Saturday, November 30, 2013

Utah, Icelandic Emigrants Homes #1

316 North 1000 East Spanish Fork, UT - Jon C. and Gudny Johnson

Jon Jonasson was born 24 September 1857 at Rimakot, Kross, Rangarvalla, the son of Jonas Jonsson and Gudrun Thorkelsdottir. Jon’s father, Jonas Jonsson, was the director of the poor-law district of Onundastadir, Kross, Rangarvalla. Jon joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and was baptized by Elder Einar Eiriksson 18 June 1886. Jon immigrated to Spanish Fork, Utah later that month.

Gudny Sigurdardottir was born 22 November 1860; her parents are Sigurdur Sigurdsson, born 6 August 1833, died 29 October 1885; and Sigridur Petursdottir, born 30 August 1830 at Holmahjaleiga, Kross, Rangarvalla, died 26 December 1903 at Olafshus, Vestmannaeyjar. Gudny joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and was baptized by Elder Einar Eiriksson 18 June 1886. She immigrated to Spanish Fork, Utah a few days after she was baptized.

Jon and Gudny Sigurdardottir were married 29 November 1886 in Spanish Fork, Utah. They became the parents of nine children. Their first home was a dugout or a hole in the ground covered with a thatched roof. Jon followed the sheep-shearing business, by which he earned enough to meet his expenses. He then purchased a farm in the river bottoms at the mouth of Spanish Fork Canyon; he farmed there for a few years and then sold the land and bought a farm in Palmyra, Utah.

Through the years Jon worked not only as a farmer but also as a carpenter. He was known as a man that everyone could trust. He was a devout member of his church and attended his meetings faithfully. He had an excellent voice and spent many evenings singing from his hymn book. He also sang songs from his childhood in his native tongue.

Jon, an industrious man, worked continually until a few weeks before his death. While working on a new home he fell, seriously injuring his back, which resulted in his death, 17 October 1929. In Utah, Jon went by John C. Johnson.  Gudny died 23 December 1934 and is buried in the Spanish Fork City Cemetery. She was known in Utah as Gudny Johnson.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Iceland Days 2013

Iceland Days 1913

Iceland Days 1928

The Icelandic Association of Utah executive committee and directors decided to change the location of Iceland Day events that will be held on Saturday, June 22. 2013. For Iceland Days this year, the Iceland Days Festival will be at the Benjamin Park instead of at the Spanish Fork City Park.
The Benjamin Park is a lovely rural park. It is much quieter than the Spanish Fork City Park. It has a 100-person pavilion, playground, baseball diamond, room for children´s activities and display booths, horseshoe pits, and rest rooms. Because the Association has reserved this two-acre park, we won´t be competing with family gatherings, Lots of room!
The Benjamin Park is just 2 1/2 miles southwest of Spanish Fork, at 7300 South. It is easily accessible from I-15. The May newsletter will have directions about how to get there.

A special treat for Iceland Days 2013--a tour of 40 Icelanders will join us for the Friday evening and Saturday events. We get to rub shoulders with visiting Icelanders!
I was asked why they changed the location of Iceland Days away from Spanish Fork. My answer to that question is I really don’t know, however, this is not the first time that Iceland Days has not been held in Spanish Fork. 
From 1897 through 1914 Iceland Days were held in Spanish Fork by building a bowery next to other buildings. The bowery was built at different locations in Spanish Fork, the first being at the Icelandic Amusement Hall on the property of Goodman Johnson. In 1925 it was reported that about 400 Icelandic people gathered at Castilla, in Spanish Fork Canyon, in honor of the Iceland National Holiday. In 1927 the Icelanders celebrated at Geneva Resort. .  William J. Johnson was chairman of the Iceland National Holiday Celebration at Geneva Resort in 1928 where 600 Icelanders gathered together. In 1930 the attendance was down to 250 attending the Iceland National Holiday celebration at Geneva Resort with Wilford Johnson as general chairman.
Iceland Days for several years in the early 1930’s was held at Geneva Resort west of Provo on the banks of Utah Lake. It was located where the Geneva Steel Plant was later located; in fact the steel plant was given the name Geneva after the resort. It was a nice place and many years the place Iceland Days were held. There was a pavilion, a swimming pool, a store and some cabins for people to stay overnight. A bus went from Spanish Fork to Geneva; it left early in the morning on August 2nd each year and did not return until near midnight. Most program numbers were from local Icelandic talent, singing, dancing, readings, storytelling and other things. In the late afternoon was a bathing beauty contest. All Icelandic girls participated.
In 1931 there were 300 in attendance at the Iceland National Holiday at Geneva Resort. In 1935 attendance grew to 800 Icelanders in attendance at the Iceland National Holiday celebration at the Geneva Resort. In 1936 there were 1000 in attendance at Iceland Days which was held at Vivian Park in Provo Canyon. Munda Geslison was Chairman. The 1937 celebration was also held at Vivian Park and Munda Geslison was again Chairman. In 1946 and 1947 the Iceland National Holiday wasc elebrated on August 2nd at Arrowhead Resort in Benjamin. 1948 and 1949 were under General Chairman Ken Runolfson at Arrowhead Resort on August 2nd. The 1950 celebration was held at Arrowhead Resort. 1954 Iceland Days was held at Saratoga Resort, west of Lehi, Utah. In 1955 the humble beginning of the Icelandic settlement in Utah was reenacted for more than 2000 descendants and friends in a colorful pageant at the Palmyra Stake Center. Iceland Days in 1956 was held at the Payson Park. In 1959 the Icelandic Association of Utah held its annual Iceland Day celebration at the Saratoga Resort south of Lehi. Iceland Days in 1961 was held on Saturday, August 5th at Saratoga Resort. In 1962 Iceland Days again held at Saratoga on Saturday, August 4th. Saturday, July 27, 1963 Iceland Day was held at Park Ro-Sha, in Springville. In 1980 the Icelandic Association annual reunion was held at the Canyon View Park, in Spanish Fork.

So… not to worry.

What is important is that you attend Iceland Days.

We have a lot of work ahead to equal the attendance at some of the Iceland Days of the past.

Bring a friend or two and I will to see you at the Benjamin Park on Saturday 22 June 2013.

Who is this a picture of?

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter

Gleðilega páska

John Chapter 20

Mary Magdalene, Peter, and John find the tomb-The risen Christ appears to Mary Magdalene in the garden-He appears to the disciples and shows His resurrected Body-Thomas feels the wounds in Jesus' hands, feet and side-Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.

Easter is a movable feast, meaning it is not fixed in relation to the civil calendar. The First Council of Nicaea (325) established the date of Easter as the first Sunday after the full moon (the Paschal Full moon) following the March equinox. Ecclesiastically, the equinox is reckoned to be on 21 March (even though the equinox occurs, astronomically speaking, on 20 March in most years), and the "Full Moon" is not necessarily the astronomically correct date. The date of Easter therefore varies between 22 March and 25 April.


Monday, January 21, 2013

Þorrablót 2013

Þorrablót (Thorrablot)
The ancient Viking month of Thorri, which begins on the first Friday after January 19th (the 13th week of winter), commemorating the Norse god of Thunder. The Vikings celebrated this mid-winter month with plenty of dancing, singing, drinking and merriment, as well as consuming as much of their traditional food as possible. During the month of Thorri, the traditional delicacies, called thorramatur, can once again be found on grocery store shelves, and the majority of the nation partakes at least once in an evening of the special cuisine.
Thorrablot was a sacrificial midwinter festival offered to the gods in pagan Iceland of the past. It was abolished during the Christianization of Iceland, but resurrected in the 19th century as a midwinter celebration that continues to be celebrated to this day.

On this occasion, locals come together to eat, drink and be merry. Customary, the menu consists of unusual culinary delicacies, known as thorramatur. These will include rotten shark’s meat (hákarl), boiled sheep’s head, (svið) and congealed sheep’s blood wrapped in a ram’s stomach (blóðmör)! This is traditionally washed down with some Brennivin - also known as Black Death – a potent schnapps made from potato and caraway.

After the Thorrablot dinner traditional songs, and storytelling takes place. Thorrablot in Utah will not be having the traditional drink known as Black Death.

Thorrablot 2013 sponsored by the Icelandic Association of Utah will be February 23rd, 2013 (last Saturday in February), at the Veterans Memorial Building in Spanish Fork, Utah, beginning at 6:00 p.m. For more information follow the Icelandic Association of Utah on facebook at Icelandic Association of Utah

Friday, January 18, 2013

Snorri Programs

The Snorri Program

Go to to apply!

The Snorri Program 2013 deadline has been extended to Thursday January 24, 2013 –
The Snorri Program is an opportunity for young people (18-28) of Icelandic origin living in Canada and the United States of America, to discover the country, culture, nature and language of their ancestors, and to create and/or strengthen new bonds with relatives living in Iceland. The Snorri Program offers an exciting six-week adventure starting in mid June every year, until the end of July. The program offers a unique experience of the country, its nation, culture and nature.

The program has been running since 1999 and 182 young individuals have participated successfully. It is a co-operative assignment between the Nordic Association and the Icelandic National League in Iceland.

Would you like to...
·         Travel and learn something new?
·         Experience something completely different?
·         Meet people and make new friends?
·         Stay with Icelandic relatives?
·         Learn about Icelandic culture and language?
·         Travel to some of Iceland’s most exotic spots?
·         Volunteer in an Icelandic community?
·         Prepare yourself for be the biggest adventure of your life!

The Snorri Program 2013 deadline has been extended to Thursday January 24, 2013

Snorri Plus Program

2013 is a great year to travel to Iceland!
We have passion for your heritage and that's why we created Snorri Plus.

The program is both for people (30 and up) who have never been to Iceland and those who have been to Iceland once or more often. It is for individuals, couples or families with focus on your Icelandic roots, although people do not have Icelandic blood running through their veins may apply as well. We meet the needs of everyone. We focus on relatives, culture and nature and do our best to connect people with their Icelandic relatives.

The program consists of the same components as the Snorri Program but in two weeks rather than six. You will not only meet relatives, you will bond with other people from Canada and the United States who share the same background and interest in Iceland. You will also meet your Icelandic 'work colleagues' and/or get help with finding more information about your special interests or hobbies. Our focus is that our participants gain more from Snorri Plus than they would if they came as ordinary tourists.
Anyone living in Canada or the United States can apply for this exciting adventure. As long as you are over 30 (no age limit) and healthy you are eligible to participate. Applications will be accepted in the order they are received. Please note that all our programs are non-profit.

Departure from North America, August 14, 2013 (arrival Aug 15)
Departure from Iceland, August 28, 2013
Almost 100 people have participated in the Snorri Plus Program and they all highly recommend it.
One of Snorri Plus participants, Lin Floyd St. George, Utah, said. "People simply do not understand how fantastic this opportunity is!!" "As a participant in Snorri Plus in August 2011, I can say it fulfilled a lifelong dream of mine as a genealogist for over 50 years to walk on the land where some of my ancestors lived. A special part of the program was getting in touch with Icelandic cousins who shared the same heritage I do. It was like a giant family reunion in Reykjavik and in the Westman Islands. I learned so much of the history and culture of my ancestors plus touring and walking in the diverse landscape helped me to appreciate the land of fire and ice. Meeting and visiting with the President of Iceland was a special treat. I would recommend anyone interested in Iceland to check out Snorri Plus - it's well worth the time and money. Traveling alone from the United States to Iceland as a 71 year old, I became part of another family at Snorri Plus as our small group of participants bonded after spending two weeks together in classes, touring and partying.
It was so fun now I have over 2000 photos of this beautiful land to share with my family here. Thanks for a memorable experience."

Apply Now!
The Snorri Plus deadline is January 31, 2013.
Go to to apply!