Friday, December 28, 2012

Marilyn Ashby

My sister, Marilyn Ashby, 67, Passed away peacefully on Wednesday, December 26, 2012 of natural causes. Marilyn was born November 15, 1945 in Spanish Fork, Utah to Gerald and Phylis Ashby. She lived in Spanish Fork throughout her life and attended Spanish Fork High School.

Funeral services will be held on Saturday, December 29, 2012 at 11:00 a.m. at the Spanish Fork 5th Ward Chapel, 1006 E 200 South, Spanish Fork, Utah Interment will be in the Spanish Fork City Cemetery. Family and friends may call at the Church on Saturday from 9:30-10:45 a.m. prior to the services.

Read her obituary at

Sunday, December 2, 2012

fréttir desember 2012

Christmas in Iceland
Christmas in Iceland is in many ways similar to Christmas in the United States. Families get together, enjoy good food and exchange presents. It is Iceland’s longest holiday; everything is closed from noon on Christmas Eve until December 27.
One major difference between Christmas in Iceland and in the U.S. is that Icelanders celebrate on Christmas Eve. The family gets together in the evening and that is when presents are exchanged. During the following two days everyone goes to Christmas parties and meets with grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins and friends.
Christmas Eve is the high point of the holiday season in Iceland, and the sumptuous dinner is just the beginning of the night. But what the children have been waiting for so long - the opening of packages - cannot take place until a few details have been attended to: the table has to be cleared and the dishes washed, but there are many willing hands for that.
In centuries past, most people would slaughter a lamb and have ‘kjötsúpa’ for Christmas dinner, a meat broth with bits of meat in it. Kjötsúpa is still common in Iceland, although not as Christmas dinner. Poorer families would have ptarmigan for Christmas.
Nowadays, the most common Christmas dishes in Iceland are ham (hamborgarahryggur), smoked lamb (hangikjöt) and ptarmigan (rjúpa). Ptarmigan is no longer a food for the poor and has become very popular with Icelanders, and the ptarmigan hunting season is one of the most anticipated events of the year for hunters. These dished are lavishly prepared with side dishes including potatoes, prepared in many different ways, peas and beans, gravy, jam etc. The cook usually spends most of the day cooking, with help, of course, from other family members.
Icelanders have not one, but thirteen Santas, or Yule Lads. These lads are not related to Santa Claus in any way. They are descendants of trolls and were originally used to scare children. In the last century, however, they have become a lot friendlier.

Gleðileg jól

Storytelling Then and Now
The Sagas of the Icelanders are exceptional tales of every life and historic events that were kept alive using the oral tradition for two to three hundred years before they were recorded in written format. The stories found in the Sagas are not typical heroic literature, but rather tales of flesh and blood people burdened with the heroic legacy of the Vikings. Storytellings in the Icelandic Sagas are tales of people deeply rooted in the real world of their day. These stories explore the human problems of love and hate, fate and freedom, crime and punishment, travel and exile. The Sagas of the Icelanders lets us know of the concerns and affairs of the people who lived between 930 and 1030.
I find it fascinating that Todd Hansen great-grandson of Eyjolfur Eiriksson and Jarthrudur Runolfsdottir, immigrants to Utah from Iceland in the 1880s, keeps the storytelling tradition going. Todd hosts BYUTV's "The Story Trek." This show sets out to prove how fascinating so-called ordinary people actually are. Through the random, door-to-door interviews Todd conducts, you meet quirky, serious, intelligent, fun people who make you laugh, smile, cry, and think.
Todd was the Master of Ceremony for the Icelandic Association of Utah’s Sesquicentennial Gala, June 24, 2005.

Emigrant of the Month Dec. 2012


Halldor was born 1 March 1856 at Skurdbaer, Medallandsthing, Vestur Skaftafell. His parents are Jon Jonson, born 24 February 1829 at Audnar, Medallandsthing, Vestur Skaftafell, died 26 April 1858 at sea; and Margret Jonsdottir, born 2 March 1829 at Sydri-Steinsmyri, Medllandsthing, Vestur Skaftafell, died 1 August 1911 at Hafnarfirdi, Gardar a Alptanesi, Gullbringu.
He married Gudrun Jonsdottir in January of 1879. Gudrun was born 4 June 1850 at Grof, Gufunes, Kjosar. In 1880 they joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and were baptized by Elder Jon Eyvindsson, 13 November 1880. Halldor and Gudrun, along with their son Johann, left Iceland in 1881 with a company of twenty-two, under the leadership of Elder Jon Eyvindsson and Elder Jacob Jonsson. The company left Reykjavik on the steamer Cameoens, and came by way of Granton, Scotland, Liverpool, England and then to New York, crossing the ocean on the steamship Nevada. They arrived in New York 23 July 1881 and left the same evening for Salt Lake City, arriving in Salt Lake City 7 August 1881. They left Salt Lake City the next day for Spanish Fork, Utah.
Halldor bought a farm in Spanish Fork, but within only a few years he moved to Cleveland, Utah in Emery County. Halldor and Gudrun had seven children: Johann, born in Iceland 2 October 1879, died 17 May 1954 in Washington State; Margret Catherine, born in Spanish Fork 12 August 1882, died 28 February 1957; Barney Andrew, bornin Spanish Fork 12 August 1882, died 4 November 1961. The other four children were born in Cleveland, Utah: Halldor Jacob, born 26 January 1883, died 4 September 1884; Domhildur Sarah, born 20 October 1886, died 31 May 1888; Groa, born 27 December 1890, died 16 September 1924; and Albert, born 18 November1893, died 27 March 1945. Halldor and Gudrun were later divorced.
Halldor returned to Iceland and served two missions, one from 1899 to 1901 and the other in 1910. When he returned from his second mission he brought home with him Jonina Fridsemd Asgrimsdottir, and her son, Engilbert Jonson, and Jonina’s mother, Gudny Hrobjartsdottir. Halldor and Jonina married and had two children. Jonina was born 25 February 1885 at Grimstadir, in Akraneskaupstadur, died 13 February 1967 in Price, Utah.
Halldor was also married to Margret Magnusdottir, 25 March 1885; they later divorced. Margret was born 20 November 1856 at Mosfellsveit, Kjosar, died 15 June 1924 in Cleveland, Utah. Halldor died 11 January 1936 in Cleveland, Utah and is buried in the Cleveland Cemetery.


Sunday, September 2, 2012

Fréttir Sept. 2012

Skógar Folk Museum

Located along the south coast of Iceland is the Skógar Folk Museum, located near one of Iceland’s most visited and beautiful waterfalls, Skógafoss. This area of Iceland is one of extraordinarily beauty and natural landscapes. This also near where my great-grandfather Eyjólfur Eiríksson was from. He was born at Nýibær, Holt undir Eyjafjollum, Rangarvalla which is just a little west of Skógar.

The museum is the result of one man’s life-long work of collecting of artifacts of the early Icelanders in the area. At 90 plus years old Þórður Tómasson can still be found at the museum delighting visitors with his great knowledge and musical abilities. The museum was opened in 1949 and has been continually updated, adding many new houses and exhibits.

The mission of the Skogar Folk Museum is to preserve the cultural heritage of the south coast of Iceland through tools and equipment used at land and sea, crafts, old buildings, books, manuscripts, and documents. This seems like it may be a perfect fit for the exhibit The Road to Zion.

The exhibit The Road to Zion sheds light on the religious foundations of the Mormons, traces the journey of Þórður Diðriksson (1828 – 1894) over land and sea, and tells of Spanish Fork, Utah, the community that the Icelanders settled in. The exhibit was first presented at Icelandic Emigration Center at Hofsós in 2000 and then in the Culture House in Reykjavík in 2005. The exhibit is now in storage.

Many of the Icelandic emigrants that came to Utah came from the South Coast of Iceland near Skógar making the exhibit The Road to Zion a fital part of the history of the area. The exhibit was created by the Icelandic Emigration Center and the Icelandic Association of Utah. I would encourage these two organizations to work together and get this exhibit out of storage and into a place where it can be viewed and enjoyed by the people of Iceland as it was intended to be.

Iceland - The European Union and The Economy

The debate continues should Iceland join the European Union, many in the junior coalition of Iceland’s government believe that it should. It is believed that over sixty percent of the general population of Iceland would vote against joining the EU. Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson President of Iceland, who was just elected to his fifth term as president of the country, is against joining the EU. He further thinks he needs to be more vocal about if Iceland should join the EU. This debate in Iceland just does not seem to go away.  

Iceland's economy seems to be doing amazingly well for a small country that only four years ago nearly lost it all. Iceland has repaid most of the international loans that kept the country going. Unemployment is around six percent, and continues to go in the right direction. Iceland’s economy is expected to grow by nearly three percent this year.  The people of Iceland are strong and resilient people. It is good to see that the government in Iceland has made sound financial decisions and the economy is on the mend.

Gísli Gíslason Emigrant of the Month September 2012

Gísli Gíslason was born 12 March 1868. His parents are Gisli Bodvarsson, born 3 October 1829, died 9 July 1897; and Elin Jonsdottir, born 30 April 1836, died 18 December 1916. Gisli immigrated to Spanish Fork, Utah in 1892. He married Rannveig Thorarinsdottir, born 22 September. They were married in Provo, Utah 7 April 1893. Gisli and Rannveig moved to Winter Quarters near Scofield, Utah, where Gisli went to work in a coal mine. They took the last name of Budvarson after Gisli’s father, Gisli Bodvarsson. They had nine children: Franklin Gesli, born 27 March 1896, died 8 January 1897; Hannah Mary, born 4 March 1898, died 28 July 1773; Ellen Brindhildur, born 24 March 1900; Gunnar, born 24 March 1902, died 4 April 1949; Leroy, born 16 November 1904, died 31 October 1972; Alice, born 20 September 1906, died 11 April 1974; Arthur, born 4 April 1909, died 10 Dec 1991; Kermit, born 17 Feb 1913, died 7 June 1949; and Ruth Vilatr, born 19 April 1915, died 6 Dec 1985.

Gisli died 18 March 1916 and is buried in the Scofield Cemetery. In Utah, Gisli went by Gisli Budvarson.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Fréttir August 2012


The first weekend in August is what the Icelanders call Verslunarmannahelgi”, (merchants weekend). This is a tradition in Iceland and has been for many years. In 1887 the Icelanders in Spanish Fork held their first Iceland Days on August 3rd. Iceland Days has been held in Spanish Fork since that first celebration. The date was changed in 2002 to the third weekend in June to be closer to Iceland’s Independence Celebration June 17th. It was later chnged to the fourth weekend in June as to not conflict with Father’s Day.

Visitor from Vestmannaeyjar

Kári Bjarnason from Vestmannaeyjar will be visiting Utah again, August 5-15. Kári and Fred E. Woods would like to meet with the descendants of Icelanders in Utah during this block of time. Please let me know if you would be willing to meet with Fred and Kári. If you met with Fred and Kári before you may have something else to share with them. Please let me know the days as well as your phone number and address.
Those that live outside the State of Utah maybe we could arrange a phone interview.
You will be happy to know that Fred and Kári‘s first joint publication came out last month as well as an article on the opening of the Vestmannaeyjar exhibit on the Latter-day Saints last July.
Go to the MHSF website to purchase it. You can just Google MHSF for the website.
Here is the bibliographic information:
Fred E. Woods and Kári Bjarnason, “Jon Jonsson: Icelandic Mormon Poet and Translator,“ Mormon Historical Studies vol. 12, no. 2 (Fall 2011): 49-61.
In this same issue is this article:
Steven L. Olsen, “LDS Exhibit in the Vestmannaeyjar, Iceland Folk Museum,“ Mormon Historical Studies vol. 12, no. 2 (Fall 2011):161-165.

David Ashby

Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson sworn in President for record 5th term

Utah Emigrant of the Month


Gísli Einarsson was born 24 November 1849 at Hrifunes, Asar i Skaftartunga, Vestur Skaftafell. His parents are Einar Bjarnason, born 4 March 1809, died 25 November 1890; and Gudrun Jonsdottir, born 14 August 1816, died 4 December 1878 in Spanish Fork, Utah. Gisli’s parents sent him to Reykjavik, where he studied to become a Lutheran minister. He mastered Latin and English and learned to read Danish, Swedish and Norwegian. At the age of twenty-four he went to Vestmannaeyjar to learn the fishing trade. It was here that he first learned of Mormonism from his mother’s brother, Loftur Jonsson, who had immigrated to Utah in 1857 and then returned to Iceland in 1873 as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In 1874 his mother and two sisters, Helga and Thorgerdur, immigrated to Utah with Loftur when he returned to Utah from his missionary service. Gisli remained with his father, hoping to convince him that he should accept the counsel of the Mormon elders.
In September of 1874, Loftur Jonsson was accidentally killed. Einar sent his son Gisli to Utah in the spring of 1875 with instructions to bring his wife and daughters back to Iceland. Upon arriving in Utah, Gisli found his mother too ill to travel. Torn in his conception of duty between his ailing mother, an adamant father, and his own desire to join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and remain in Utah, he wrote his father, explaining his plight. The answer was slow in coming. In the fall of 1875, it was known that Einar Bjarnason had disinherited his wife, their two daughters, and his son, Gisli. He was a local magistrate and probably fairly well-to-do. He later married Hildur Magnusdottir.
After the death of Loftur Jonsson, Gisli fell in love with his widow, Halldora Arnadottir, born 22 August 1844. Her parents are Arni Asgrimsson, born 23 August 1802 at Leidveollur, Asar i Skaftartunga, Vestur Skaftafell, died 7 July 1846 in Undirhraun, Medalladsthing, Vestur Skaftafell; and Halldora Olafsdottir, born 3 November 1808 in Undirhraun, Medalladsthing, Vestur Skaftafell, died 1 June 1873 at Efri-Ey. Halldora was kind and good to all, especially to Gisli’s ailing mother. Halldora was attracted to this tall man, who was five years younger than she. They were married 17 April 1876 in the Endowment House at Salt Lake City, Utah. Halldora was sealed to her first husband, Loftur Jonsson, on this same day. The daughter of Loftur Jonson’s first wife continued to live with them, as Halldora felt she must give the girl a home as long as she lived. Gisli and Halldora had four children: Helga Maria 1876-1967, Loftur 1879-1939, Gudrun Dena 1881-1976, and Elin Ormena 1885-1887.
In the spring of 1881, Halldora became worried about her younger half-sister, Maren Halldorsdottir, who had been left alone in Iceland when their mother, Halldora Olafsdottir, died. Halldora sent Maren money to come to Spanish Fork, and when she arrived made her welcome in her home. Gisli took Maren as a plural wife; they were married 24 November 1881 in the Endowment House at Salt Lake City, Utah. Halldora was not happy about this marriage; she was disappointed in her sister, but she accepted it as part of her life. Halldora suffered a stroke in 1920 and was helpless for nine years. Halldora died 27 March 1929. Gisli and Maren had three children: Magnus Christian Bjarnason 1885-1916, Halldora Bjarnason 1886-1887, and Gisli 1888-1888.
Gisli was faithful in performing his church duties. He studied the principles of the gospel daily and became well informed. In the spring of 1882 he was called to serve in Iceland as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His companion was Petur Valgardsson.; they arrived in Denmark 3 June 1882 and then went on to Iceland, where Gisli was called to lead the branch in Iceland.
Gisli soon made his way to see his father, where he was well received, but he was made to understand that he must never mention Mormonism. Before he left, he explained to his family the facts concerning his mother’s illness and death. Gisli was stricken with typhoid fever while in Iceland and became seriously ill. When his health returned he found that he had lost his hearing. The doctor advised him to return to Utah, so he and Petur Valgardsson left Iceland. Upon returning home he was given an honorable release from his missionary services by Church authorities.
Gisli planted a large garden and raised splendid crops of vegetables. In 1909, on his sixtieth birthday, his Icelandic friends and neighbors held a testimonial in his honor and presented him with a gold watch and chain. Gisli died 17 August 1934 and is buried in the Spanish Fork City Cemetery. Gisli was known in Utah as Gisli E. Bjarnason and Gisli E. Bearnson.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Visitor from Vestmannaeyjar

Kári Bjarnason from Vestmannaeyjar will be visiting Utah again, August 5-15. Kári and Fred E. Woods would like to meet with the descendants of Icelanders in Utah during this block of time. Please let me know if you would be willing to meet with Fred and Kári. If you met with Fred and Kári before you may have something else to share with them. Please let me know the days as well as your phone number and address.
Those that live outside the State of Utah maybe we could arrange a phone interview.

You will be happy to know that Fred and Kári‘s first joint publication came out last month as well as an article on the opening of the Vestmannaeyjar exhibit on the Latter-day Saints last July. Here is the bibliographic information:
Fred E. Woods and Kári Bjarnason, “Jon Jonsson: Icelandic Mormon Poet and Translator,“ Mormon Historical Studies vol. 12, no. 2 (Fall 2011): 49-61.
In this same issue is this article:
Steven L. Olsen, “LDS Exhibit in the Vestmannaeyjar, Iceland Folk Museum,“ Mormon Historical Studies vol. 12, no. 2 (Fall 2011):161-165.

David Ashby
626 W 550 S
Orem, UT 84058

Couples Zone Conference in Iceland May 2012

Denmark Mission Senior Couples Conference was held in Iceland May 2012. This is a you tube video of some of the conference. Thanks to  Ældste Nick Bowler & Søster Bonnie Bowler.

You tube has a limit of 15 minutes for a video and the one I made was 25 minutes. The first part is 15 minutes and the second part is 10 minutes.
The music is all Icelandic Folk Music I was able to find on You Tube. The last song of part 2 is the Icelandic National Anthem. The others all have Icelandic names too hard to spell or pronounce.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Fréttir July 2012

Presidential Election 2012

 Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson was elected president again, with a staggering 52.78% of the votes. An estimated 69.2 % of the people used their freedom to vote which must be said is an all time low in the presidential voting.
This means he is setting a record for being in office for the fifth term, which is a first. Iceland has had two presidents that served four terms, Vigdís Finnbogadóttir and Ásgeir Ásgeirsson.
Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson had said before that he would offer himself as president for the fifth term but was not sure if he would want to serve the full fifth term or not. After the votes were counted last night he gave a press release that stated that this would be his last term in office.
Ólafur will be staying as the president of Iceland for the next four years. Mr. Grímsson got 52.78% of the overall votes. Others running for the Presidency got: Þóra Arnórsdóttir 33.16%, Ari Trausti Guðmundsson 8,64%, Herdís Þorgeirsdóttir 2,63%, Andrea Ólafsdóttir 1,8%, and Hannes Bjarnason 0,98%.
The President of Iceland is the country´s head of state and the only representative chosen by the entire electorate in a direct election. The office of President was established in the Constitution of the Republic of Iceland which took effect on 17 June 17 1944.
Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson is the fifth President of the Republic of Iceland.

Status of the Icelandic Association of Utah

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
The Icelandic Association of Utah is a successful association. The success of this association depends on its members. In recent years it has been very successful and that tells you a lot about the members. The Icelandic Association of Utah has held Iceland Days in Spanish Fork since 1897 and Þorrablót has been on the agenda since 1998. In recent years several hundreds have attended the festival in Spanish Fork. In 2005 there was an estimated four-thousand in attendance at the dedication of the Icelandic Memorial. Since 2002 Iceland Days has been held in June but before, the celebration always took place in August except the Centennial Celebration of the first three Icelanders coming to Utah. It was held on June 15-17, 1955. We have had many Snorri participant in recent years. The Icelandic Association of Utah publishes and sends newsletters two or three times a year. We also maintain a presents on face book I think we need to have a web page too.
The Icelandic Association of Utah has had high and low points. There have been times when it has almost gone away. Many things have helped it survive a few of them are; 1) the Icelandic Monument in Spanish Fork, dedicated in 1938, 2) the centennial celebration of the first Icelanders arriving in Utah in 1955, 3) the visit of President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson for the centennial celebration of Iceland Days in 1997, 4) the 2000 millennium celebration in Iceland that we provided an exhibit at Hofsos, Iceland and a monument on Vestmannaeyjar, and 5) the sesquicentennial celebration of the first Icelanders arriving in Utah, in 2005.
The Icelandic Association of Utah holds several events each year to celebrate our Icelandic culture and heritage. Þorrablót is held the last Saturday in February each year. We have Iceland Days on the fourth weekend in June. This includes workshop sessions on Friday evening, Iceland Day at the park on Saturday, and an Icelandic Heritage Fireside on Sunday. The association maintains the Icelandic Memorial in Spanish Fork and supports the Family History Center in Spanish Fork. There have been other things that that association has been involved with that have gone away in the last four years.
The Utah Icelanders created the Icelandic Association of Utah in 1897, an association that provides a time to gather annually and celebrate our Icelandic heritage. The association continues to provide the instrument for descendants of the Icelandic immigrants to Utah to maintain a cultural sense of Iceland. Our ancestors left us a legacy: belonging to the Icelandic Association of Utah means belonging to something that has a history of over one hundred years and has accomplished a few great things.
It is remarkable that 150 plus years after the first Icelanders arrived in Utah, and there remains a strong cultural sense of Iceland among the descendants of the Icelandic pioneers. We have a need to continue to honor our Icelandic ancestors and the land of our forebears, as we have been shown to do by those that have gone before. The Icelandic emigrants to Utah and other places in North America have left us a rich heritage that we all can be proud of. We, who have descended from great and faithful forebears, have the right to say “I’m proud of my Icelandic heritage”.
Tyler Shepherd was appointed president for the next two years. He needs all the members and other descendants and friends of Iceland support to make sure this association continues as it has in the past. Krege Christensen an attorney in Salt Lake City and of Icelandic descent wrote the bylaws that were adopted by the association in 2000, the president and members of the board of directors needs to follow and have elections and follow the other rules and regulations set forth in the bylaws. I feel this would help make the association stronger and a more valid organization.


Icelanders are nearly fanatical about their hot dogs, and once you taste one, it’s easy to see why. The hot dogs are made mostly with lamb and traditionally topped with mustard, ketchup, fried onion, raw onion and remolaði, a mayonnaise-based sauce with sweet relish. And in a country known for being exorbitantly expensive, they are a delightfully low cost way to fill up and try a local specialty.
The Icelandic hot dog is available all over the country, at hot dog stands, convenience stores and even gas stations. In Reykjavik, the best hot dog stand is generally believed to be found at Bæjarins beztu pylsur (English: The best hot dog in town) and (pylsur is the Icelandic word for hot dog), which has been around for over 60 years. Bæjarins beztu pylsur often shortened to simply “Bæjarins beztu”, is a popular hot dog stand in central Reykjavík, Iceland. The stand is located down by the harbor on Tryggvagata. There’s no address, but you can’t miss it. Just look for the little red building, and the crowd gathered around it. There’s nearly always a line, which can be quite long, but service is quick. If you want one with everything, just ask for it “eina með öllu”. Hot dogs costs 300 ISK or $2.62 USD as of March 2011, and believe me, you’ll want two.
Click here for more Icelandic cooking, recipes and food

Emigrant of the Month, Gísli Eggertsson

Gísli was Born 4 August 1882. His parents are Eggert Gudmundur Olafsson, born 1 November 1855, died 2 December 1918; and Gudrun Arnadottir, born 26 August 1854, died 24 August 1882. Gisli immigrated to Utah with his father in 1887. He joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and was baptized in 1903.
He married Emma Wilhelmina Hansen on 7 December 1904. Emma was born 17 March 1884 in Vissenbjerg, Odense, Denmark. Gisli died 10 September 1961 in Salt Lake City and is buried in the Salt Lake City Cemetery. He was known as Gill Olson.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

June 17th is Þjóðhátíðardagurinn

Icelandic National Day (Icelandic: Þjóðhátíðardagurinn, the day of the nation's celebration),

Friday, June 15, 2012

Utah Iceland Days 2012

LOCATION: LDS Church at 300 East Center St, Spanish Fork UT
TIME: 7:00 pm-9:00 pm

Main Speaker/20-30 minutes
Lin Floyd on the Snorri Plus Experience

Rotating Workshops/20-30 minutes each
1. John K Johnson-Icelandic Artifacts
2. Thelma Marinosdottir-Icelandic Traits "How Icelandic Are You?"
3. Jack Tobiasson-Make Your Own Icelandic Pancakes

LOCATION: Spanish Fork City Park at 100 South Main Street

Flag ceremony
10:00 am

10:30 am-11:15 am
Icelandic pancakes & pastries

Barnabær (Children's Village) organized by Charlette Henry
Kids games, prizes, photo opps, piñata
10:30 am Opens
11:00 pm Balloon Man arrives at Barnabær (Children's Village)
12:00 pm Icelandic Hot Dogs! with chips, cookies, soda/water
12:30 pm Barnakór (Children's Choir)
12:45 pm Honoree Ceremony for Rhea Jean Hancock

1:00 pm Entertainment/Games

1:30 pm Raffle (entered at registration table)
2:00 pm Historic Bus Tour (see registration table)

LOCATION: LDS Church at 300 East Center St, Spanish Fork UT
TIME: 7:00 pm-9:00 pm
Speaker-J. Mark Fillmore, BYU student & return missionary having served in ICELAND!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Fréttir June 2012

Utah Iceland Days

I will post more about Iceland Days when and if it becomes available. If anyone could help with information about Iceland Days this year please contact me.

Iceland Days 2012, June 22, 23, & 24 in Spanish Fork, Utah
Friday Night:
Main Speaker……………………….. Lin Floyd, Snorri Plus Experience

Rotating Workshops
1.                  John K Johnson presenting Icelandic Artifacts (20-30 min)
2.                  Thelma Marinosdottir presenting "Icelandic traits. How Icelandic are you??" (20-30 min)
3.                  Icelandic Language Workshop, Tentative
Saturday Family Fair:
Flag Ceremony
Icelandic Breakfast/
Icelandic pancakes & pastries
pancakes and pastries  Iceland Pancakes Recipe for Icelandic Pancakes
 Children's Choir/ (Rhea Jean)

Children's Village
Charlette Henry with kids games, prizes, photo ops, piñata

Catered lunch/ TBA

T-shirt & memorabilia sales table/ Tentative: The William's have stepped down from participation in the association. Need someone to man this booth. Be sure to thank them for their years of service!

Sunday Night Fireside:
Speakers/ TBA

Follow the Icelandic Association of Utah on their Facebook Page
Video of the Glaumbaer Turf Farm 
Glaumbaer Turf Farm

Icelandic Sweaters
Icelandic wool sweaters. Designs, pattern and colors inspired by the old Viking tradition. The art of knitting pullovers and cardigans has past from mother to daughter for generations, since the time of the Viking settlement in the ninth century. Icelandic  knitters typically are elderly women who have knitted sweaters all their life, for their fisherman’s or farmer’s husbands and sons, their daughters and relatives. It takes about 30 hours to knit a quality sweater. The Icelandic knitwear is famous for its quality. The knitting pattern of the knit sweaters or cardigan sweater is very traditional for Iceland, and both man and women wear it at work or as a sportswear. The hand knit wool sweater will last for years. It should be only hand washed from lukewarm water.

 Emigrant of the Month June 2012

GUÐRÚN SOFFÍA JÓNSDÓTTIR was born 25 January 1863 at Elinarhus, Vestmannaeyjar. Her parents are Jon Petursson, born 29 March 1829, died 15 July 1868 in Vestmannaeyjar; and Vilborg Johanna Thordardottir, born 5 February 1831 at Hjaleigusandur, Storidalur undir Eyjafollum, Rangarvalla, died 18 January 1924 in Spanish Fork, Utah. Gudrun’s father passed away when she only five years of age. Her mother married Sigrudur Arnason, born 28 November 1842 in Vestmannaeyjar, about 1870. In 1874 Sigurdur and Vilborg and her children, Johann, Gudrun Sophia, Olof and Vilhjalmar, emigrated to Spanish Fork, Utah.
Gudrun married Petur Valgardsson, born 31 December 1842 at Nyjabaer near Reykjavik, Gullbringu, the son of Valgardur Ofeigsson, born 1 September 1801 at Efstadar, Arnes, died 10 July 1876 at Sudurkot, Kalfatjorn, Gullbringu; and Adalbjorg Jonsdottir, born 1 January 1807 at Moldhaugar, Glaesibaer, Eyjafjardar, died 20 August 1883. They were married 17 November 1881 in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City, Utah. Gudrun and Petur had seven Children, all born in Spanish Fork, Utah: Vilmina Christina (1882-1952), William (1884-1960), John (1886-1955), Walter Albert (1888-1949), Ephraim (1891-1950), Edward (1891-1891), and Sophia (1893-1895). Gudrun Sophia died 5 February 1893 and is buried in the Spanish Fork City Cemetery. She was known as Soffia Valgardson in Utah.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Fréttir 6

The DVD Fire on Ice The Saints of Iceland
Steven J. Andersen recently donated to the Icelandic Association of Utah two cases of the DVD Fire on Ice: The Saints of Iceland.
This generous donation means that the popular Fire on Ice DVD is readily available again from the Association's Gift Shop. To order Fire on Ice, send $24 ($20 for the DVD plus $4 for shipping and handling) to
The Icelandic Association of Utah
PO Box 874
Spanish Fork, UT 84660

Fire on Ice The Saints of Iceland, captures the compelling history surrounding the conversion, emigration, and assimilation of the early Icelandic Latter-day Saints. This remarkable story of faith, courage and sacrifice highlights the nearly 400 pioneers that left their homeland between 1855 and 1914 and the powerful legacy they left behind. On June 24th 2005, 150 years after the arrival of the first Icelander Samúel Bjarnason, a Memorial in Spanish Fork was erected and dedicated by President, Gordon B. Hinckley in honor of these early pioneers.
Featured interviews include the President of Iceland, Ólafur R. Grímsson, prominent Icelandic Historians Gunnar Karlsson and Jonas Thor, as well as many of today´s Icelandic Latter-day Saints. This unique story becomes a cherished part of America’s pioneer ancestry, woven by the faithful saints of Iceland, past and present.
You will want to hear their stories. This DVD is a must-have item in your collection. Also, Fire on Ice makes a remarkable gift to friends and family.
The DVD is based on the book, Fire and Ice by Dr. Fred E. Woods, Producer Russ Kendall, Executive Producer Steven J. Andersen, Written and Directed by Ethan Vincent, Cinematography Brian Wilcox, and Music Composed by Sam Cardon.
Also included on the DVD are Special Features:
Excerpts from interview with Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, president of Iceland
Excerpts from interview with Jónas Þór, Icelandic Historian
On Thingvellir by Dr. Fred E. Woods
David B. Timmons about Haldór Laxness
Scenes of Iceland
Icelandic Festival Choir at Selfoss, Iceland
Centennial Celebration at Spanish Fork, 1955
The Centennial Celebration at Spanish Fork, 1955 was recorded by Finnbogi Guðmundsson in 1955 and given to me (David Ashby) in 2005 when I was in Iceland.  

The Monument to the Emigrants
The “Monument to the Emigrants” was erected as a tribute to the faithful Icelandic pioneers who immigrated to Utah between 1854 and 1914.
The monument was dedicated on June 30, 2000, by Elder Wm. Rolfe Kerr, Area President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. David A. Ashby, President of the Icelandic Association of Utah, Inc. presented the monument to the people of Iceland on behalf of the Icelandic Association of Utah. Sigrun Inga Sigurfeirsdottir, president of the city council, Vestmannaeyjar, accepted the gift on behalf of the people of Iceland.
The sculpture atop of the monument is an eight-foot-tall angel, titled the Messenger, by Gary Price. Each side panel has the name of each of the Icelandic emigrants to Utah, listed. The monument also includes a biblical passage from Ezekiel 20:34.
The center pedestal, also in both Icelandic and English, reads: “In Honor of the Icelanders that heard the call to build Zion and moved to Utah 1854 to 1914.”
This beautiful monument is located near the Mormon Pond which received its name from the many Icelanders who were baptized members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the early days of the Church in Iceland.
In 1851, two natives of Iceland, Þórarinn Hafliðason and Guðmundur Guðmundsson, were studying in Copenhagen, Denmark where they came in contact with two Mormon missionaries from Utah. After careful investigation, they joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Shortly thereafter, they returned to their native Iceland to spread their new faith.
In 1852, Guðmundur Guðmundsson described the valley where the Mormon Pond is located as “a beautiful little round valley, surrounded by nature’s own mountain walls. In the midst of this most picturesque valley was found a small grassy plain, as level as a floor, and containing something like 20 acres of land. We approached this place one at a time, in order to avoid being noticed by our opponents and persecutors. Here in natures pure embrace, with nothing but the blue canopy of heaven for our covering, we raised our hands and our voices ‘on high,’ and prayed to the Father in the name of Jesus to bless and sanctify this lovely spot, surrounded by these romantic mountain walls.”

Emigrant of the Month
GUÐRÚN MAGNÚSDÓTTIR - Born 29 June 1840. Her parents are Magnus Sigmundsson, born 1810 at Vestur Holt, Hafur, Rangarvalla; and Haldora Jonsdottir, born 16 September 1814 at Hatun, Kirkjubaejar Klaustur, Austur Skaftafell, died 7 September 1867 at Berjaneskotl, Steinar, Rangarvalla.
On 6 November 1870, she married Einar Eiriksson, born 30 December 1847 at Medalfell, Bjarnanes i Hornafiridi, Austur Skaftafell. His parents are Eirikur Runolfsson, born 1 June 1798, died 1851; and Gudrun Jonsdottir, born 19 December 1801.
Gudrun joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and was baptized by her husband on 16 August 1874. In 1880 some money was sent from Spanish Fork, Utah, by a few Icelanders who lived there, to help some of the Icelandic Saints immigrate to Utah. Consequently, on 23 April, 1880, Gudrun with her four children, Lilja, Bardur, Eirikur, and Helga, together with eleven others, left Vestmannaeyjar for Utah. Einar followed, leaving Iceland on 7 June 1880. Gudrun and Einar had seven children: Halldora Helga, born 16 April 1871, died 28 November 1871; Lilja, born 8 October 1872, died 26 March 1948; Bardur, born 10 September 1875, died 22 July 1970; Eirikur, born 12 July 1878, died 27 March 1965; Helga, born 3 September 1879, died 31 May 1962; Magnea Sina, born 3 January 1884, died 14 May 1890; and Elias W., born 8 September 1887, died 9 January 1975. Magnea and Elias were born in Spanish Fork, Utah; the other five were born in Iceland.
In 1889 Gudrun and Einar moved to Cleveland, Utah. Gudrun died 18 May 1930 and is buried in the Cleveland Cemetery. She went by Gudrun Erickson.

Friday, April 6, 2012

He is Risen

As an Easter gift to the world, the LDS Church today released "He is Risen," a seven-and-a-half-minute video focused on the last week of Jesus Christ's mortal life.
Click here to view.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Fréttir 5

Paradise Reclaimed

Paradise Reclaimed a novel by Halldór Laxness, Icelandic Author and Nobel Laureate was first published in Icelandic; Paradisarheimt, Helgafell, Reykjavík, 1960. It was translated into English by Magnus Magnusson, and published by Methuen, London, 1962 and Crowell, New York, 1962, Vinatge International, New York, 2002, introduction by Jane Smiley.
Halldór Kiljan Laxness was unquestionably Iceland's foremost literary figure of the 20th century. Born in Reykjavík in 1902, then just a small town with only one tenth of the country's population, he moved with his family at an early age to the farm Laxness in Mosfellsbær, from where he drew his surname. In 1955 Laxness was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature, the first and only time an Icelander has received the award. Despite his ups and downs with the Icelandic public, due to his outspoken views as well as the nature of his writings, that honor served to cement his place among Icelanders as one of the nation's greatest writers ever. In his acceptance speech he said; “I am thinking, too, of that community of one hundred and fifty thousand men and women who form the book-loving nation that we Icelanders are. From the very first, my countrymen have followed my literary career, now criticizing, now praising my work, but hardly ever letting a single word be buried in indifference. Like a sensitive instrument that records every sound, they have reacted with pleasure or displeasure to every word I have written. It is a great good fortune for an author to be born into a nation so steeped in centuries of poetry and literary tradition.
Paradise Reclaimed is a touching story based on the experiences and writings of Eiríkur Ólafsson and Þórður Diðriksson. Eiríkur was born at Steinar, Rangarvallasysla, Iceland. He was a farmer, writer and also owned a restaurant in Iceland. Eiríkur converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1881. Eiríkur and his wife Runhildur Runólfsdóttir left for Utah shortly after they were baptized. Þórður was born at Holmar, Kross, Rangarvallasysla, Iceland. Þórður went to Copenhagen, Denmark to learn the trade of goldsmith. While in Copenhagen he met Mormon missionaries, accepted their message, and joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was baptized in 1855. Þórður immigrated to Utah in 1856. Eiríkur Ólafsson the main character in the book takes on the name of Steinar Steinsson, Þórður Diðriksson is Bishop Didrik.

Paradise Reclaimed is a must read for the descendants and the students of the Icelandic emigrants to Utah.

President of Iceland

President, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, will run for a record fifth term in office in Iceland’s June’s election. In a statement to the press he said that he has changed his mind on the decision not to run, which he announced in his New Year’s address. The President’s statement also makes an unusual plea for understanding from the electorate if he decides to call an early election once stability has returned to the country, in the event that he is re-elected in June.

Dancing with the Stars
Among the stars in Iceland are incredible displays of Northern Lights lighting up the skies of Iceland due to a massive solar storm, which has been taking place recently.
According to scientists, the increased activity is caused by solar flares which eject charges of atoms and electrons into space usually reach the Earth a day or two later. During this travel period, these flares grow in intensity, before finally reaching the Earth’s atmosphere. This collision with the Earth’s air molecules then causes energy in the form of spectacular lights to be emitted.
Due to Iceland’s location on the cusp of the Arctic Circle, these Northern Lights shows are set to be incredible. Iceland is known for being a hub for Northern Lights activity during the winter and spring months.

Emigrant of the Month

Gudrun was born 14 August 1816 at Kanastadir, Vodmulastadir, Rangarvalla. Her parents are Jon Arnason, born in 1772 at Deild, Teigur i Fljothlid, Rangarvalla, died 18 February 1841 at Bakki, Kross, Rangarvalla; and Thorgerdur Loftsdottir, born in 1777, a husmodir in Kanastodir, Vodmulastadir, Rangarvalla; and Bakki, Kross, Rangarvalla, died 9 March 1859 in Bakki, Kross, Rangarvalla.
Gudrun married Einar Bjarnason 30 September 1847. Einar was born 4 March 1809 at Geirland, Kirkjubaejarkluastur, Vestur Skaftafell, died 25 November 1890 in Hrifunesi Asar i Skaftartunga, Vestur Skaftafell. They had five children: Jon, Bjarni, Einar, Helga and Thorgerdur.
Gudrun’s brother Loftur had became a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and immigrated to Utah in 1857. Loftur returned to Iceland in 1873 as a missionary for his new church. Gudrun converted to Mormonism and in 1874 left her husband and immigrated to Utah with her two daughters, Helga and Thorgerdur, and a foster daughter, Groa Thorlaksdottir. Gudrun was not well and it was hoped that her health would improve in Utah. However, she became worse and unable to return to Iceland as she had planned. Her husband sent their son Gisli to Utah to bring her and their daughters back to Iceland, but all remained in Utah.
Gudrun died 4 December 1878 and is buried in the Spanish Fork City Cemetery. In Utah she was known as Gudrun Bearnson.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Fréttir - 4


The Icelandic Association of Utah held their first Þorrablót (Thorrablot) in the spring of 1998. I had been working with a reporter in Iceland, sending him information about the Icelandic Settlement in Utah, when he asked me what we do for Thorrablot. This was the first I had heard of Thorrablot. I brought it up at a board meeting, and the board of directors voted to try this Icelandic event. Oli Olafsson was at the board meeting and made arrangements for the thorramatur to be brought in from Iceland. Emil Emilsson was the chef for our first Thorrablot with Oli at his side.
Saturday 25 February 2012 the Utah Icelanders held their 15th annual Thorrablot. The menu has changed in those fifteen years. The first Thorrablot was a meal with all the food brought in from Iceland. It includes such things as shark meat, smoked, salted and pickled lamb, and dried fish. This year there was no food from Iceland, partly due to the difficulty of importing the food from Iceland and the fact that not many find this food pleasing to the palate. It is a tradition that I truly missed.
This year was a sold out event with a menu of roasted lamb and baked battered haddock, salad, potatoes, red cabbage and a variety of traditional American deserts. The event was catered by The Copper Grill.
Jack Tobiasson, Assistant Thorrablot Chairperson was the MC for the evening. His goal for the evening was for guests to get a little taste of Iceland and leaving a little bit more Icelandic than when they arrived. Guests were entertained by an Iceland Barnakór (Children’s Choir) with speakers Michelle Curtin, Snorri 2011 Participant and Dr. Fred E. Woods, Professor Brigham Young University.
The Barnakór sang songs in Icelandic and English, Rea Jean Hancock is their conductor. This choir is always a hit at Thorrablot and other activities. Rea Jean was also selected by the Icelandic Association Board of Directors as their Honoree for 2012.
Michelle went to Iceland in 2011 as a Snorri Program participant, which gives young people of Icelandic origin ages 18 to 28 living in the United States or Canada an opportunity to tour Iceland and reconnect with their family living in the country. While in Iceland, Michelle lived with her distant cousins for three weeks and worked on their farm herding and milking cows. Michelle kept a daily bog while in Iceland you can visit her blog just click hear. Michelle is my cousin we both have the same Icelandic ancestors that emigrated from Iceland to Utah in the 1880’s, Eyjólfur Eiríksson and Jarþrúður Runólfsdóttir, which we are both grateful for.
Dr Fred E Woods reported on the museum project in Vestmannaeyjar, Iceland. The permanent exhibit on display at the Vestmannaeyjar Folk Museum is titled "Icelandic Heritage Among the Mormons" and honors those Icelanders who embraced Mormonism and gathered in Utah. The exhibit opened last summer. Fred and Icelander Kari Bjarnason are continuing to work to gather images and documents about the Icelanders that settled in Utah.

To Run or Not to Run

President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson called a press conference at his residence Bessastaðir 27 February 2012, after being handed a petition signed by more than 30,000 people asking the president to run for his fifth four-year term. In his New Year’s speech, President Grímsson indicated that he would step down and not run for office again. The Saga continues.

The Majesty of 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.

Emigrant of the Month

Gudrun was born 12 January 1865 at Onundarstadir, Kross, Rangarvalla. Her parents are Jon Ingimundarson, born 31 May 1829, died 28 August 1891 at Spanish Fork, Utah; and Thordis Thorbjornsdottir, born 18 April 1836, died 28 March 1928 in Ivins, Idaho. Gudrun immigrated to Spanish Fork, Utah with her father in May of 1886.
Gudrun married Jon Thorgeirsson, born 12 June 1848 at Eystri Dalbaer, Kirkjubarjarklastur, Vestur Skaftafell. They were married 20 March 1888; this marriage ended in divorce about 1895. Gudrun and Jon had four children; two died in infancy. Gudrun took her two boys, John and David, and moved to Idaho to live with her brothers and mother. She never remarried. She died May 1906 in Ivins, Idaho and is buried there. She was known in America as Gudrun Johnson.