As we know
, the first Icelandic emigrants to North America were the so called Mormons who went to the promised land in Utah. It was already in the years just before 1860 the first Mormons left the Westman Islands in their search for Zion. And there were many to follow.
Many years later, in 1870, a group of seven people left Eyrarbakki in South Iceland and settled on Washington Island (Newsletter #8). The following years individuals and small groups began to venture west across the seas in hope for a brighter future.
As the number of emigrants increased, emigration agents appeared in Iceland and notification of their services soon began appearing in Icelandic newspapers.
These agents were paid a commission for each emigrant they recruited for the shipping lines resulting in a heavy "fight" for the emigrants as can be seen in the poster above. There, Jón G. Bergmann, a passenger of the Ancor line praises the food and condition provided by the company and advises his contrymen to rather travel with ships from that company than the Allan line which he had done six years earlier. Jón G. Bergmann's praise was written on board SS Circassia harboring New York 1 July 1884 and verified by six Icelandic fellow passengers, Sveinn Sveinbjörnsson, Sigurjóna Jóhannsdóttir, Hafliđi Guđmundsson, Una Ólafsdóttir, S.V. Sveinsdóttir and Sćunn Sigurđardóttir.
Who were these people? Sveinn Sveinbjörnsson
's son. Sigríđur's husband Sveinbjörn Sigurđsson had emigrated one year earlier from Ós in Eyjafjörđur and the family settled down in Gardar, N-Dakota. Hafliđi Guđmundsson
settled down in South Cypress, Manitoba. He took the family name Goodman, married Halldóra Stefánsdóttir and they had seven children: Kristján Sveinbjörn, Sigrún Margrét (married Felix Friđriksson in Edmonton), Ţorbjörg in Regina, Sask., Guđmundur in Broadview, Sask., Rosant Jón in Glenboro, Sveinbjörg Sólveig in Belmont, Man. and Kapitola in Winnipeg. Sigurjóna Jóhannsdóttir
, 21 and Jón Guđjónsson Bergmann
emigrated from Eyjafjarđarsýsla. Not yet quite sure about them. Una Ólafsdóttir
was 20 years old when she emigrated. She was from Thingeyjarsysla. Many of her half-siblings had already emigrated to Canada. Sćunn Sigurđardóttir
was 20 when she emigrated, her husband Ólafur Árnason emigrated one year earlier from Eyjafjarđarsýsla.
Do you know any of these names? Please let me know.