Thursday, December 29, 2011

Fréttir - 2

1 January 2012
Newsletter #2


The Snorri program is a unique opportunity for young people 18-28 of Icelandic origin living in Canada and the United States, to discover their roots in a six-week summer program in Iceland. The application deadline is 22 January 2012.
The Snorri Plus Program is a two-week cultural program in August for those who are over 30. It is suitable for people of Icelandic descent and people who have true passion for Iceland.
The application deadline for Snorri Plus is 26 January 2012.
Visit for more information and an application.


Since 1919, the 'Icelandic National League of North America' has been meeting the needs of their members in many various ways, including local clubs where members can interact and participate with one another. Although the benefits of joining a local club are immeasurable, it has not been an option for members living outside the radius of local clubs. Realizing the needs of those members, the INL of NA has been exploring the benefits of technology to meet those needs, and are excited to announce the addition of a new, interactive, online club called the 'Icelandic Online Club.'
By creating an online club, the INL of NA feels this will allow members who are unable to participate in a local club due to their location, to be able to participate in an interactive online club, by using various methods of technology to meet the needs of its online members. Although this cannot replace the personal interaction provided by participating in a local club, it will allow those that were never able to participate, to benefit from being in an Icelandic club. The new online club will be a fully participating chapter of the INL of NA, members will have access to 'Icelandic National League' information, voting rights at the annual Convention, and inclusion in INL of NA projects.
The INL of NA will be launching the new interactive, 'Icelandic Online Club' December 31, 2011. For additional information on the club or how to join, go to . Help spread the word to others, or be one of the first to join the new online club! The club is available to all Icelanders, people of Icelandic decent, and people interested in all things Icelandic.


Mr. Gudmundur A. Stefansson, Ambassador of Iceland to the United States from 1 October 2011. Gudmundur was appointed Ambassador in the Icelandic Foreign Service on 1 September 2005. He served as Ambassador of Iceland to Sweden from 1 November 2005. He was Mayor of the Town of Hafnarfjördur 1986–1993


The Northern Lights exist in the outmost layer of the atmosphere. They are created by electrically charged particles that make the thin air shine, not unlike a fluorescent light. They can be seen in auroral belts that forms 20-25 degrees around the geomagnetic poles, both the north and the south. The Northern Lights, also called Aurora Borealis are one of the most spectacular shows on this earth and can frequently be seen in Iceland from September through April on clear and crisp nights. The Northern Lights occur high above the surface of the earth where the atmosphere has become extremely thin, in an altitude of 100-250km.
What causes this spectacular phenomenon, so characteristic of our northern lights in Iceland? Well, it's electricity that does it - and of course it all goes back to the sun. Tiny particles, protons and electrons caused by electronic storms on the sun (solar wind) are trapped in the earth's magnetic field and the begin to spiral back and forth along the magnetic lines of force - circle around the magnetic pole, so to speak. While rushing around endlessly in their magnetic trap, some particles escape into the earth's atmosphere. They begin to hit molecules in the atmosphere and these impacts cause the molecules to glow, thus creating the auroras.

White and green are usually the dominant colors but sometimes there are considerable color variations, as the pressure and composition of the atmosphere varies at different altitudes. At extremely high altitudes where the pressure is low, there tends to be a reddish glow produced by oxygen molecules when they are struck by the tiny particles of the solar wind. At lower altitudes, where there is higher pressure, their impact-irritated oxygen molecules may glow with a greenish tinge and sometimes there is a reddish lower border created by particles colliding with nitrogen molecules in the immediate vicinity.
The phenomenon is easily explained by modern science. What our ancestors may have thought when they gazed into the brightly-lit winter sky is quite another matter. But by all means don't let any scientific explanation spoil your appreciation of the beauty of the Northern Lights. They are a truly impressive spectacle, whatever their cause.
This year the Northern Lights in Iceland are predicted to more visible than most years. Generally, the period between November and April are the best months to see the Northern lights. Iceland Travel offers various northern lights tours, both shorter packages which include different activities, as well as day tours with the sole purpose to see the spectacular Aurora Borealis.


GUÐRÚN JÓNSDÓTTIR (Gudrun Jonsdottir) was born 3 January 1859 in Vestmannaeyjar, the daughter of Jon Erlendsson, born on 19 July 1834, died 18 March 1898; and Margret Arnadottir, born 6 June 1837, died 28 July 1921. Gudrun married Jakob Bjornsson, born 22 November 1861.
Gudrun and Jakob immigrated to Utah in 1892 with their daughter Johanna Jakobsdottir, born in 1892. Jakob built a nice home in Spanish Fork, Utah, were his family lived. Gudrun and Jakob had four other children, all born in Spanish Fork, Utah: Jacob Jonathan Bearnson (1894-1915), Elnora Groa Christine Bearnson (1898-1963), Robena Bearnson (1902-1902), and Robert Ingersol Bearnson (1903-1951). Gudrun died 14 February 1942 and is buried in the Spanish Fork City Cemetery. In Utah she was known as Gudrun E. Bearnson.

David A. Ashby

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Fréttir - 1

1 December 2011
Newsletter #1

Góðan daginn
I am going to try and publish a monthly newsletter beginning with this one. If you would like to contribute please send me your contribution. I do reserve the right to accept and publish your contribution. If I choose not to publish your contribution I will let you know why.
I will not be sending out notifications by email in the future. You can only receive notifications of new posts (monthly newsletter) on this blog, just enter your email address at the right and submit.
Bless, David

David A. 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 or involved in the planning of their many activities, I will remain a supporter of this organization.
I have written a book, Icelanders Gather to Utah, now available from the Icelandic Association of Utah. Fred E. Woods and Kári Bjarnason are working on a project to collect Icelandic manuscripts and images in both Utah and Iceland which provide information concerning the history of the Icelandic emigrants to Utah during the years 1851 to 1914. I have been helping Fred and Kári with this project. My book will also become part of that project with help from Fred and Kári it will have images, obituaries and other information gathered by Fred and Kári. The new version of the book will then be translated into Icelandic and published by the University of Iceland. We also hope to have an English version published in Utah.

Emigrant of the Month December 2011 - GUÐRÚN ERLENDSDÓTTIR
Guðrun Erlendsdóttir was born 8 July 1850 in Vestmannaeyjar, the daughter of Erlendur Ingjaldsson, born 28 February 1828 at Steina; and Margret Jonsdottir. She was married to Gudmundur Erlendsson, who died. They had one child, Vigfus, born 14 July 1868, died 17 March 1927. She then married Eyjolfur Eiriksson, born 26 February 1853 at Nyjabaer, Holt, Rangarvalla. They had two children: Jon Karl, born 20 December 1878, died 24 November 1925; and Valgerdur, born 1881, died 1882 at Council Bluffs, Iowa.
Eyjolfur and Gudrun planed to immigrate to Utah with to her child Vigfus Gudmundsson and their two children Jon Karl and Valgerdur. When it came time to leave, Gudrun was very ill and unable to travel, but she insisted that Eyjolfur and the children go, promising she would join them in Utah when she recovered. Eyjolfur and the children left Iceland 16 July 1882 with a small company of Saints. They sailed from Iceland in the charge of Gudmundur Einarsson, bound for Utah. The children were sick most of the trip. Valgerdur, their baby, died at Council Bluffs, Iowa and is buried there. Neither Eyjolfur nor the other members of the company had enough money to pay for the burial of the child, so the city of Council Bluffs provided the means. Gudrun immigrated the following year. Gudrun, in poor health, lost the use of her limbs and was an invalid the remainder of her life. She died 4 September 1887 and is buried in the Spanish Fork City Cemetery. She went by Gudrun Erickson in Utah.

Exhibit in Vestmannaeyjar
A new, permanent museum exhibit, "Icelandic Heritage among the Mormons" commemorating the Icelandic Mormon heritage was opened July 16, 2011. In attendance were 86 Church members from Selfoss and Reykjavík, Icelandic branches. This exhibit is a result of the work of Fred E. Woods, Professor, Church History & Doctrine, Brigham Young University and Kári Bjarnason, head librarian of the Vestmannaeyjar Library.

Icelandic Migration to and through Utah
Lecture for the Utah Valley Historical Society
By Dr. Fred E. Woods Department of Church History & Doctrine Brigham Young University
November 8, 2011, Dr. Fred E. Woods, lectured at the monthly meeting of the Utah Valley Historical Society in Provo, Utah. There were about 100 in attendance with about one third being members of the Icelandic Association of Utah. For the past dozen years Dr. Woods has studied the Icelandic emigrants to Utah. He has authored several papers on the Icelandic emigrants. He also was the author of the book Fire on Ice, The Story of Icelandic Latter-day Saints at Home and Abroad, published by Religious Study Center at Brigham Young University in 2005. This book was translated into Icelandic and published in Reykjavík in 2007. A DVD Fire on Ice, the Saints of Iceland was produced by Kaleidoscope Pictures. The DVD was based on Fred’s book.

Iceland's Christmas Traditions

Gleðileg jól og farsælt komandi ár "Merry Christmas and Happy New Year"
David and Bonnie Ashby

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Snorri and Snorri Plus

David Johnson from Seattle, although not living in Utah, his roots are with some of the earliest Icelanders to come to Utah. I have not met David in person but have corresponded with him for years. He strongly encourage all his Utah cousins from Iceland to strongly consider Snorri or Snorri Plus in 2012.
See his post: Snorri Plus 2011 - A Major WOW!! By David Johnson

Michelle Curtin, the granddaughter of my second cousin, went to Iceland with Snorri 2011. Michelle posted the Slideshow she made after the Snorri trip to youtube. It is in two parts Part 1 : Part 2

Snorri Plus 2012 will run Thursday, August 16th to Thursday, August 30th and the application DEADLINE is January 26, 2012

Snorri 2012 Program for youth (18 to 29) dates are Friday, June 10th to Friday, July 21st and the DEADLINE is January 12, 2012

Snorri Website

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Leone Jolley

Bertha Leone Turner Jolley passed away September 19, 2011. She was 97 years old. She is the granddaughter of Páll Árnason, known in Utah as Parley Arni Johnson born 22 February 1852 at Vilborgstadur, Vestmannaeyjar and Kristín Eiríksdóttir known in Utah as Christine Eirikson Runolfson. She was born 6 December 1842 at Lagakotey, Medallandsthing, Vestur Skaftafell.

Her obituary is posted in the Daily Herald Saturday, September 24, 2011

Icelandic Heritage among Mormons

"Icelandic Heritage among the Mormons"
The museum exhibit installation at Vestmannaeyjar Folk Museum in Iceland, "Icelandic Heritage among the Mormons," tells the story of early Icelandic Mormons. This exhibit is part of a larger project that will continue for the next four years. Fred Woods from Brigham Young University is working with Kári Bjarnason from the Vestmannaeyjar Folk Museum to collect manuscripts and images in both Utah and Iceland that provide information concerning early Icelandic Mormon history during the years 1851 to 1914.
“People in Iceland are interested in finding out what happened to those who went west with the Church. The exhibit shows this heritage for future generations in Iceland.” Kristjan Geir Mathiesen, Second Counselor Denmark Copenhagen Mission
“The goal of this project is to first, understand why they left and secondly to bridge the gap between those who are living and their ancestors. People want to know more about their own people. They may have different reasons for it, perhaps religion, family ties or just curiosity. Our hope and dream is to bring those 400 people back to life, to tell their stories with their own words, so their descendants can come to know them better. Icelanders have always been interested in their own history. The people who went to Utah are our brothers and sisters. They may be in another faith, but we want to understand and come closer to these people.” Kári Bjarnason, Vestmannaeyjar Folk Museum
“It’s been an incredible opportunity to go into the homes of these people. They get tears in their eyes, and we can see the knitting of their hearts back to their ancestors in Iceland. They are learning about relatives they knew nothing about and it is very rewarding to unite these families back together.” Fred Woods, Brigham Young University
“The important records of our ancestors are disappearing fast, so we must preserve them now. It’s important to know about our heritage, to get to know about our ancestors and their lives. Even though I don’t have personal accounts of my ancestors, I feel close to them. I am proud of my Icelandic heritage.” David Ashby, Past President Icelandic Association of Utah
“Converting to a new religion often means that the proselyte must sacrifice their heritage for the sake of their new faith. This exhibit celebrates the experience of a group of LDS converts who preserved their native identity and did so in a new homeland that was far away from and quite different than the land of their birth. Many converts to Mormonism through the years find that their new religion encourages the preservation of the best of their native traditions.” Steven Olsen, Church History Department

Follow the link below for the full story
Unique project tells story of Icelandic Mormons

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Eexhibit in Vestmannaeyjar commemorates Mormon heritage

Icelandic exhibit commemorates Mormon heritage.
Follow above link to see story

When I was a girl in Iceland

When I was a girl in Iceland
Author: Hólmfrídur Árnadóttir
Published 1919
When I was a girl in Iceland
Click on above link to read on line. The link has a copy of the entire text.
A touching story of life on a 19th Century Icelandic farm, through the clearly fond memories that Hólmfrídur has for her childhood and native land.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Jack Christianson

Jack Christianson passed away. He is the grandson of Eggert Kristjánsson an Icelandic immigrant to Utah.
Read his Obituary in the Daily Herald

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Iceland Monument in Spanish Fork, Utah

In 1938, a lighthouse monument honoring the Icelanders that settled in Utah was built on the east bench in Spanish Fork at 800 East and Canyon Road. Andrew Jensen, a historian for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, dedicated the monument on 2 August 1938, as part of the annual 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. The lighthouse reflects the seafaring background of the Icelanders.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Garden of Eden

Eden Greenhouse in Hveragerdi, Iceland burned yesterday, Fire broke out shortly after midnight on 22 July 2011. The building was a total loss. Bardur Gunnarsson said "it is a sad evening in Hvergerdi. Eden has been serving our people for over fifty years and is gone just like that in a moment of a one evening."
I last visited Eden in 2005, it was closed in 2010 when I was in Iceland. I took the picture below in 2005.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Vestmannaeyjar, Iceland

Only Heimaey of the 15 Westman Islands is inhabited. The climate in Vestmannaeyjar is some what changeable, and frequently windy. The average temperature in the winter is about 2 C. and in the summer 19.7 C. The Westman Islands are traditionally one of the most imprtant fishing communities in Iceland, with only about 2% of the population of Iceland the islanders are responsible for about 10% of the annual catch.
In the early mourning of 23 January 1973 a volcanic eruption began near Mount Helgafell. Some 400 of the islands 1350 homes were buried under volcanic ash. With several being distoried. Somehow only one life was lost.

Many of the Icelandic emigrants to Utah came from Vestmannaeyjar. Including my own Great Grandfather, Eyjolfur Eriksson. Eyjolfur was born 26 February 1854 at Nyibaer, Holt undir Eyjafjollum, Rangarvalla. He worked as a fisherman and later was a sailor. He moved to Vestmannaeyjar and lived at Holshus in Vestmannaeyjar.
16 July 2011 an exhibit was opened in the library at Vestmannaeyjar honoring the emigrants to Utah. Fred Woods wrote to me; "The opening of the exhibit went so well. The spirit was poured out in great abundance. 86 Icelandic Saints were in attendance. Our dream came true for a permanent museum exhibit at Vestmannaeyjar."
Thanks again for all your help.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Spanish Fork, Utah - Icelandic Memorial

Icelandic Memorial
800 East Canyon Road, Spanish Fork, Utah
Dedicated by Gordon B. Hinckley, 25 June 2005

In 1938 the Icelandic Association of Utah along with Daughters of Utah Pioneers placed a beautiful monument to honor the first Icelandic setters to North America at 800 E. Canyon Rd. in Spanish Fork. That monument honors the first sixteen who came to Utah.
The Icelandic Association of Utah board of directors felt the desire to honor all of those who immigrated to Utah by erecting a “wall of honor” to name each of those who sacrificed so dearly. In addition to the “wall of honor” the grounds around the monument have been up-dated by providing wheel-chair access, new landscaping and benches, a rock from Iceland and story plaques that tells the 150 year story of the Icelandic settlement in Utah, in 8 short paragraphs.
The monument is an inviting place to visit and remember. This project was completed for the Sesquicentennial Celebration June 23-26, 2005.

Saturday, May 7, 2011


Gudrun was born 5 October 1875 in Vestmannaeyjar, the daughter of Einar Jonsson, born 16 August 1839 at Samastadir, Breidabolstadir i Fljotshlid, Rangarvalla and died 25 May 1900 in Vestmannaeyjar; and Gudrun Jonsdottir, born 24 July 1849 at Stora-Mork Storidalur undir Eyjafjollum, Rangarvalla, died 8 May 1931 in Spanish Fork, Utah.
In 1880 Gudrun immigrated to Utah with her parents. They traveled from Liverpool on the steamship Wisconsin leaving on 1 May 1880; they arrived in New York about 12 May. They crossed the continent by railroad and arrived in Spanish Fork about 21 May 1880. Just before arriving at New York, Gudrun’s mother gave birth to a baby boy named Nicholas Wisconsin Johnson. Gudrun died 2 November 1889 and is buried in the Spanish Fork City Cemetery.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Lynette Johnson Renolds

Lynette Johnson Reynolds passed away, Click here to read her obituary.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Farm - Nýibær, Holt undir Eyjafjollum, Rangarvalla

The farm Nýibær, Holt undir Eyjafjollum, Rangarvalla is where my great grandfather Eyjólfur Eiríksson was born 26 February 1854. I visited the farm on 31 March 2010. There was no one living on the farm at the time.
Iceland’s volcano Eyjafjallajökull erupted just two weeks latter. I never made it back to the farm but I would guess it was covered with ash from the eruption.

The old farm of Holt in southwest Iceland is the Parish where my great grandfather, Eyjólfur Eiríksson was christened in 1854. He immigrated to Utah in 1882. Bonnie and I visited this old farm in May of 2005 with our friends Þuríður Maggý Magnúsdóttir and Jón Jóel Einarsson. The monument in the photo was placed in 1938 in honor of the old church that once stood on this location and where Eyjolfur was christened.

Saturday, April 2, 2011



Gudridur was born 26 April 1858 in Vestmannaeyjar; her parents are Ulfur ___ and Valgerdur Jonsdottir, born 20 August 1832, died 7 October 1897. Gudridur married Markus Vigfusson, born 25 December 1851 in Kobenhavn, Denmark. He is the son of Vigfus Jonsson, formadur at Holshus, Vestmannaeyjar, born 6 October 1822 at Rimakoti, Vestmannaeyjar, died in April 1867; and Margret Skuladottir, born 11 November 1824 in Kornholl, Vestmannaeyjar, died 16 October 1859 at Holshus, Vestmannaeyjar.
Gudridur was baptized by Elder Einar Eiriksson 13 April 1886. Also baptized on the same date were Markus Vigfusson and Gudridur’s mother Valgerdur Jonsdottir.
Gudridur and Markus had three children: Margret Jonina 1879-1925, Sigridur Ingibjorg, born 21 July 1883 and Valdimar Einar 1885-1886. Markus and Gudridur and their three children and Gudridur’s mother Valgergur immigrated to Utah in 1886. Their baby Valdimar died two days before their arrival.
Markus worked on the railroad, as a farmer and at the Utah-Idaho Sugar Company factory. He and Gudridur became the parents of eight more children. Gudridur died 8 December 1933 and is buried in the Spanish Fork City Cemetery. In Utah she was known as Gudridur W, Johnson and Gudridur Wolfsdottir.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Chris Hreinson

Chris Hrienson son of Icelandic emigrant Jon Kristjan Jonsson passed away 16 March 2011. Read his obituary in the Daily Herald at

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Utah - Honorary Iceland Consuls

The role of Icelandic Honorary Consul is to protect and furthering the interests of Iceland and Icelandic nationals as appropriate.

These Utah Honorary Consuls have together helped the Icelandic Association fulfill the mission statement. Which 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.
Since 1987 four Ambassadors from Iceland have visited Utah some more than once. The President of Iceland has visited Utah three times.
Jon Baldvin Hanabalsson in a letter to David Ashby in May of 2001 expressed his memories of the visit to Utah. His words are typical of the many dignitaries from Iceland that have visited the Icelandic settlement in Utah. He said, “We shall always cherish our memories of the time spent with members of the Icelandic Association of Utah, at the lighthouse memorial, the cemetery, the afternoon session we had together and the hospitality as guests in your homes. Your strong feelings for your homeland and heritage, despite the wear and tear of time, humbled us and encouraged at the same time.”

In April of 1987 Thor Leifson son of Juren Victor and Mary Bradford Leifson, was asked by the Embassy of Iceland in Washington D.C. to serve as Honorary Consul for Utah. Thor invited Iceland’s Ambassador, Ingvi Ingvarsson to visit Utah in 1990. This was the first of many Ambassadors from Iceland to visit Spanish Fork, Utah. Ingvi like the ambassadors that have followed was very pleased with his visit to Utah and in particular Spanish Fork. Thor had set up a reception for Ingvi and his wife Holmfiður at the Spanish Fork City offices.
Thor like many of the Western Icelanders in Utah had taken his turn as a member of the Icelandic Association of Utah committee and as president. The Leifson family has always been very supportive of the Icelandic Association in Utah. Following the fine example of his father, J. Victor,
Thor was asked by US officials and the Embassy of Iceland in Washington DC to host dignitaries from Iceland to the Western United States and particularly Utah. After doing this a few times the Icelandic Embassy in Washington DC saw a need to have an Honorary Consul in this area, Thor was the logical choice. Thor served as Honorary Consul until June of 1995 when Clark Thorstenson took his place.

Clark T. Thorstenson son of Staney and Florence Thorstenson was appointed Honorary Consul of Iceland for Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada, New Mexico and Colorado in June of 1995. While Consul Clark met with presidents of Iceland on three occasions, hosted Icelandic ambassadors to the United States twice and met with numerous Icelandic visitors to Utah.
Clark was a member of the Scandinavian Scholarship Committee and has been involved with many Scandinavian dignitaries that have visited Utah. Clark has visited Iceland several times. He has been interviewed on Icelandic TV, Radio and by newspaper reports in Iceland. In January of 1997 Clark was appointed as associate director at BYU’s Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies.

J. Brent Haymond was appointed as Honorary Vice Consul when Clark Thorstenson went to Jerusalem in January of 1997. In March of 2001 Clark gracefully resigned as the Honorary Consul and Brent was appointed as Honorary Consul by Ambassador Jon Baldvin Hanabalsson.
Brent is the grandson of Jonea Gudmundsdottir who immigrated to Utah from the Westman Islands with her parents. Brent is married to Janis S. Haymond and they have 10 children made up of his, hers and theirs.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Gudrudur Gudmundsdottir was born 15 February 1835 at Thorustadir, Mosfellgrimsnesi, Akraneskaupstadur. Her parents are Gudmundur Tomasson, born 28 August 1796 at Helludalur, Haukadalur, Arnes; and Thorunn Stefansdottir, born 5 August 1795 at Nedridalur, Haukadalur, Arnes. She married Gudmundur Egilsson 26 October 1873 in Reykjavik. They met Mormon missionaries and became members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, being baptized by Elder Jacob B. Jonsson 8 January 1881. In July of 1881 Gudridur, Gudmundur and their son Eirikur left Iceland with Elders Jon Eyvindsson and Jacob B. Jonsson and a group of about twenty Icelandic Latter-day Saints. They arrived in Salt Lake City 7 August 1881. They then went to Spanish Fork, Utah. Gudridur and Gudmundur bought land in Spanish Fork. She died 14 December 1925 at Mapleton, Utah. She is buried in the Spanish Fork City Cemetery. She was also known as Gudridur Tomason.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Iceland Days in Utah 2011

Iceland Days 2011, in Spanish Fork, Utah:
Let's get together and celebrate our love of Iceland.
ICELAND DAYS 2011 is almost here! Here's a peak into what's going on...
Iceland Days Celebration 2011 - June 25-26
Saturday: Iceland Days Family and Friends Fair - 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Where: Spanish Fork City Park (100 South Main Street)
Food: Hot Dogs Icelandic Pastries (Klejners and Pönnukökur)
Events Barnabær (Children’s Village)
Balloon Man at Barnabær
Barnakór (Children’s Choir)
Historic Bus Tour
Sunday: Icelandic Heritage Fireside - 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Location LDS Church, 300 East Center Street in Spanish Fork, UT

Thursday, January 20, 2011


The ancient midwinter Viking feast of Þorrablót (Thorrablot) is celebrated by Icelanders during the month of þorri (Thorri, or King Winter). This is a winter feast which celebrates the hardship which the ancestors had to endure. The feast can be held at any time during the month of Thorri starting the Friday after January 19th (the 13th week of winter).
Thorrablot is the feast held by the Vikings to celebrate with great feasts and plenty of dancing and singing because Thorri is the fourth month of winter which meant that spring would be returning soon. Traditional Viking food is eaten which mainly consists of putrefied shark, jellied rams head, testicles and eyeballs along with many other delicacies. Much of the food is preserved from the previous year.
In Iceland restaurants and homes alike feature special menus with some of the old traditional Viking foods. Some of these delicacies include Slatur, which is sheep's blood pudding rolled in lard and sewn up in the stomach, as well as Svith, which is a half boiled lamb's head, and of course everybody's favorite, pickled ram's testicles. Of course these foods are not part of the normal diet of Icelanders, but they are very adamant about holding on to their Viking heritage.
Participate in a Thorrablot; it is well worth experiencing.
The Icelandic Association of Utah will hold there annual Thorrablot celebration Saturday, 26 February 2011, at Spanish Fork Memorial Building, 400 North Main, Spanish Fork, Utah; Doors open at 5:00 pm Dinner served at 6:00 pm.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Mount Esja

Esja is Reykjavík’s mountainous jewel in the crown. Spectacularly dominating the skyline it flanks the north of Europe’s most northern capital, providing a stunning display of color, light and rock.
One feature that often takes visitors by surprise when they visit Reykjavík is its proximity to nature. It is a rare treat to have a capital city with all its modern facilities immediately at hand and yet be able to enjoy the spoils of raw, untouched nature within minutes of leaving the city. Perhaps the jewel in the crown of the countryside surrounding Reykjavík is Esja, the extensive, monolithic mountain range that stretches itself out beyond the north of Reykjavík from the edges of the Atlantic towards Thingvellir National Park in the west.
The name ‘Esja’ is said to have come from the time of the settlement of Iceland and from the saga Kjalnesingasaga which tells of a farm called Esjuberg in Kjalarnes. The story goes that a wealthy Irish widow called Esja was amongst a group of Irish immigrants who traveled to Iceland by ship. However, as is often the case regarding historic folklore, there is some debate about this story and it’s been said that the woman’s name comes from the mountain and not the other way round.
As a mountain range 914 meters high, Esja boasts some impressive statistics. To start with, to say she has been around for a while is a gross understatement, with the western part of the mountain range being the oldest, dating back approximately 3.2 million years, and the eastern part being comparatively ‘young’, having only chalked up approximately 1.8 million years. Approaching Reykjavík by sea, Esja has a magnetic majesty humbling even the biggest cruise liner by the colossal hunk of stone that stretches across the land. One can only imagine the jaw-dropping awe that the first settlers experienced centuries ago as they approached their new homeland.
Today, Esja means many things to many people. On a practical level, views of the mountains have had a marked influence on property prices in recent times; some say they can predict the weather depending on the ever-changing palette of colors the mountain range offers; and it’s a testimony to how such a natural environment has been protected that there are no high-rise hotels or fun fairs nearby, swamping and spoiling the mountain range’s beauty.
It is perhaps this natural beauty that draws visitors to it again and again. A walk at sunset by the North Atlantic Bay in the Reykjavík suburb of Grafarvogur can be quite a special experience with the backdrop of Esja rivaling any rose-tinted Hollywood sunset. At times, she can appear ethereal and enigmatic whilst at other times she can be threatening and ominous with mist creeping tenuously down the inky, black rocks. Consequently, as an artists’ muse and inspiration Esja is a paradise. In the summer months, the mountain is covered in a soft, mossy green and on the bluest, brightest and coldest mornings in winter you can almost feel the pure, chilling air that hangs over the summit.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Glen Bjarnson

Glen Henry Bjarnson 1925 ~ 2010 Glen Henry Bjarnson - One of the "Greatest Generations" - died at the age of 85 in his home at Salt Lake City Utah. He was born November 25, 1925 in Springville Utah to Ray I. and Flora G. Bjarnson. He learned the value of hard work at a young age; thinning beets, picking cherries, cleaning chicken coups, and driving logging and construction trucks. Later, he worked as a journeyman brick mason, where he learned the trade, formed his own construction company, built his home and two apartment buildings; accomplishments of which he was very proud. He also worked for Dunham Bush Heating and Engineering, then 15 years for the Utah State Tax Commission when he retired.
He graduated from Springville High School and then joined the Army and served in World War II; stationed in Germany, There he was wounded and received the Purple Heart and Bronze Star.
Upon his return from the war, he married his sweetheart, JoAnn Stewart. Their marriage was later solemnized in the Salt Lake Temple. The couple recently celebrated their 62nd wedding anniversary. Glen is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and served as the ward financial clerk, Assistant Scout master, home teacher and enjoyed his volunteer work at Welfare Square. An avid nature enthusiast, he enjoyed trips to the Grand Daddy lakes and Alaska. He loved to paint scenery and Western art and bronze sculpture. Many families have a piece of his artwork in their homes... He loved to travel. With his wife as they took many wonderful trips together to the UK, Russia, Finland, Scandinavian countries, Central and South America, Australia, New Zealand and Israel. In addition, he was in his height of glory behind the wheel of his motor home where they traveled throughout the U.S.
He was a loving husband and father. His grandchildren and great grandchildren are the light of his life. He is survived by his wife JoAnn Stewart Bjarnson and children: Terry (Kara) of Kentucky, Tina Andersen (Morgan) and Tracie Denney (Arlen) of Las Vegas Nevada, 20 grandchildren, ten great grandchildren and three brothers: Ray, Leon and Lynn and one sister Joyce Simpson. He was preceded in death by his parents, sisters Wilda, and Rosalie Daybell.
He will be missed for his sense of humor and loving and giving ways. The neighborhood will miss his Fourth of July WWII jeep rides, his "Fair to Meddling" and his "Lord willin' and the creek don't rise". We know you are "On the Road Again" Glen. Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, January 8, 2011 at the Mt Olympus 7th ward, 4407 S. Fortuna Way (3605 East). A viewing will be held in the same building Friday, January 7, 2011 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. and also prior to the services from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Interment will be at 2:00 p.m. at the Evergreen Cemetery located at 1997 S 400 E, Springville Utah. The family would like to express their sincere appreciation for the kind and tender care Glen received from Hospice for Utah. Please share condolences at
Glen’s grandparents Thorarinn Bjarnason and Ingveldur Ingimundardottir immigrated from Iceland to Spanish Fork, Utah.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Raymond G. Anderson

Raymond George Anderson died December 30, 2010 in Salt Lake. Born February 9, 1926 in Spanish Fork, Utah to Bruce and Catherine Anderson. Next to his love for God and Family, was his love of Country. He served in the Navy from 1944 - 1946. He was married to Sarah "Sally" Summerhays Anderson August 3, 1951 in the Salt Lake Temple. Besides being a member missionary his whole life, he served a full time mission in Denmark, Iceland and as a service missionary in Rose Park Stake. He completed a Bachelors degree from BYU, Masters from University of Utah, working many years as a teacher, a principal and a creative provider for his family. He is survived by his wife and 12 children: Lynette Engle, Craig, Clair, Brian, Colleen Stokes, Clyde, Janae DuRee, Catherine Hegstrom, Caroline Casselman, Bruce, David, Sara Bulla; their spouses and posterity, also sisters Kathryn Ivie, Mary Shepherd, Margaret Harker. Funeral Services in Salt Lake City: Viewing Friday January 7 from 6:00-8:00 p.m. Larkin Sunset Lawn, 2350 East 1300 South; and Saturday January 8, 9:30 - 10:45 at LDS Chapel, 1750 South 1500 East, followed by the funeral at 11:00. Burial Salt Lake City Cemetery.

Ray is a full blooded Icelander. His parents were both born in Spanish Fork Utah. His grandparents immigrated to Utah from Iceland. They are Bóas Árnbjörnsson and Björnlaug Eyjólfsdóttir and Eggert Kristjánsson and Sesselja Jónsdóttir.