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.

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