1 December 2011
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.
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
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