me a slice of bread with a piece of hot meat on it. I didn’t have much appetite but was able to eat some of it with hot water. It was the most I have eaten since I came on the sea. Mostly I have just had cold water. The doctor tells us who are sick to eat dry hardtack and drink water even if we don’t feel like eating anything so that the vomiting will be easier on us. The weather is good now and a calm sea and to my surprise I saw a flock of fulmar fly by. It was like seeing old friends and almost made me homesick. Most everyone is feeling well today and up on deck. Imba is a little worse than I am; still she is able to be up today.
There is much entertainment for those who can feel happy and enjoy it. There are two playing all sorts of music, one on the accordion and one on a violin. They harmonize real well, according to what people are saying, and a crowd has gathered around them. Somehow I cannot enjoy it and am sitting to one side with my little book and writing, whether it ever gets to you, my dear friends, or not. This afternoon we really are in trouble. The engine broke down and it is so calm that the sails just hang. This could be very bad for us travelers because if the ship doesn’t reach Scotland tomorrow we will miss the train and would have to wait in Scotland for two weeks. At 7:45 this evening they got the ship going again. This was the worst part of the trip so far. When the ship stood still it waltzed around so much that we all got sick again and in our bunks we could hardly tell which end was up”.
July 14th “At two this mourning someone reported seeing land. The weather is good and everyone is feeling better. We are sailing along the coast and to far away to see the lowland but we see lots of mountains. It is a lot more interesting than to see only the heavens and the ocean. The mountains are beautiful but somehow not as bright and friendly as the dear mountains at home. They only awake in us memories of the past. Scotland is to the right and the Orkney Islands on the left.
At 12:30 today the ship stopped and blew the whistle several times. A boat came out from shore with three men on board. Our captain gave them some papers and they left and went back to shore. Cameoens started up again. We are closer to shore and it is beautiful. In some places there are rocks on the shore, something like the rocks in front of Vik. Up on the bluffs there are green fields and houses that look so high against the blue sky. Many of them are snow white with white fences around them. Large grain fields are at the back. They tell us that the name of this place is Thors Island.
It is now eight o’clock and we are still along the coast of Scotland. The scenery is beautiful and lovely weather. All around us are fish boats, both large and small and many steamboats have passed us today. Very little seasickness today and I am feeling quite well today, but have no appetite. People are happy today, some playing instruments and others singing. Some are playing chess and a few are gambling with real money. Two Englishmen are playing accordions and singing English songs and toward the back two Icelanders with their violins are playing and six or eight couples are dancing. We are enjoying it”.
July 17th “At two P.M. we arrived at Clyde, Scotland. By seven we were all on the train with our baggage and left at once. The train had fifteen or sixteen cars in it and most of them baggage and freight. The passenger cars were last and all this was an impressive sight.
Scotland is a beautiful place to see. Woods, farmland, and pastureland. The trees are so big they are much higher than the houses. Many homes have hedges. The trees are so close to the track that some branches touch the train window. And if I (and God lets me live) should see more natural beauty than here in Scotland. I lack the ability to describe it as I should, but I want so much to tell you about something you would enjoy hearing about. I stare with wide-eyed wonder at the beauty of nature and feel bad that poor little Iceland was not given any of this.
The train seats are very comfortable. I am sure that even a weakling would find it hard to take. The benches are polished wood with a comfortable back. The ceiling is painted white and the windows are so close together that we can sit back and enjoy the scenery. I assure you there is no danger of losing your breath even if the speed is so great. The worst is that we go by so fast we don’t have time to get a good look. I would have liked to stop the train when I saw a herd of cows right near the track. They were so fat and contended-looking and I would have been real happy to milk one of them to get a good drink of milk.
Our trip across Scotland was a three-hour trip and six times the train went underground. It gets pitch dark and you can’t distinguish black from white and the noise is terrific. Especially if they meet another train. They pass so close that there is only about a foot of space between.
At ten P.M. we arrived in Glasgow. It was dark but the streets and houses were all bright with many, many lights like a starlit heaven. All the people were told to stay in a group and hurry because this part of the city was not a very safe place to be at night. The streets were paved with stone and very smooth but it looked like a place where one could very easily get into trouble. I’m afraid some of the people will long member this night because when we reached the ship at two A.M. there were several people missing, mostly tired women and children who had gotten separated from the group in the crowded streets. All have been found except one woman and her child. I kept close hold of Helgi’s arm. It is very important to stay with the group so as not to get lost. Please member this, my dear friends, when you come.
Glasgow is hard to describe. The buildings are so large and overpowering, and even if the city is well lighted we couldn’t see much except this one street. There were many side streets and in several places we walked under high arches. There was much traffic in the streets and many tough looking characters motioning us to come follow them. Crossing the side streets was where we had to be careful not to get separated from our group. This is what probably happened to the ones that got lost. It is hoped that friendly hands helped them”. From Glasgow Daga and Helgi boarded another ship headed to Quebec. They arrived at Quebec on July 27th. Then took a train to Victoria B.C. arriving August 5th.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Gudmundur Einarsson og Audbjorg Bjarnadottir

Guðmundur Einarsson
Gudmundur Einarsson was born 31 October 1848 at Holmur, Kross, Rangarvalla. His parents are Einar Jonsson, born 5 August 1815, died 29 September 1855; and Sigridur Arnadottir, born 25 August 1798 in Sydri-Holl Holt undir Eyjafjollum, Rangarvalla, died 17 December 1892. He was married to Audbjorg Bjarnadottir, born 19 June 1842 at Lundur, Gullbringu, died 15 January 1921. They were married 26 October 1872 in Vestmannaeyjar.
Gudmundur joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and was baptized by Elder Jon Eyvindsson 14 April 1881. Gudmundur was appointed to preside over the small branch in Iceland in July of 1881 when Elder Eyvindsson and Elder Jacob B. Jonsson left Iceland for Utah. In 1882 Gudmundur and Audbjorg and their five children: Helgi, Bjarni, Einar, Sigridur and Arni, immigrated to Utah.
Gudmundur died 23 August 1882 in Spanish Fork, Utah. Gudmundur was a half-brother to Thordur Didriksson who immigrated to Utah in 1856, they have the same mother. Gudmundur is number 75 in Icelanders of Utah.

Auðbjörg Bjarnadóttir
Audbjorg Bjarnadottir, born 19 June 1842 at Lundur, Utskalar, Gullbringu; her parents are Bjarni Bjarnason, a farmer in Lond, i Hvalsnes, Gullbringu, and Helga Thordarsdottir. She married Gudmundur Einarsson, born 31 October 1848 at Holmar, Kross, Rangarvalla, died 23 August 1882 in Spanish Fork, Utah. They were married 26 October 1872 in Vestmannaeyjar.
In 1881 Audbjorg and Gudmundur joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They were baptized by Elder Jon Eyvindsson 14 April 1881. In 1882, Audbjorg and Gudmundur and their five children, Helgi, Bjarni, Einar, Sigridur and Arni, immigrated to Utah. Gudmundur died shortly after they arrived in Spanish Fork, Utah.

Audbjorg married Hjalmar Bjarnason, a shoemaker, 11 June 1887. Audbjorg died 15 January 1921 and is buried in the Spanish Fork City Cemetery. She went by Audbjorg Johnson in Utah; she is number 76 in Icelanders of Utah.

Helgi Guðmundur Guðmundsson
Helgi Gudmundur Gudmundsson was born 20 October 1869 at Keflavik, Utskalar, Gullbringu, his parents are Gudmundur Einarsson, born 31 October 1838 at Holmur, Kross, Rangarvalla, died in 1882 in Spanish Fork, Utah; and Audbjorg Bjarnadottir, born 19 June 1842 at Lundur, Gullbringu, died 15 January 1921. Helgi’s father joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 14 April 1881 and was baptized by Elder Jon Eyvindsson. Helgi immigrated to Spanish Fork, Utah in 1882 with his parents.
Helgi married Eleanor Jones of Spanish Fork. Eleanor was born 26 August 1865 in Spanish Fork, Utah, died 7 December 1943 in Spanish Fork, her parents are William Rodger Jones, born 15 November 1826 in Merthr Tydfil, Glamorgan, Wales, died 20 January 1906 in Spanish Fork, Utah; and Mary Ann Stevens, born 5 April 1830 in Merthyr Tydvil, Glamogan, Wales, died 5 August 1896 in Spanish Fork, Utah. Helgi and Eleanor were married 29 October 1892 in Provo, Utah. Their marriage was solemnized in the Manti Temple on 2 November 1892. Children born to their marriage were: William Helgi, born 21 August 1893 in Spanish Fork, Utah, died 8 September 1969, in Payson, Utah; Mary Eleanor, born 31 July 1895 in Spanish Fork, Utah, died 27 December 1935; Hazel Audbjorg, born March 1898 in Payson, Utah, died 7 October 1990 in Price, Utah; and Joseph Delbert, born 2 May 1901 in Spanish Fork, Utah, died 26 March 1975. They also raised the son of Eleanor’s sister, Donald Ivans.
Helgi worked for the railroad most of his adult life, providing the necessities of life for his family. He worked as the custodian of the Fifth Ward Chapel in Spanish Fork, Utah after he retired from the railroad. He was a kind and caring person, who was willing to help neighbors and friends, when the need arose.
Helgi died 8 April 1937 and is buried in the Spanish Fork City Cemetery. In Utah he was known as Helgi Gudmundur Johnson. He is number 77 in Icelanders of Utah.

Bjarni Guðmundsson
Bjarni Gudmundsson was born 9 July 1873 at Sjolyst, Vestmannaeyjar, the son of Gudmundur Einarsson, born 31 October 1848 at Holmar, Kross, Rangarvalla, died 23 August 1882 in Spanish Fork, Utah; and Audbjorg Bjarnadottir, born 19 June 1842, died 15 June 1921.
Bjarni immigrated with his parents to Spanish Fork, Utah in 1882. He died 11 July 1896 and is buried in the Spanish Fork City Cemetery. He was known in Utah as Bjarni Johnson and Bjarni Einarson Johnson. He is number 78 in Icelanders of Utah.
Bjarni Jónsson (Bjarni Jonsson) was born 4 June 1850 at Mossfellsbeir, Kjosar. He joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 22 March 1880 and immigrated to Utah in 1881. He is number 396 in Icelanders of Utah.

Einar Guðmundsson
Einar Gudmundsson was born 24 April 1875 at Sjolyst, Vestmannaeyjar, the son of Gudmundur Einarsson, born 31 October 1848 at Holmar, Kross, Rangarvalla, died 23 August 1882 in Spanish Fork, Utah; and Audbjorg Bjarnadottir, born 19 June 1842, died 15 June 1921.
Einar immigrated to Spanish Fork, Utah with his parents in 1882. Einar married Bertha Jones, born 23 September 1874, McKeesport, Pennsylvania, died 22 February 1954 in Ogden, Utah. They were later divorced. Einar died in a snowslide 17 February 1926 and is buried in the Spanish Fork City Cemetery. In Utah he went by Einar Johnson, and is number 80 in Icelanders of Utah.

Sigríður Ingibjörg Guðmundsdóttir
Sigridur Ingibjorg Gudmundsdottir was born 17 January 1878 at Sjolyst, Vestmannaeyjar, the daughter of Gudmundur Einarsson, born 31 October 1848 at Holmar, Kross, Rangarvalla, died 23 August 1882 in Spanish Fork, Utah; and Audbjorg Bjarnadottir, born 19 June 1842, died 15 June 1921.
Sigridur immigrated to Utah in 1882 with her parents and four brothers. Sigridur married James Albertson, born 14 July 1870 at Ulsted in Denmark, died 1 September 1945 in Salt Lake City, Utah and buried in the Spanish Fork City Cemetery.
Sigridur and James had eight children: Clara Christine 1896; James Goodman 1897 1971; Rebecca Elinor 1900-1976; Sarah Jane 1906-1938; Albert Jacob 1908-1908; Clarence Leroy 1915-1967; Douglas Delbert 1918-1936; and unknown. Sigrudur died 19 August 1966 in Salt Lake City, Utah and is buried in the Spanish Fork City Cemetery. In Utah she went by Sarah Ingibjorg Johnson, she is number 79 in Icelanders of Utah.

Árni Guðmundsson
Arni Gudmundsson was born 17 August 1880 at Sjolyst, Vestmannaeyjar, the son of Gudmundur Einarsson, born 31 October 1848 at Holmar, Kross, Rangarvalla, died 23 August 1882 in Spanish Fork, Utah; and Audbjorg Bjarnadottir, born 19 June 1842, died 15 June 1921.

Arni immigrated to Spanish Fork, Utah in 1882 with his parents and brothers and sister. Arni married Hannah Jane Small Robertson 28 December 1901. Hannah was born 9 March 1874 at Jarrow, Durham, England, died 7 February 1943 in Murray, Utah; she is buried in the Spanish Fork City Cemetery. Arni died 7 February 1923 of tuberculosis. He is buried in the Spanish Fork City Cemetery. In Utah he went by Autna Gudmundsson Johnson. He is number 81 in Icelanders of Utah.