The Emigration from Iceland to North America
The Weekly Newsletter - Nr 2
March 8, 2003   Keeping in touch every single week! (almost)
 Thank you!
Thanks to all of you for joining my Mail list. More than 50 has joined since Feb 28th. Unfortunately there were some troubles at the host, it was not accessible at all times and some people could not join. Hopefully these problems are over.
I know already many of you through interesting correspondance over the years, I have even met some of you here in Iceland, I have tried to assist some of you in your search for ancestral lines but some of you (few I hope) may even think that I'm a total . . . . (censored), having not responded to your queries.
Well, that's not because I didn't want to. Maybe I didn't have the answere so complete as I wanted and put the question aside, intending to work on it later. But steady flow of emails and only few hours in the evenings and weekends for this hobby simply makes me let some of you down. Sorry. No intention.
Anyway, my interest for this topic, the genealogy, and especially the genealogy and history of the Icelandic people who emigrated and searched for a new life in a new country keeps me going along with you and please, please don't stop writing, don't stop asking and not the least give me and other List members information through this Newsletter so the search for roots and family becomes easier all the time.

 Your Ancestor
 Vise men say that all living Icelanders descend from bishop Jón Arason at Hólar in Skagafjörđur county, North Iceland. And that includes of course all of you descending from Icelandic settlers in N-America. If you have ever received your ancestral family tree generated from an Icelandic genealogy database for - say - 12 to 15 generations you will without doubt find among your ancestors, bishop Jón Arason, who was considered one of the greatest chiefs Iceland has ever had. Jón Arason, born 1484, was the last Catholic bishop in Iceland and fearlessly he refused to adopt the Reformation when it was directly ordered by the Danish king Christian III that the Icelandic people should adopt the new faith with all that it implied.
Bishop Jón Arason´s struggle against the king's power ended by his being seized in the autumn of 1550 and beheaded 7 Nov that year with two of his sons, Björn and Ari, without legal proceedings on demand of the king's representative.
Jón Arason was not married, his mistress was Helga Sigurđardóttir and together they had four sons, Magnús, Sigurđur, Björn and Ari and the daughters Helga and Ţórunn. They all had descendants except Ţórunn.
You can see a very small file of Jón Arason's descendants which I started nearly five years ago, but after the start I did nothing!
Do you know how you descend from Bishop Jón Arason?

 What's in a name?
Most names have a meaning, also the Icelandic ones - believe it or not ; )
Have you ever wondered about the meaning of your Icelandic grandmother's name or great grandmother's. Take a look at my page Icelandic names and see if you find your ancestors names. I know I have a way to go before that page is finished, if it ever will be finished :) Anyway, if you don't find the name you search for, just let me know and I'll see if I can do anything about it.

 Interesting book
Lundar Diamond Jubilee - 1887 to 1947. Few years ago I came across this interesting book. It's the story of the Swan Lake and Shoal Lake Settlements in Manitoba, Canada. The book was published in 1948, the content in English and Icelandic and two years later an additional volume was published in Icelandic. For those searching for settlers in these areas the two volumes are very useful, giving genealogical information on (probably) most of the settlers' families as well as a lot of very interesting photos.
Let me know about book you find interesting and useful in your genealogical work in regard to your Icelandic roots.

 Where did they come from?
The North and the east of Iceland had to say farewell to the largest number of Emigrants. The number of emigrants from the counties in Northern Iceland are as follows: 1361 from Húnavatnssýsla, 1422 from Skagafjarđarsýsla, 1024 from Eyjafjarđarsýsla and 1945 from Ţingeyjarsýsla (North and South) or 5752 all together. Consider that in the year 1901 the population in Iceland was 78470 inhabitants.
Emigration ports in North Iceland were Borđeyri, Sauđárkrókur, Akureyri and Húsavík.
Take a look at my page The Shires and Townships in Iceland before and during the years of Emigration. Clicking in the counties names you find the name of parishes in each county and the name of the farms in each parish as given in the 1880 census.

From Lake Mývatn in Ţingeyjarsýsla South.
Bláfjall (Blue Mountain) in background.

If you have finished the newsletter - well, then a click in the picture brings you to a very interesting site with a wealth of information regarding certain areas in North of Iceland. Enjoy!

Settler of the Week
Choosing the Settler of the Week shouldn't be a problem. There is such a great number of men and women who emigrated that it's just to pick one or two randomly from the thousands. And that's what we do today.

Lárus Sigurđur Lárusson Freeman
emigrated in 1881 from Dalasýsla county, West Iceland. He settled in Akra, N-Dakota US, and later in Pine Valley, Manitoba, Canada.

Ásgerđur Sturludóttir
emigrated from Dalasýsla county, West Iceland, in 1888. She became Lárus Freeman's wife.

Jón Magnússon Nordal
emigrated in 1876 from Mýrasýsla county, West Iceland, and settled in Argyle, later in Glenboro, Manitoba, Canada.

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This Newsletter is sent to you by
Hálfdan Helgason
Reykjavík, Iceland.

Next number:
15 March 2003