The Emigration from Iceland to North America
The Weekly Newsletter - Nr 10
May 17, 2003  Keeping in touch every single week! (almost)
Well, how many of you are interested for Ice hockey? Yea, I said Ice hockey. Here in Iceland we don't have any Ice hockey tradition, but in recent years this very exciting sport has gradually become more and more popular, though so far mostly amongst kids and youngsters, their parents and grandfathers :-)
My interest for this sport is more than 40 years old, or from the time I lived for some years in Sweden. There this sport is really in the blood and bones of each and everyone (almost). Last week the Ice hockey World tournament was held in Finland and Sunday afternoon The Winnipeg Falcons I was glued to the TV-screen waching the final match between Sweden and Canada. My ties and feelings for Sweden are strong since my years over there, but I feel also very strong for Canadian Ice hockey. Why? To those who don't know, I can tell that the team that got Canada on the map as a real and top Ice hockey nation, was more or less "Icelandic". In the Olympic games 1920 the "Winnipeg Falcons" took the gold medal with superiority. The coach was G. Sigurjonsson and the players were Hebbie Axford, Wally Byron, Slim Halldorsson, Frank Fredrickson, Konnie Johannesson, Mike Goodman, Huck Woodman, Bobby Benson, Chris Fridfinnson and Bill Fridfinnson.
It would be interesting to know more about these players and their ties to the Icelandic settlers. Can you help?
Again to the match last Sunday. In short, if you shouldn't know, Canada took the gold. I can't describe the final minutes. It was too exciting, you had to see for yourself

Having written the above and searching for relevant links on the Web I found these interesting pages:
Winnipeg Falcons: Vikings on Ice.
Winnipeg Falcons - Canada's first Ol. Hockey Champ., Antwerp 1920.
Winnipeg Falcons - Military Biographies.
From these pages you can see the Falcons' ties to the Icelandic settlers. Is any of these guys in your family?

 The Almanak
When searching for Icelandic settlers in North America, or their nearest descendants, the Almanak is invalueable and I'm often referring to it in my search and replies to questions and queries. That leads of course to a new question: This Almanak, what is that? Where can I find it? Well, the Almanak is a Journal that was published annually from 1895 to 1954 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, by Ólafur S. Thorgeirsson. The Journal is in Icelandic and focus on the Icelandic settlements with short sketches on the settlers, where they came from, their families and so on. Often a photo is given. Each year the Journal list people of Icelandic origin that deceased the preceding year, when they died, and often where they died and to whom they were married, if there was a marriage, and so on. Information that in many cases are not to be found anywhere else.
The Almanak is of course not available anymore, unless you find it in some "used-book" store as I did some five or six years ago. Do you find it in your Public Library?

 Icelanders in the Klondike Gold Rush
In my last Newsletter I mentioned the Gold Rush to Klondike which I said is in Alaska but as you all know, Klondike is in Canada´s Yukon Territory.
One little-known chapter in the history of Icelandic immigrants in North America is that of the Yúkonfarar (Yukonfarers) - Icelanders who joined the Gold Rush to the Yukon around the turn of the last century. Among those who flocked to the Klondike in search of gold between 1897 and 1904 were more than 40 Icelanders from as far afield as Winnipeg, the Interlake, North Dakota, Utah, Vancouver, and Washington State according to Nelson Gerrard in Árborg, Manitoba, and he goes on with the following:
In the summer of 2003, Edmonton's Klondike Days will feature Scandinavians, and in response Edmonton's Icelandic club Norđurljós is sponsoring an exhibit on the Icelanders who went to the Klondike and played a part in this major Canadian drama. The exhibit, currently being researched and designed by Nelson Gerrard, will tell the story of the Icelandic Klondike Farers in text and pictures.
More than a century has now elapsed since the occurrence of these events, and the stories have almost all been forgotten, even among descendants of the Klondike Farers. Fortunately, true to character, a few Icelanders in the Yukon wrote home with news of their adventures, and some of their letters have been preserved. Even a poet or two went along, and some poetry reflecting the experiences of the gold seekers has also been discovered. A few photos of the Klondike Farers are also known, but many remain faceless.
Klondike Farers
Click to see an enlarged picture
If readers of the Newsletter should happen to know of any letters or artifacts relating to Icelanders who participated in the Klondike Gold Rush, or of any photographs of these men and women, please contact Nelson Gerrard by e-mail, by phone/fax at 204-378-2758, or by mail at Box 925, Arborg, Manitoba, R0C 0A0. Time is short, so any and all input is welcome.
Following are the names of Icelandic Klondike Farers currently known, **indicates good photo known, *indicates image from printed source:

Albert Jónsson, Winnipeg - Ármann Bjarnason, Winnipeg - Árni Thórđarson, Winnipeg and Gimli - Ástráđur Jónsson*, Lundar (died in the Klondike) - Bergvin Jónsson*, Winnipeg, Seattle - Bjarni Stefánsson, Hallson, Piney - Björn Magnússon, Utah - Björn Stefánsson - Eiríkur Runólfsson, Akra, ND - Eiríkur Sumarliđason**, Winnipeg - Guđjón Vigfússon, Iceland - Hannes Snćbjörnsson Hanson? - Hjörtur Jónsson (Hordal?), Winnipeg - Jóhann Jónsson, Winnipeg - Jóhannes Helgason (Bergen)**, New Iceland, Seattle - Jón Jónsson 'Yúkonfari', Point Roberts, Seattle - Jón Tryggvi Jónsson Bergmann**, Winnipeg, Seattle, Medicine Hat - Jón Jónsson Bíldfell*, Winnipeg - Jón Jónsson Hordal*, Lundar - Jón Sigfússon Bergmann?, Gardar, ND - Jón Stefánsson, Hallson, Piney - Jón Thorsteinsson 'Hotel', Gimli - Jón Valdimarsson, Winnipeg - Jónas Bergmann (Captain), New Iceland, Vancouver - Jónas B. Brynjólfsson**, New Iceland, Winnipegosis - Júlíus Jakobsson Eyford?, ND - Krist? (from Utah) - Kristján Guđmundsson - Kristján Matthíasson, Sinclair, Man. - Kristján Sveinsson, Helena, Montana - Kristján Pétursson**, Hayland - Lárus Sölvason*, Víđir - Magnús Pétursson, Nome - Marteinn Jónsson - Oddbjörn Magnússon, Winnipeg - Oddur Jónsson*, New Iceland, Vancouver - Ólafur Jónsson, Utah - Sigurđur Jón Jóhannesson**, Winnipeg - Sveinn Bjarnason, Winnipeg - Sölvi Sölvason, Winnipeg and Point Roberts - Teitur Thomas**, Winnipeg - Thorkell Jónsson, Vancouver, Victoria.

Settler of the Week

Ólafur S. Thorgeirsson

Ólafur S. Thorgeirsson

In 1887 Ólafur emigrated to Canada at the age of 23 with his parents Ţorgeir Guđmundsson, goldsmith in Akureyri, Northern Iceland and Sigríđur Ólafsdóttir and siblings, Ţorgerđur Jónína, Jósef Vilmundur and Axel. Ólafur's brother Jóhann Gottfred had emigrated in 1882. The family settled in Saskatchewan, Canada. Ólafur, already a printer when he emigrated, settled later in Winnipeg where he became the owner, publisher and editor of the Almanak, which he published annually from 1895 to 1937 when he died. The Almanak continued annually to 1954.
In 1888 Ólafur married Jakobína Guđrún Jakobsdóttir (1863-1957) and together they had eight children, three of them died at youn age.
The children were: Kjartan, Ragnheiđur and Ólafía Sigríđur who all died at young age, Geir, Ólafur Sigtryggur, Karolina, married Ragnar Swanson in St. Boniface, Jakobina, married Jón Davidsson in Winnipeg and Ragnheiđur.

If you want further information on this family, write to Hálfdan

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