Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Helen Wilson

Helen Emily Johnson Wilson passed away peacefully on the morning of December 27, 2009 in Salem, Utah. She joined her husband of almost 50 years.
Helen was born August 6, 1917 in Spanish Fork, Utah to Emily and Autna P. Johnson (Arni Palsson, born in Vestmannaeyjar, Iceland). She attended and graduated from Spanish Fork High School. She married Fred L. Wilson in Los Angeles, CA in 1937. They were later sealed in the Provo Temple. She was a school lunch worker for many years and was The head baker for several schools. She also worked for J.C. Penney and the Del Monte Cannery in Spanish Fork. After she retired and after her husband died, she enjoyed several years as a Grandmother for The Grandparent program. She was a talented artist-family and friends have many of her beautiful paintings.
She was also one of the few remaining "full-blooded" Icelanders in Spanish Fork. Her mother, Emily Johnson, was born in Minnesota to Icelandic emigrants Einar Herman Jonsson and Gudrun Halgrimsdottir.
Helen is survived by three children, Lois Ann Cameron (Dave), Spanish Fork; William LaMar Wilson (Marilynn), Payson; and Helen Marie Jackson, Shoshone, Idaho; 11 grandchildren; 30 great grandchildren, 17 great great grandchildren (incl. one unborn), and 1 unborn great great, great grandchild.
She was preceded in death by her husband; two brothers, (Jack and Heber Johnson); two sisters, (Christine Yergensen and Cecil Curtis Gull), and a newborn brother.
The family sincerely thanks the staff at the Salem Beehive home for their loving and compassionate care and A-Plus Hospice for their excellent care and compassionate service.
Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, December 30, 2009 at 12:00 Noon at Walker Mortuary, 187 South Main Street, Spanish Fork, Utah. Family and friends may call at the mortuary from 10:45-11:45 a.m. prior to services. Interment will be in the Spanish Fork City Cemetery.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Fairy Maiden

An Icelander and his grandson
are by the sea one day,
talking as they go along,
telling stories on the way.

“Grandpa,” the boy said earnestly,
“tell me about the fairy maid,
and how she lit her light for you
at Black Rock on Cliff’s Isle, to aid.”

“Ah, yes, my son, I rowed my boat
far out to sea when it was calm,
out to the cleft where there were fish
and earned a blister on each palm.

“Out where the yellow cod swim by,
the halibut slide far below.
It was food waiting to be had,
but soon the wind began to blow.

“The day grew dark. The sky went black.
and rain clouds piled in the sky.
It was a whirlpool of doubt.
I thought that I was going to die.

“I saw a light shine in the dark
and rowed to it with all my might.
The boat was carried on the crests.
Black Rock was darker than the night.

“Yet I could see where Black Rock was.
I saw a light upon the shore.
There was a maiden holding it,
where nobody had been before.

“The torrent failed. The sea grew calm.
I passed the skerries to the bay
and pulled my boat upon the shore,
then sought the light without delay,

“but it was gone. The maiden, too–
the Fairy Maiden of the sea,
who steered me from the raging depths
and bore me through eternity.”

D. Gary Christian
Santa Clara, Utah
June 13, 2007

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Eyjolfur was born 11 October 1829 at Illugastadir, Tjorn i Vatnsnesi, Vestur Hunavatn. His parents are Gudmundur Ketilsson, born 1791, died 24 June 1859; and Audbjorg Joelsdottir, born 26 January 1802, died 14 December 1884. Eyjolfur married Valgerdur Bjornsdottir 12 November 1853. Valgerdur was born 9 September 1828. Her parents are Bjorn Sveinsson, born 9 March 1795, died 25 November 1859; and Rosa Bjarnadottir, born in 1806.

Eyjolfur and Valgerdur had twelve children: Ogn Eyjolfsdottir 1854-1940, Eygerdur Eyjolfsdottir 1855-1885, Audrosa Eyjolfsdottir 1857-1941, Sigurbjort Eyjolfsdottir 1858-1859, Gudmunda Minnie Eyjolfsdottir 1859-1929, Bjarnlaug Eyjolfsdottir Anderson 1861-1942, Gudmundur Eyjolfsson Jameson 1862-1955, Frodi Eyjolfsson 1864-1864, Ketill Eyjolfsson (Kelly Jameson) 1865-1917, Numi Eyjolfsson 1867-1867, Eyjolfur Eyjolfsson 1870-1934 and Bjorn Eyjolfsson 1872-1884.

Eyjolfur was a farmer by trade, but he had other interests. He gathered eiderdown; he hunted and trapped gray foxes and seals and sold their hides. He was awarded a medal by the king of Denmark for improving the living standards of the people. This award is still in the little church near his old home in Eyjatbakki. He had his own personal seal or stamp, given him by the king of Denmark.

Eyjolfur and Valgerdur joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The missionaries were Elders Haldor Jonsson and Einar Eiriksson. In 1883 Eyjolfur and Valgedur and eight of their children emigrated to Spanish Fork, Utah via North Dakota and Helena, Montana. Their son Bjorn drowned in quicksand near the Red River in Pembina, North Dakota in 1884.

Eyjolfur was an unusually intelligent and talented person. He helped many of the Icelandic people in Spanish Fork with medical problems. He was not licensed to practice medicine, so he was not accepted by the American Medical Association. He was a talented singer and wrote poetry in Iceland as well as in Utah. He was also a good wood carver and carpenter.

Eyjolfur and Valgerdur became disenchanted with the Mormon Church. They and all of their children, except Audrosa, left the Church and joined the local Lutheran congregation. Eyjolfur was a deeply religious person. He was kind and compassionate, and people who knew him loved and appreciated him. He was a student of the Bible and its teachings.

Eyjolfur died 19 September 1913 and is buried in the Spanish Fork City Cemetery. He went by Eyjolfur Jameson in Spanish Fork. He is number 125 in Icelanders of Utah.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Sherman Valgard Bearnson 1922 ~ 2009

Another 100% Icelander has gone on to that great reunion in heaven.
Spanish Fork . . .Sherman Valgard Bearnson, age 87, died Wednesday, October 28, 2009 at his home of causes incident to dementia. He was born April 25, 1922 in Spanish Fork, Utah to Icelandic immigrant parents, Gisle Bearnson (Gisli Bjarnason) and Christina Vilmina Valgardson. He was educated in Spanish Fork schools and graduated from Spanish Fork High School in 1940.
He worked alongside his father as a farmer and cattleman. Although farmers were exempt from the draft in World War II, Sherman enlisted in the Navy to serve his country. He served in the South Pacific on an aircraft carrier until the end of the war.
When he returned from the war, he met and married, Beverly Boyer, in the Salt Lake LDS Temple on September 1, 1949. Beverly worked hard alongside Sherm on the family farm, along with their son, Steven. Sherman and Beverly modeled honesty, integrity, and hard work for their children. Sherm worked as a farmer and cattleman from the time he was a small boy until 2000, when he retired at the age of 78. He was the President of the South Irrigation Company, where he served on the Board for 32 years. He served as Vice-President of the East Bench Irrigation Company. He served 30 years on the Soil Conservation Commission Board; he and Beverly traveled to farms throughout the United States in the service of Soil Conservation. He was named Utah County Cattleman of the year and was honored by the Icelandic Association of Utah as Icelander of the year.
Sherman was a High Priest in the LDS Church where he served as Sunday School President and home teacher. For many years he volunteered on the 5th Ward Church Farm, donating his time, farm equipment, and fuel. He attended Utah Technical College on the GI Bill, where he learned flying, welding, and auto mechanics. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, and working in his shop welding and repairing equipment.
He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Beverly Boyer Bearnson, and five children, Susan (Richard) Huff; Steven (Michelle) Bearnson, both of Spanish Fork; Barbara Bearnson (Todd Utzinger); Patricia Bearnson; and Gill (Cathy Revere) Bearnson, all of Salt Lake City. He is also survived by 16 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren, as well as two sisters, Geraldine Smith and Norma (Weston) Jones, of Spanish Fork. He was preceded in death by a grandson, Chet Bearnson; and siblings, Sarah Ellen Hanks, Faye Bearnson, Wilma Harmer, Mildred Hall, Elva Levanger, Bertha Johnson, Bernice Bearnson, and two cousins who were reared with the Bearnsons as siblings, Hannah and Paul Valgardson.
Funeral services will be Saturday, October 31, 2009 at 1:00 p.m. at the Spanish Fork Stake Center, 1006 East 200 South. Friends may call Saturday at the church from 11:00 a.m. until 12:45 p.m. prior to services. Interment will be in the Spanish Fork City Cemetery under the direction of Walker Mortuary, where military rites will be accorded by the American Legion Post 68.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


Erlendur was born 11 August 1844 at Stor i Lambhagi, Leira, Borgarfjardar. His parents are Arni Bergthorsson, born 3 May 1798 at Hafthorsstadir, Hvammur i Nordurardal, Myra; and Malfridur Gudlaugsdottir, born 21 July 1804 at Kollslaekur, Stir i As, Bordarfjardar, died 2 June 1869. Erlendur immigrated to Canada in 1876, where he spent a couple of years in the settlement called “New Iceland” on the west shores of Lake Winnipeg. Like many others, he moved on and went to the Dakota Territory. About 1880 he came to Spanish Fork, Utah. He wanted to follow the trade of goldsmith and learn more about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was a great reader and writer. He owned an agency for selling men’s suits. He would fit them and then order from a catalog. He was a practicing calligrapher. He wrote such beautiful handwriting that people would have him prepare their important records.
Erlendur married Johanna Jonsdottir, born 10 March 1856 in Rangarvalla, the daughter of Jon Bjarnason. They had two children: Autna Julius and Steinunn (Stana). Their marriage ended in divorce. He then went to Scofield and Winter Quarters in Carbon County to work in the coal mines. About this time he started to correspond with Katrin Jonsdottir, who was living in Winnipeg and working as a nurse at the time. She came to Spanish Fork in 1893 and married Erlendur 19 August 1893. They made their home in Winter Quarters, where Erlendur worked in the mines. They had six children: Katie, John, Olga, Ella, Cornella and Elma. Erlundur and Katrin split, and she went to Blaine, Washington, where she died 17 January 1944. She is buried in the Blaine Cemetery. Erlundur never went to Blaine, Washington. He died in Salt Lake City 12 September 1918 and is buried in the Salt Lake City Cemetery. Erlundur is number 7 in Icelanders of Utah.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Thorbjorn in the Mist

Morning rouses in the mist
that presses on the frozen ground.
The wind that traipsed across the snow-clogged lava
left footprints where it wandered.
Peering over the settled fog,
Mt. Thorbjorn idles in the stillness
when the sun is awake but
has not risen from its slumber.

Winter takes its respite
from storms waged upon the fells
like raiders who blew out
of the purple north
and returned in long black ships
with finery and riches that Viking swords
and their strong arms had taken at Seville.

The beauty of the north
has made Iceland a land of riches,
not in Viking gold and silver,
but in the smiles of its maidens
and the setting of the winter sun
that looks down quiet streets
of Old Town Reykjavik.

D. Gary Christian
Santa Clara, Utah
October 5, 2009

Thursday, October 1, 2009


Engilbert Jónsson was born 4 May 1912, the son of Jonina Asgrimsdottir. Engilbert immigrated to Utah with his mother, Jonina, and his grandmother, Gudny Hrobjartsdottir. They settled in Cleveland, where his mother married Halldor Jonsson. Engilbert was raised with Halldor and Jonina’s family. Engilbert married and moved to Bicknell, Utah. He died 15 January 1990. He went by Engelbert Johnson in Utah; he is number 165 in Icelanders of Utah.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Leif Erikson Day in United States

Leif Erikson was the first European to set foot in the New World, opening a new land rich with resources for the Vikings to explore. But for some unknown reason, the Vikings only made a few voyages to the New World after Leif. Unfortunately, this caused his discovery to remain unknown to nearly all of Europe, which was in the midst of the Crusades.
The American observance of Leif Erikson Day is Friday, 9 October 2009. It honors Leif Erikson (Leifur Eiríksson), who brought the first Europeans known to have set foot on North American soil. He is believed to be the first recorded Nordic person to have visited the area that is now the United States. It is believed that he visited Baffin Island and Labrador around 1000.
The president of the United States issues a proclamation about the holiday. Many US presidents have, in the past, publicly praised the spirit of exploration and discovery, as well the contributions of people with a Nordic background and their culture.
Leif Erikson Day is and observance and not a federal public holiday in the United States. Public transit systems run on their regular schedules.
Leif Erikson was born of Norwegian descent around 970 in Iceland. It is thought that his father and grandfather were outlaws and explorers around Scandinavia and Greenland. His father founded two settlements in Greenland. Leif had two brothers and one sister. He married a woman named Thorgunna and they had one son, called Thorkell Leifsson.
Leif Erikson went to Norway to work for King Olaf I of Norway. During his stay, he converted to Christianity. When he returned to Island, he bought a boat and, in 1003, set out to explore the land west of Greenland that had been discovered by Bjarni Herjolfsson, and older explorer. The land that he had discovered was actually Newfoundland, which is now part of Canada. The 'Saga of the Greenlanders' tells of his adventures.
It is thought that he visited Baffin Island and Labrador and settled on the Northern part of the island of Newfoundland, now all part of Canada. There are speculations that Leif Erikson or later explorers may have traveled into the area that is now Minnesota in the United States. Some controversial archaeological finds, such as the Kensington Runestone and the Maine Penny, support this theory, but it is not considered proven.
October 9 was chosen because it is the anniversary of the day that the ship Restauration arrived in New York from Stavanger, Norway on October 9, 1825. This was the start of organized immigration from Scandinavia to the USA. The date is not associated with an event in Leif Erikson's life.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Ancestral Home

It is light already
when dawn comes to the day.
Wind blows across the Denmark Strait,
sweeps spray onto the shore
at Keflavik where planes assemble
and depart in Arctic mist and rain.

We come in clouds,
stained by the morning sun,
descend to the sea,
to visit our ancestral home,
to see the church at Kross
where Grandpa Christian
got a blessing and a name.
When he was a man,
he went to the Westlands,
got a another name
that few in Iceland knew.

The old house, patriarchal in its mien,
stands stalwart in the grass
at Arnarholl. It is the house
where Groa lives. She knows
it only as the home
that always has been hers,
and wonders if, somehow, we are related
since my folk lived here before,
but cannot see a likeness in my face.

She does not know
that once the house
on Eagle Hill bulged with love,
echoed with laughter,
that children ran
through summer sunlight,
shouting at the terns
that mocked them.

The gulls are there still,
but none know where
the children went,
except for two, one folded
in the cheerless turf at Reykjavik,
the other, Grandpa Christian
on the lonely plains
where Blackfeet ruled
and buffalo once roamed.

Wind takes the measure
of its province--the weathered
heights of Iceland’s snow,
the willows on Milk River.
But it, too, goes away,
and like the breath of life
becomes the breathing of the past.

D. Gary Christian
Santa Clara, Utah
June 2, 2005

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


Elisabet was born 17 June 1849 in Kirkjubaer, Vestmannaeyjar. Her parents are Eirikur Hansson, born in 1815 at Vilborgarstadir in Vestmannaeyjar; and Kristin Jonsdottir, born in 1811 in Eystri-Klasabardi, Sigluvik, Rangarvalla.She married Isleikur Olafsson, born 15 July 1849 in Vodmulastadir, Rangarvalla. His parents are Olafur Isleiksson, born 23 January 1820, died 4 February 1884; and Katrin Jonsdottir, born 19 July 1823, died 3 November 1897. They were married 15 January 1888 in Vestmannaeyjar.

Isleikur and Elisabet had seven children born in Iceland, however only two survived: Sigurjon, born 18 September 1884, died 23 June 1916; and Karolina, born 17 September 1887, died 16 February 1981. The family immigrated to Spanish Fork, Utah in 1890. They first lived with Elisabet’s brother Eirikur. Isleikur worked for the Rio Grande Railroad at Colton in Spanish Fork Canyon. They moved their family to Colton, where they stayed for four years. Elisabet worked at Earl’s Cafe as well as taking in boarders and making bread and cakes for sale. They then returned to Spanish Fork, where they built a home on Fifth East and Second South. Elisabet died 27 August 1937 in Delta, Utah; she is buried in the Spanish Fork City Cemetery. She was known in Utah as Elizabeth Hanson, Elisabet E. Olson, and Ella Olson. She is number 298 in Icelanders of Utah.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

God of Eloquence

God of Eloquence

Runes are graven on the sun and on the tongue of Bragi.
He utters shining words forged in the smithy of his silver throat.

He is patron of the skalds who tell the sagas in royal courts,
preserved in Iceland by chieftains of the Viking realm,
inspires poetry in men and offers drink from Bragi’s Cup
that all the earth might be awash in tales of gods, and
and how the world began.

Oaths are sworn on Bragarfull to bear the sacred truth.
Before a king can be the king, he drinks the mead of poetry
from the Promise Cup and is endowed with eloquence
to speak with words that bend the will of those who can not understand.

With his wife and with his words, Bragi stays forever young,
for thought does not degrade, nor wisdom falter
when eternity wears away.

Let us drink a toast with Bragi’s mead, to be endowed with fluency of speech
and skill with words that clothe our images of thought
in inspiration and emotion, that men may hear, and laugh, and weep,
moved by a longing for truth in the everlasting soul.

D. Gary Christian
Santa Clara, Utah
May 24, 2007

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Eiríkur Ingimundur Guðmundsson

Eirikur Ingimundur Gudmundsson born 13 February 1875 at Eydi, Seltjarnarnesthing, Gullbringu. His parents are Gudmundur Egilsson, born 15 March 1851 at Eydi, Seltjarnarnesthing, Gullbringu; and Gudridur Gudmundsdottir, born 15 February 1835 at Thorustadir, Mosfell i Grimsnesi, Arnes. At the age of six he emigrated from Iceland to Utah with his parents in 1881.
Eirikur married Emma Jane Boyle, born 19 July 1878 at Santaquin, Utah. They were married 4 February 1925 in Santaquin, Utah. Emma Jane died 4 May 1951. Eirikur died 28 October 1956 in Salt Lake City and is buried in the Spanish Fork City Cemetery. He went by Erik Ingimar Egilson in Utah. He is number 72 in Icelanders of Utah.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Karen Johnson Anderson

Karen Johnson Anderson
Date Of Birth: June 8, 1948
Date Of Death: July 27, 2009
Service Date: Saturday, August 1, 2009 at 11:00 a.m.
Karen J. Anderson triumphed in life, and then passed on to be reunited with her husband and loved ones on July 27, 2009.
Karen was born to Edward Anthon (Ted) Johnson and Mary LaRue Hone Johnson on June 8, 1948. She was a beautiful child with curly blonde hair and bright blue eyes. Many of her early memories center on being with her father, herding sheep up Diamond Fork Canyon. Karen graduated from Spanish Fork High School and BYU, receiving her degree in Elementary Education. Later in life she returned to BYU to finish a Masters Degree in Reading. She found her eternal companion, Ed, while attending BYU. They were sealed eternally June 12, 1970 in Manti, Utah. Their marriage has been one of love, sacrifice, and optimism.
Karen loved reading and children. She carefully balanced her role as mother, with her occupation as teacher. For many years she taught first grade, helping many inquisitive 5 & 6 year old children learn how to read. She remembered each one of them. Later in life she taught reading to other teachers as a literacy specialist in Nebo School District. The friendships she made during this job will be eternal.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was a fundamental part of Karen's life and she served faithfully wherever called. She served as Stake Relief Society President, Gospel Doctrine Teacher, and Ward Relief Society President numerous times. She knew how to serve quietly and lovingly. Karen loved her ancestors and spent the last couple of years compiling books of histories. Karen and Ed raised 6 children who love and honor their mother and who have found great joy being able to serve her. It was impossible not to love Karen.
Karen is survived by her six children, Kristy (Mike) Robertson, David, Boas, McKay (Allison), Nord (Wren), and Whitney; grandchildren, Alenia, Seth, Dane, Brielle, Tate and Mitch Robertson, Henry Anderson, and two on the way. She is also survived by her brothers, Kent (Linda) Fulmer, Lee (Denise) Johnson; and sisters, Lynne (Owen) Harrison, and Julie (Dave) Christianson; and many aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, and nephews.
The past three years Karen has had cancer, she asked that her "cancer blessings" be shared. She has learned charity from others, and made many new friends. She is grateful for the small things we often take for granted, and has learned to rely on the Lord. She had time to prepare for death and has gathered her family often to let them know how much each member is loved. Karen didn't want bitterness, only joy, hope, and love.
Karen asked specific thanks go to her angel sister, Lynne, who has walked each step of the way with her; also, Dr. Wendy Breyer, Mandi, Paula, and Janis; and Vista Hospice, Dr. Gary Garner, Nancy, Rose Mary, Marci, Burt, and Sue for their love, kindness, and concern.
Funeral services will be held Saturday, August 1, 2009 at 11:00 a.m. at 300 E. Center Street, in Spanish Fork. Friends may call Friday evening from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at Walker Family Mortuary, 187 South Main Street, Spanish Fork or on Saturday morning at the church from 9:45-10:45 a.m. prior to services.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Eirikur Eiriksson was born 12 May 1857 at Gjabakki, in Vestmannaeyjar; his parents are Eirikur Hansson, born in 1815 at Vilborgarstadir in Vestmannaeyjar; and Kristin Jonsdottir, born in 1811 in Eystri-Klasbardi, Sigluvik, Rangarvalla. Eirikur emigrated from Iceland to Spanish Fork, Utah in 1882. Jonina Helga Valgerdur Gudmundsdottir followed in 1885. Eirikur had known Jonina in Iceland. Eirikur joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-days Saints and was baptized on 8 April 1883; Jonina was baptized on 3 September 1885. They were married 11 September 1885.

Jonina Helga Valgerdur Gudmundsdottir was born 22 September 1867 in Vestmannaeyjar. Her parents are Gudmundur Arnason, born 25 September 1827 in Vestur Skaftafell; and Gudny Arnadottir, born 26 December 1834 in Vestmannaeyjar.

Eirikur and Jonina had eleven children: Rozetta Christine, born 10 November 1886, died 3 September 1959, married Lafael Hulet Royland 23 December 1908; Erick Elias, born 14 December 1888, died 21 May 1946, married Mary Ann Crump 18 December 1912; they were divorced and he married Ruth Koster; Hanna Jorun Vegalin, born 25 January 1891, died 3 January 1960, married George Swenson 10 December 1911; John Arthur, born 18 December 1892, died 16 October 1908; Nena Matilda, born 22 May 1895, married William C Beckstrom 24 October 1923; Lenard Goodman, born 2 February 1898, married Margaret Ann Griffith 23 April 1917; Lillian Ester, born 9 April 1900, died 8 August 1908; William Lawrence, born 2 May 1903, married Lyndall Huish 2 August 1924; Clara Mabel, born 27 August 1905, married Joseph Francis Redd 22 July 1926; Eldon W., born 18 January 1908, married Ruby Ludlow 10 February 1926; and Erma Lael, born 7 May 1910, married A. LeRoy Johnson 4 September 1929. Eirikur had changed his name to Erick Hanson, so all the children had the surname of Hanson.

Eirikur, a carpenter, made furniture, but he became known in Spanish Fork for his skill as a coffin maker; he was well known for the beauty and workmanship he put into this art. He learned to speak the English language and was an avid reader. He soon became known for his talent as a storyteller. He was the leader of the Icelandic choir in Spanish Fork and often played the organ and the accordion at their celebrations. He taught his fellow Icelanders at the Icelandic Church of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He would read the Book of Mormon and other church books in English and then explain in Icelandic what he had read.

Eirikur built a home in Spanish Fork, with his usual attention to detail and perfection. The home was lumber, painted light-blue with white trim. Stained glass windows and fancy scroll-work decorated the home. The scroll-work, or gingerbread trim, as it was often called, was made by Eirikur on an ingenious lathe that he had devised. The lathe, which was foot powered, along with his home-made planes, were donated to the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers Museum by his son Len Hanson in 1978.

After the death of his beloved Nena 18 December 1932, Eldon and Ruby moved into the home to help care for him. Less than two years later, Eirikur died of a heart attack while working where he loved to be, in his well equipped carpenter shop that he had built next to his home. Eirikur died 11 September 1934 and is buried in the Spanish Fork City Cemetery. He was known in Spanish Fork as Erick Hanson and is number 98 in Icelanders of Utah.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Icelandic National Day

Icelandic National Day (Icelandic: Þjóðhátíðardagurinn, the day of the nation's celebration), June 17, 1944, is a holiday in Iceland and celebrated as the day that The Republic of Iceland (Lýðveldið Ísland) was formed, becoming independent from the Danish Monarchy. The date of 17 June was chosen because it is the birthday of Jón Sigurðsson, a major figure of Icelandic culture and the leader of the 19th century Icelandic independence movement.
June 17, was chosen as Iceland's National Holiday to recognize Jón's efforts toward Icelandic independence. He is often referred to as President ("Jón forseti") by Icelanders. The main reason for this is that since 1851 he served as President of the Copenhagen Department of Hið íslenska bókmenntafélag (the Icelandic Literature Society). He was also the president of Althing several times, for the first time in 1849. He is currently pictured on Iceland's 500 kroner bill, and has been honored on Icelandic postage stamps on the centenaries of his birth and death, the 150th anniversary of his birth, and on the creation of the Republic of Iceland (on his 133rd birthday).
Jón Sigurðsson was born 17 June 1811 at Hrafnseyri, near Arnarfjörður in the Westfjords area of Iceland; he was the son of pastor, Sigurður Jónsson and Thordis Jonsdottir. He moved to Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1833 to study grammar and history at the university. He married Ingibjorg Jonsdottir, born 9 October 1804.
Jón Sigurðsson took part in discussions that led to the Danish king Christian IX’s restoration of the old Icelandic Althing (parliament) as an advisory body in 1843. Jón was elected to that body for its first session in 1845, later becoming its speaker. As a leader of the Patriotic Party, Jón successfully negotiated for Iceland’s freedom of trade in1854; he also led in the modernization of Iceland’s agriculture and fishing techniques. Always pressing Denmark for self-government, he undoubtedly influenced the granting by Denmark in 1874 of a constitution that provided for Iceland’s control of its finances and for legislative power shared with the Danish crown.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Iceland Days 2009 at Spanish Fork, Utah

Iceland Days 2009 at Spanish Fork, Utah

26 June, Iceland Culture Workshops
Where: LDS Chapel, 1006 East 200 South, Spanish Fork, UT
Time: 7:00 pm

27 June, Iceland Days Family Festival
Where: Spanish Fork City Park, Main Street and 100 South, Spanish Fork, UT
Time: 10:00 am – 2:00 pm

28 June, Iceland Heritage Fireside
Where: LDS Chapel, 300 East Center Street, Spanish Fork, UT
Time: 7:00 pm

More information see June 2009 newsletter at

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


EINAR PÁLSSON was born 17 March 1878 in Vestmannaeyjar, the son of Pall Arnason, born 22 February 1852 at Vilborgstadur, Vestmannaeyjar, died 2 August 1836 in Spanish Fork, Utah; and Kristin Eiriksdottir, born 6 December 1842, died 10 October 1934 in Spanish Fork, Utah.
Einar and his mother, Kristin, and his brother Arni left Iceland with a small group of Icelandic Saints to immigrate to Zion in 1881. Pall followed her in 1882. Einar married Magnea Sigridur Agusta Magnusdottir (Maggie Sigridur Einarson), born 9 August 1877 in Reykjavik. She emigrated to Spanish Fork, Utah with her father in 1886. They had nine children: Jennie 1899-1904, Pauline 1900, Hazel 1903-1904, Einar Alexander 1905-1906, Levon 1910-1910, Maggie 1912-1912, Dellroy 1913-1931, Clifford, and Ranae.
Einar worked at the diversion dam in Spanish Fork Canyon for seventeen years. Iceland Days were held at the diversion dam on occasions. Einar died 22 May 1928 and is buried in the Spanish Fork City Cemetery. He was known as Einar P. Johnson. He is number 253 in Icelanders of Utah.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

L’Anse aux Meadows

From Iceland’s wind-blown heights,
Viking mothers look out on the sea
where heaving waters
surge and fall and
swallow stalwart sons
who plow the depths
to harvest sustenance.

At heaven’s rim an ancient god
in eagle form sits silently
and stares; stirring into flight,
his wings send winds
that blow on men
and cover all the earth.

From a hollow vik, Bjarni
sailed for Greenland’s shore
to visit with his father.
The eagle’s wings
pushed his long boat far away
to a place unknown by Norsemen. From his bobbing craft
he looked upon the treeless
shores of Helluland.

But a new land
was not Bjarni’s quest.
He sought Greenland,
found his father,
never went viking
while his parent lived.
Leifur heard the wondrous tale
and searched the sea
with thirty men to find the land
that Bjarni saw.
When he found the place
he went ashore. Skraelings,
dark and naked, came to see
men tall as trees with
hair as yellow as buttercups.

There were fruits
where white man never
yet had gone, nor
tasted of its bounties.
He called it Wineland
for grapes voluptuous on the vines.
With fruit and timber
Leifur started for his home,
to tell of strange places,
and people stranger still.

Iceland was astir
with Leifur’s saga.
Thorfinn goaded to adventure
took his wife, and
an expedition to settle
in the new found land.

At L’Anse aux Meadows,
amid wilderness and wild men,
Snorri came to Thorfinn
and to Gudrid, the
first Caucasian born
in Iceland’s colony.
Five hundred years
would pass before
Columbus came for Ferdinand
and Isabella to claim for Spain
the world that Leifur found.

D. Gary Christian
Santa Clara, Utah February 16, 1999

Friday, May 1, 2009


Bjornlaug was born 13 June 1861. Her parents are Eyjolfur Gudmundsson, born 11 October 1829 in Illugastadir, Tjorn a Vatnsnesi, Vestur Hunavatn, died 19 October 1913; and Valgerdur Bjornsdottir, born 9 September 1828 Litla Borg, Breidabolstadir i Vesturhopi, Vestur Hunavatn, died 11 December 1916.
Bjornlaug immigrated to America with her parents Eyjolfur and Valgerdur; they had joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1883. Eyjolfur and Valgerdur and eight of their children emigrated to Spanish Fork, Utah via North Dakota and Helena, Montana. Somewhere in their travels to Utah, Bjornlaug must have met Boas Arnbjornsson, born 3 August 1855 in Ytri-Kleif, Eydalir i Breiddal, Sudur Mula; they showed up in Spanish Fork together in 1885. Boas’ parents are Arnbjorn Sigmundsson, born in 1810; and Gudny Erlendsdottir, born in 1819. They were married on 6 September of 1885. They changed their last name to Anderson.
They had seven children: Bjorn Nul (1884-1885), Thurren Gudrunbjorg Runolfsson (1886), Elenbjorg Ellen, Kari (1888-1966), Boas Eyjolfur Bruce (1891-1937), Valgerdur Audbjorg, Richter (1893-1959), Valdemar George Washington, (1895-1979), and Rose (1897-1969).
Bjornlaug was a fun-loving and always had a sense of humor. Like the rest of the family, she loved music and would often sing to the children. Like many Icelanders Bjornlaug was superstitious. She had a large leghorn rooster which she believed would come to the kitchen door and crow when someone was coming for coffee.Boas died 28 March 1908. Bjornlaug married Runolfur Runolfsson 16 September 1921. Runolfur was born 10 April 1851 at Draumbaer, Vestmannaeyjar. His parents are Runolfur Magnusson, born 22 February 1818 in Kross, Rangarvalla, died 20 March 1894; and Ingiridur Bjornsdottir, born in 1817 in Vestmannaeyjar, died 4 July 1870. Runolfur died 20 January 1929.
Bjornlaug died 23 November 1942 in Spanish Fork, Utah and is buried in the Spanish Fork City Cemetery. Bjornlaug went by Legga Anderson or Lauga Anderson in Utah. She is number 2 in Icelanders of Utah.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Leifur and the Westlands

Leifur was a rowdy man.
He knew the perils of the sea,
and war that culls the herds of men.
When he heard Bjarni sailed
to Eirik’sfjord from Eyrarbakki
and saw an unknown land with forests
taller than the heights of Hekla,
imagination tugged at his desire.
He sought adventure and
the riches of respect,
the wealth of what the unknown,
far away had hidden in the silence
of its cryptic promise.

He purchased Bjarni’s boat,
sailed toward the western sky
where clouds are made.
They searched the sea. Bjarni
left no trail upon the waves.
His reckoning was sunless days
and how the ocean tasted.

The shore at Helluland was bare and broken.
At Markland, the sea drank rivers
spurting from the ice and snow.
Trees gathered at the water’s edge
like giants making muster when the Giallar horn
calls gods to Ragnarok. Skraelings,
dark and glowering, skulked
among the ferns and in the ivy.

Vinland was a buxom land,
voluptuous and sweeter
than an Icelandic maiden’s lips.
It sagged with nature’s goodness
rich upon the branches of the trees
and ripe upon the drooping vines.

They wintered on the windy plain
of L’Anse aux Meadows. When the sun
had driven frost to where the daylight ends,
they gathered grapes and timber,
took them as their bona fides
for the stories of adventure
that their brothers might believe.

When Leifur and his men
returned to Iceland,
he was called “The Lucky,”
for whim of fortune
had attended to his need.
It crowned him with a greater fame
than even Eirik knew.
And so, to Saints, not ruffian gods,
he offered recompense in prayer
on bended knee as he
fingered sacred beads at Kross.

D. Gary Christian
Santa Clara, Utah
February 22, 2008

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter in Iceland

Easter in Iceland

In Icelandic Easter is páskar. The Sunday before Easter is Palm Sunday (Palmasunnudagur). This is to celebrate the day that Jesus entered Jerusalem and people gathered to greet him with palm leaves. The following Thursday is Sheer Day, also called Maundy Thursday (Skirdagur). This is the day of the Last Supper, the day that Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. The word sheer originally meant "pure" and refers (in this case) to the purification of the soul. This also became the day that one would bathe after the sackcloth and ashes of Lent. Sheer day is celebrated much like Easter, with a special breakfast and church services. Most businesses run on their Sunday schedule, or are closed. The next day is Good Friday, or Long Friday (Fostudagurinn langi). This day commemorates the day that Christ spent on the cross. The term Long Friday; therefore, refers to the feeling that suffering passes slowly. Children are traditionally forbidden to play, and some families spank there children this day for all the sins the have committed and not been punished for. All businesses are closed.

It is customary in Iceland for families to get together and enjoy a family lunch or dinner during the Easter holidays. There is no tradition of the Easter bunny – it is not known in Iceland (nor is there any understanding of the connection between rabbits and eggs!), and therefore Easter egg hunts are unknown as well. Nonetheless, children are given chocolate Easter eggs on Easter Sunday, from their parents and grandparents. The chocolate eggs are often hallow and come in different sizes, and contain sweets and a note with a saying on it. The big ones are decorated with a bow, and a chick sits on top. The eggs are made of delicious creamy chocolate, and of course everyone would like to get Easter eggs as big as possible.

The Icelandic Easter tradition is young, since the date of Easter was too early in the calendar to be considered a spring festival. The arrival of spring was celebrated on a later date, on sumardagurinn fyrsti, literally the first day of summer. Presents were distributed and people symbolically began with their spring work. There is no school on sumardagurinn fyrsti.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Sagas of Icelanders

The Sagas are exceptional tales of everyday life and historical events that were kept alive in the oral tradition for two to three hundred years before they were recorded in the written format. The Sagas are not typical heroic literature, but rather tales of flesh and blood people burdened with heroic legacy in the Viking tradition of blood vengeance. They are deeply rooted in the real world of their day, concise and straightforward in style; the Sagas explore perennial human problems; love and hate, fate and freedom, crime and punishment, travel and exile. Read one Saga and you have the craze for another and another. The Sagas tell of the Viking age, the Icelandic laws and justice system that made up the Althing and the conversion of Icelanders to Christianity. The Sagas of the Icelanders rank with the world’s greatest literary treasures.
The Complete Sagas of Icelanders including 49 tales, a five volume set, was translated into English and published by the Leifur Eiriksson Publishing in 1997. These five volumes contain the first complete, coordinated English translation of The Sagas of Icelanders, forty in all, together with forty-nine of the shorter Tales of Icelanders.

The Sagas are the most precious possession of the Icelandic people. They have been preserved first on vellum and then on paper. The manuscripts show wear meaning that have been used. The Icelandic Saga manuscripts were collected and moved to Sweden and Denmark in the sixteenth century. Árni Magnússon spent much of his life collecting the manuscripts of the Icelandic Sagas. He lived in Denmark and on his deathbed, in 1730; he left all of his manuscripts to the University of Copenhagen.
Iceland regained its independents from Denmark in four stages. It received a separate constitution in 1874, home rule in 1904, independence under dual monarchy in 1918 and full independence in 1944. As part of these settlements the Icelandic manuscripts that had been taken to Denmark were to be returned. This process started in 1928 and took until 1971 for all of the manuscripts to be returned to Iceland.

The manuscripts are now located at Árnagarður, named after Árni Magnússon, it was built in 1966-70 jointly by the University of Iceland and the Árni Magnússon Institute in Iceland. By law, the function of the Institute is to increase the knowledge of the language, literature and history of the Icelandic people. It is also to preserve the manuscripts and documents that have been returned to Iceland from Denmark.

Many of Iceland’s national treasures are on display in the Culture House’s featured exhibition Medieval Manuscripts – Eddas and Sagas. It includes the principal medieval manuscripts, such as Codex Regius of the Poetic Edda and the compendium Flateyjarbók, as well as law codices and Christian works, not to forget the Sagas of Icelanders. Important paper manuscripts from later centuries are also displayed.

The ancient vellum manuscripts preserve the Northern classical heritage: unique sagas, poems and narratives which are often our sole written sources of information on the society, religion and world view of the people of Northern Europe from pagan times through the tumult of Viking Expansion, the settlement of the Atlantic Islands and the period of Christianization.

The exhibition focuses on the period preceding the writing of the manuscripts, their origins and role, manuscript collecting, editions, and on their reception in Iceland and abroad. It also portrays the process of book making itself: preparing the vellum and ink, writing, illuminating etc. are explained in a special exhibit area.

Icelanders and the descendants of Icelanders, have no greater duty than to preserve and cultivate this heritage as best we can. The Icelandic Sagas and the Tales of Icelanders constitute a remarkable chapter in world cultural history. Iceland possesses very few visible remains from the glorious ancient period. There are no buildings in the country, and few objects dating back from the Middle Ages. The manuscripts of the Sagas are to Icelanders what castles and palaces are to other European nations.

What is known about the Viking age came from the Sagas written in Iceland in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Although they were written two centuries after the fact they describe a believable account of what took place. Erik the Red’s Saga and the Greenlanders’ Saga gave a vivid account of the discovery of Vinland which latter became America. These tales were, until 1960, considered not to be based on real memories. In 1960 Helga and Anne Stine found at L’Anse aux Meadow in Newfoundland what has been identified as the settlement of Leif Eiriksson in “Vinland” of the Sagas.

Islendingabok or Saga of the Icelanders concerns the affairs of the people who lived between about 930 to 1030, at the height of the Icelandic Commonwealth. They are tales of wealthy and powerful farmers and historical events that actually took place in Iceland and the rest of the Norse world at that time.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


Born 7 February 1849 at Draumbaer, Vestmannaeyjar, the son of Runolfur Magnusson, born 22 February 1818 in Kross, Rangarvalla, died 20 March 1894; and Ingiridur Bjornsdottir, born in 1817 in Vestmannaeyjar, died 4 July 1870. Bjorn was married to Sigridur Sigvaldadottir in 1878; Sigridur was born 14 August 1851 in Skagafjordur, died 16 January 1939 in Spanish Fork, Utah.

Bjorn joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and was baptized 9 May 1874. He was excommunicated for apostasy two years later; however, he and his wife were baptized again 25 March 1883 by Elder Petur Valgardsson. Bjorn remained a faithful member of the Church. Bjorn and his family immigrated to Spanish Fork, Utah in 1887.

Bjorn followed the trade of carpentry and shoemaker; he was often called a jack of all trades, as he could do almost anything that required skill and patience. He died 27 August 1932 and is buried in the Spanish Fork City Cemetery. He was known as Ben Runolfson in Spanish Fork. His death certificate lists him as Bjorn Runolfsen. He is number 317 in Icelanders of Utah.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Utah Þorrablót 2009

The Icelandic Association of Utah held one of its annual activities on Saturday, 28 February 2009, at the Veterans Memorial Building in Spanish Fork. One of the goals of the Icelandic Association of Utah is to celebrate and perpetuate the common interest in culture and heritage of Iceland, through activities. Þorrablót is one of the several annual activities sponsored by the Icelandic Association of Utah to help in obtaining their goal. Þorrablót is held annual in Utah on the last Saturday of February. This evening of celebration was at one time held to celebrate the fact that you made it through the dreadful Icelandic winter.
Þorrablót is traditionally observed by serving the food that was eaten in Iceland at the time of the Vikings, before modern refrigeration. The food was salted, smoked, pickled, fermented, or cured. These foods are called Þorramatur in Icelandic. These foods are not to the liking of many of the guests of the Icelandic Association of Utah at Þorrablót. The Icelandic Association had a smorgasbord of pulled lamb, Icelandic haddock, rutabaga, red cabbage and glazed potatoes. There were samples of; flatbrauð (flat bread), hangikjöt (hung meat… smoked lamb), lifrarpylsa (liver pudding), hrútspungar (pickled lamb testicles), harðfiskur (dried fish), and hákarl (fermented shark); available for those willing to try the traditional Þorramatur. Thelma María Marinósdóttir (Thelma Moreland) was on hand to talk about the Þorramatur, explaining what it was and how it was used in Iceland.
The Icelandic Association of Utah not only uses Þorrablót to celebrate the end on the coldest part of winter they also use it to introduce those the association will honor for the coming year. The yearly honorees of the Icelandic Association of Utah are those in the Utah Icelandic community that have contributed to their Icelandic heritage in Utah by helping 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.
The honorees for 2009 are; Krege B. Christensen, Norma Bearnson Jones, and Lynette Johnson Reynolds. Krege and Norma were on hand to receive their acknowledgements, but Lynette, was unable to attend due to health problems. These honorees will be honored by their families at the Iceland Days Family Festival on 27 June in Spanish Fork.
The Icelandic Association of Utah also used Þorrablót to make the announcement that three Utah young people of Icelandic descent will attend the 2009 Snorri Program in Iceland, Raili Mae Bjarnson, Rebekah Mason, and Daniel Leifson. The Snorri Program is an opportunity for young people (18-28) of Icelandic origin living in Canada and the United States of America, to discover the country, culture, nature and language of their ancestors, and to create or strengthen bonds with relatives living in Iceland. The Snorri Program offers an exciting six-week adventure starting in mid June to the end of July. The program offers a unique experience of the country, its nation, culture and nature. The Icelandic Association offers a scholarship to help with the costs of this wonderful program. There are only 14 Snorri participants each year, so for Utah to have three participants this year is an honor.
I have seen the effect of the Snorri Program on the participants in Canada and now Lyle Christensen a Spanish Fork participant last year. They develop a bond for Iceland and their Icelandic heritage that will help the various Iceland clubs in North America to continue for years.
Þorrablót in Spanish Fork was a sold out activity, the tables were crowded with ten to a table rather than the customary eight, which made it a little crowded and uncomfortable. Icelandic culture in Utah and especially in Spanish Fork, Utah is not in any danger of going away. Activities like Þorrablót, Iceland Days and the many other activities of the Icelandic Association of Utah have ensured the interest in Icelandic culture in Spanish Fork, Utah for many years to come.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Bárður Einarsson

Bardur Einarsson was born 10 September 1875 at Vestmannaeyjar. His parents are Einar Eiriksson, born 30 December 1847 at Medalfell, Bjarnanes i Hornafirdi, Austur Skaftafell, died 18 May 1930 in Cleveland, Utah; and Gudrun Magnusdottir, born 29 June 1840 in Iceland, died 18 May 1930 in Price, Utah. His parents were members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. When Bardur was born, the Lutheran priest notified his parents that the law required that he baptize Bardur by sprinkling. Einar, against the baptizing of his infant, had a long conversation with the priest before the priest performed the sermon. Einar petitioned the government later that year asking for the privilege to be given to all those who may not be members of the Lutheran Church to raise their children in accordance with their own faith, if both parents were of the same faith. This request was granted, and the Mormons were no longer required to have their children sprinkled.
Bardur immigrated to Spanish Fork, Utah with his mother, Gudrun Magnusdottir, in 1880. His father followed that same year. Bardur moved to Cleveland, Utah with his parents in 1889. He married Mary Helena Johnson 7 July 1894, died 8 January 1955. He also married Minnie Hansen 28 July 1958.
Bardur died in Ferron, Utah 22 July 1970 and is buried in the Cleveland Cemetery. He went by Bardur Erickson in Utah; he is number 95 in Icelanders of Utah.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Bill Holm

Minnesota author Bill Holm dies at 65
St. Paul, Minn. — Essayist and poet Bill Holm was nationally known for his distinctly Minnesotan writing.
He's the author of several works, including "Boxelder Bug Variations," "Coming Home Crazy," and "Playing the Black Piano."
In 2007, Holm wrote "Windows of Brimnes: an American in Iceland." It was named for his cottage near a small fishing village in Iceland, where he spent his summers.
His friends and colleagues compare Holm to Walt Whitman and Henry David Thoreau for writing so devotedly about his home town of Minneota.
They also compare him to Mark Twain, because of his tendency to mix affection and humor with harsh political criticism.
Just this past May Holm won the prestigious McKnight Distinguished Artist Award, which is given to people who could work elsewhere but choose to stay in Minnesota and contribute to the state's cultural life.
"We are losing his authenticity, we are losing his love for the land, for Minnesota itself, and we are really losing one of our greatest authors," said Vicki Benson, arts program director for McKnight.
Milkweed Editions published much of Holm's work, and director Daniel Slager said those works had a sense of appreciation for the people he wrote about.
“The farther away from Minnesota that I got, the more I realized that my material as a writer …had something to do with this funny little town where I was born.” –Bill Holm
"I was particularly drawn to Bill's non-fiction, which combines an interesting political sensibility -- constantly vigilant defense of little people, powerless people, and a constant suspicion of power and its workings," said Slager. "But never excessively earnest, always infused with good humor, and with real love and respect for people from all walks of life."
Holm was born in 1943 on a farm north of Minneota, Minn., and continued to live in Minneota while teaching at Southwest State. Holm taught for 27 years before retiring in late 2007.
While he traveled widely over the years -- to Europe, to China and to Africa -- and spent summers in the Iceland of his ancestors, Holm told MPR in a 2008 interview that he kept coming back to Minneota.
"The farther away from Minnesota that I got, the more I realized that my material as a writer -- not just the material, but the way that I saw the world and the lens through which I observed American, the world and my life was somehow -- had something to do with this funny little town where I was born."
Holm was an occasional guest on A Prairie Home Companion radio show on American Public Media. The program's host, Garrison Keillor, called Holm a great man.
"And unlike most great men, he really looked like one. 6 foot 8 inches, big frame, and a big white beard and a shock of white hair, a booming voice, so he loomed over you like a prophet and a preacher, which is what he was," said Keillor.
"I wish I'd been there to catch him as he fell," Keillor continued. "I hope his Icelandic ancestors are waiting to welcome him to their rocky corner of heaven. I hope his piano goes to someone who will love it as much as he did. I hope that people all across Minnesota will pick up one of his books and see what the man had to say."
Holm died Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2009 at the Avera Heart Hospital in Sioux Falls, S.D., according to Rehkamp-Horvath Funeral Directors.
Funeral services are pending.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Daniel H. Ludlow

Daniel H. Ludlow 1924 ~ 2009 Daniel H. Ludlow, 84, died February 14, 2009 in Provo of causes incident to age. He died peacefully at home surrounded by his wife and all of his children.Born March 17, 1924, to Daniel and Wilma Hansen Ludlow in Benjamin, Utah. Married Luene Leifson on June 10, 1942, in the Salt Lake Temple. Survived by wife; one son, and seven daughters: Victor (V-Ann) Ludlow, Sandra Ludlow, Diane (Doyle) Asay, LuAnn Rothe, Carolyn (Brent) Sweeny, Kathy (Mark) Smith, Shauna (Darrell) Smith, Michelle (Garr) Judd; as well as forty-two grandchildren and sixty-four great-grandchildren. Preceded in death by both parents; a daughter, Ruth (Nate) Pierce; a son-in-law, Ed Rothe; and a sister, Margaret. Survived also by brothers and sisters from his mother's later marriage after his father's death to D. Raymond LeBaron: Anna Rae (Gilbert) Nelson; Dollene (Ben) Nason; Garn Q. (Barbara) LeBaron (half-brother); and Nona (Joe Lynn) Spencer (half-sister). Preceded in death by stepbrother Charles D. (Shirley) LeBaron. He also considered his wife's family as his own. Attended schools in Benjamin, Goshen, and Spanish Fork. Attended college at Utah State, where he was elected student-body president twice (1942-46); Indiana University (Masters); and Columbia University (Doctorate). Taught at Utah State (1947-1952) and Brigham Young University (1955-1972), where he served as Dean of Religious Instruction and Director of Institute of Mormon Studies. Received an honorary doctorate degree from BYU in 1995. Served as Director of Correlation Department of the LDS Church for 15 years. Also taught at BYU-Hawaii campus, served as Director of Teacher Support Services for the Church Education System, served on the Scriptures Publication Committee of the LDS Church and served as Editor-in-chief of the "Encyclopedia of Mormonism" published by Macmillan Publishers. Founded and served as the first Director of the BYU Semester Abroad in Israel, and the Faculty Study Tour of the Lands of the Scriptures. Has directed many tours to Israel (often including nearby countries), Central America, Mexico and conducted numerous Church History tours. Served in many leadership positions, including Branch President; member of: a bishopric, four high councils, and two stake presidencies; Regional Representative of the Twelve; President of Australia Perth Mission; and an ordained temple worker. Author of several books (including a series of scripture references), numerous magazine articles, and chapters in Church manuals. Enjoyed sports, gardening, playing games with the family, golfing, fishing, camping, genealogy, and traveling. Had a great love of learning and teaching. Special thanks to Verna, Dana, Jonathan and Luke from Alpine Hospice for their wonderful care. Visitations will be Tuesday, February 17, 2009, at the Provo Walker Mortuary located at 85 East 300 South, Provo from 5:00-8:00 p.m., as well as Wednesday, February 18, 2009, from 9:00-10:30 a.m. at the LDS church located at 2400 North 1060 East, Provo. Memorial services will follow on Wednesday, February 18, 2009, at 11:00 a.m. in the LDS church at 2400 North 1060 East, Provo. In lieu of flowers please donate to the LDS Perpetual Education Fund. Interment in Benjamin, Utah Cemetery.
Published in the Deseret News from 2/16/2009 - 2/17/2009

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Auðrósa Eyjólfsdóttir

Auðrósa Eyjólfsdóttir was born 2 May 1857 at Tjorn a Vatnsnesi, Vestur Hunavatn, the daughter of Eyjolfur Gudmundsson, born 11 October 1829 at Illugastadir, Tjorn a Vatnsnesi, Vestur Hunavatn, died 19 October 1913 in Utah; and Valgerdur Bjornsdottir, born 9 September 1828, died 11 December 1916. Audrosa’s father was from Eyjabakki, Tjorn a Vatnsnesi, Vestur Hunavatn, well known everywhere in the north for his care of the watershed of the eider ducks. Audrosa was partially blind; the cause was blamed on dust from the eiderdown. Audrosa married Jon Bjornsson born 24 August 1843.
Eyjolfur Gudmundsson and his family became members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and immigrated to Utah. They did stay in Helena, Montana for a time before coming to Spanish Fork in 1885. One of the reasons for the emigration to Utah was in hopes that the blessings of the elders could cure Audrosa.
Jon and Audrosa had a large family: Eygerdur Adrois 1885-1896; Bjarnveig Christine 1888, married Fred Hurst; Jonina 1890-1957, married Richard Eugene Harrison; Johannah 1890-1891; Serenna 1892-1892; Sarah 1892-1892; Martha 1895, married Frank Stubbs Taylor; Margret 1895-1927, married Frank Fjeldsted; Hjalmur John 1898-1972, married Faunella Adams; and John 1900-1909. Audrosa cared for these children, although she totally lost her eyesight. She died 22 March 1941. In Utah she was known as Rosa Jameson. She is number 127 in Icelanders of Utah.

Friday, January 23, 2009

The old Icelandic month of Þorri

The Old Norse Calendar is often broken down into two groups often referred to as "winter months" and "summer months". The midwinter month of Þorri always begins on the Friday after January 19th. The midwinter feast Þorrablót was held to celebrate that winter is half over and we survived without starvation or serious illness.
The first day of Þorri is called Bóndadagur or "Husband's Day/Farmer's Day", and is dedicated to men (formerly only farmers). Earlier it was only the husband who was treated with better food the first day of Þorri, as a credit for bringing the family through half the winter. As time passed all other people in the household where also given more and better food on this day.
In 2009 the old month of Þorri begins on 23 January the last day of Þorri is on Saturday 21 February.
Icelanders serve food for Þorrablót that was regularly eaten in the time of the Vikings and Icelanders in and before the 19th Century. With no refrigerator, the Vikings and the farmers of Iceland used other methods to preserve the food during long cold winters. Food was smoked, soured, salted, and dried; this food has become the food served at Þorrablót as a tribute to the Old Icelandic culture. Some food or Þorramatur served at Þorrablót are: Hangikjot (smoked lamb), Svið (jellied sheep's head), Hrútspungur (cured ram testicles), Bringukollar (breast meat), Lifrarpylsa (liver sausage), Harðfiskur (dried fish, served with butter), Kartöflustappa (mashed sweetened potatoes), Rófustappa (mashed rutabagas), and Rúgbrauð (rye bread).
Traditional Þorrablót’s are an evening filled with drinking and dancing along with the Old Icelandic feast. In Utah we have forgone the traditional; Brennivín (caraway schnapps), or Bjór (beer), for soft drinks. It is still an evening full of fun as we celebrate with Icelanders around the world in remembering the past. So far we have held off those that find the Þorramatur not to their liking by serving roasted lamb and baked or fried cod or haddock. Some have suggested that we should have Þorri chicken, Þorri prime rib, grilled Þorri steak, Þorri pizza, Þorri lasagna, and other such stuff. This is not really Þorramatur, of course, and in my opinion, people who would like a Þorrablót with this stuff would be better off going out to dinner and seeing a show. They, for sure, would be missing out on the special experience of Þorrablót and the tribute to our Icelandic culture of the past.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

IAU 2009 Membership Drive

The Icelandic Association of Utah is now holding its annual membership drive.

Please consider becoming a member of the Icelandic Association of Utah. It takes a lot of members to keep this organization going. You are the next generation of Icelanders in Utah and the association needs your support. They only ask for $15.00 per year.

Memberships make it possible to celebrate our Icelandic culture and heritage in Utah by having many activities such as: Thorrablot (importing Icelandic food, renting the building, door prizes…); participate in Scandinavian Heritage Days in Ephriam, Utah; Iceland Days Festival; maintenance for the Icelandic Memorial in Spanish Fork; resources (training materials, supplies, research books from Iceland and etc.) for the Family History Center in Spanish Fork: hosting of visiting Icelanders; newsletters (printing and postage); affiliate membership in the Icelandic National League of North America; and many other activities.

Mission Statement
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.

Take the time, today, to send in your membership.

IAU 2009 Annual Membership ¨ *Family $15.00 ¨ Individual $10.00
* Family members must reside at the same address.
Others over 18 years old at the same address _________________________________________
Address ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­________________________________________________________________
City _________________________________ State _______________ Zip __________
Phone _______ _______ ___________ Cell _______ _______ ___________
Email Address ___________________________________________________________
Volunteers are vital to the success of the events of the Icelandic Association, how would like to help? _______________________________________________________________________
Mail to:
Icelandic Association of Utah
P.O. Box 874
Spanish Fork, UT 84660

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Eiríkur Ólafsson

Eiríkur Ólafsson (Eirikur Olafsson) was born 14 November 1823 in Steinar, Rangarvalla. His parents are Olafur Sigurdsson, born 29 July 1793, died 25 October 1854; and Helga Eiriksdottir, born about 1791. Eirikur married Runhildur Runolfsdottir, born 17 May 1823 in Heidi, Reynir i Myrdal, Vestur Skaftafell. Her parents are Runolfur Sigurdsson, born in 1798 in Kross, Rangarvalla, died 19 June 1862; and Ingveldur Jonsdottir, born in 1798 in Dyrholar i Myrdal, Vestur Skaftafell, died 13 April 1868 at Skaganes, Reynir i Myrdal, Vestur Skaftafell. Eirikur and Runhildur had four children: Olafur, born 1852; Ingveldur 1854-1930; Skuli 1853-1907; and Sveinn born 1856.
Eirikur and Runhildur joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and were baptized by Elder Jakob B. Jonsson on 30 April 1881. Eirikur, Runhildur and their daughter Ingveldur and her son Thorbjorn Thorvaldsson left Iceland 7 July 1881 with a group of 22 Icelandic Saints for America. Runhildur became ill and died while enroute to Spanish Fork, Utah; she is buried at North Platte, Nebraska. Eirikur remained behind to see the burial of his wife; however, his daughter and her son continued on to Utah. The group of Saints arrived in Salt Lake City 8 August 1881. They went directly to Spanish Fork, Utah. Ingveldur and her son stayed with Thordur Didriksson until Eirikur arrived in Spanish Fork 28 August 1881.
Eirikur Olafsson went to Iceland to serve as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint in 1882. His service as a missionary was not the same as that of others who had served as missionaries in Iceland. In 1882 Eirikur reported that his name was called as a missionary in the spring conference in 1882. When he arrived in Salt Lake City he received no letter of appointment and was not set apart like other missionaries, nor did he receive the priesthood, which is given to missionaries before they depart. He felt impressed to go to Iceland and do missionary work without the proper authority.
Eirikur Olafsson went to Iceland with missionaries Elders Gisli Einasson (Bjarnason) and Peter Valgardsson. Eirikur was ordained an elder by Elder Gisli Einasson 7 June 1883, according to instructions received from the president of the Scandinavian Mission. He later apostatized.
Eirikur had written a book before returning to Iceland with the missionaries. The book served as a witness for truth and explained the errors of men by means of quotations from the Bible. Eirikur had one thousand copies of his book printed in Copenhagen, Denmark at his own expense of sixty dollars. He sold his books in districts in Iceland that had not been previously visited by Mormon missionaries. When he arrived in Reykjavik he had problems with the local authorities. He conversed with many priests in Iceland about religious topics. They differed much in their conception, and some became very angry with him, while others acknowledged that the Mormon doctrine was right and said they would be baptized as soon as the bishop would. He visited with hundreds of families and conversed with thousands of people concerning the truth and the commandments of God. Many acknowledged that the Mormon doctrines were true, but at the same time believed that their doctrines were good enough to save them.
He returned to Spanish Fork, Utah in 1883, where he remained for ten years. He then sold his home and went to visit his son Sveinn, in Independence, Missouri. Eirikur lived with him for a year and then went to Canada. He returned to Iceland and married Gudfinna Saemundsdottir, born 2 October 1865; her parents are Saemundur Jonsson, born 13 June 1829, died 13 November 1906; and Gudfinna Jonsdottir, born 8 June 1824, died 8 August 1878. It is said that when Eirikur married Gudfinna, he wanted a Mormon marriage, as he held the highest office in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Iceland at that time. He performed his own marriage ceremony before three witnesses. There was such uproar over it, he wrote to the King of Denmark, telling him of the circumstance. The King sent back his approval of the marriage. A circular was printed with this sanction on it and delivered with the morning paper.
Eirikur later apostiziesed from the Mormon Faith and published another book, tearing to pieces all that he had written and published the first time. The books written by Eirikur were used as research by Halldor Laxness when he wrote Paradise Reclaimed in 1960. Eirikur was one of the characters the novel.
Eirikur was generally known as Eirikur from Brunum. Eirikur died in Iceland 14 October 1900 in Reykjavik. He is number 291 in Icelanders of Utah.