The Emigration from Iceland to North America
22 January 2007   Newsletter - Nr 58
Keeping in touch as often as possible!
 70-years wedlock and more

The Church at Sauđanes
The Church at Sauđanes, North East Iceland.
Long wedlocks are still something you witness, of course, either personally or through the media of some kind. You hear about it, you read about it or whatever.
Of course it is relevant what you call a long wedlock - to some celebrities few weeks of marriage is long enough while to some normal people five years or so has been like a sentence to . . . . others live happily for six, seven - or more, much more.
Nowadays when divorces are becoming more and more common (in Iceland more than 40% of all marriages ends with a divorce according to the statistic for 2001-2005 - don't know about the statistic over there in NA), a long wedlock is something fewer than before will reach, even though long life expectancy is growing.
Well, everyone lives as he/she chooses or according to his/her fancy. We all seek our happyness in one way or another.
I'm sure the couple from North Dakota, the Icelandic immigrants Kristján G. Kristjánsson (1850-1953) and Svanfríđur Jónsdóttir (1856-1953), made each other happy all the 75 years + 297 days they were married. I don't know if this length of a marriage is a North Dakota or even a U.S. record but it surpasses the Icelandic "wedlock record" which is 75 years and 140 days. Kristján and Svanfríđur were married 7 June 1877 in the church at Sauđanes, North East Iceland, the church built by Kristjáns father and the following day they started the long journey of their emigration which ended in Mountain, N.-Dakota where they raised their home and family. Another couple who lived a long live - and a happy one, I presume - were Sigurđur Sölvason (1865-1966) and Jóhanna Stefánsdóttir (1873-1981). They were married in 1894 and emigrated in 1899. They settled at first in Mountain, N-Dakota and moved later to Saskatchewan. Their marriage lasted for 71 year and 168 days.
The Wedlock world record? Well, in 2005 Percy Arrowsmith, 105, and his 100-year-old wife Florence, living in Hereford, England, could celebrate their 80th wedding anniversary. According to Guinness World Records they also held at that time the record for the largest combined age of any married couple - 205 years and 292 days. Mrs Arrowsmith claimed the key to a happy union was "never to go to bed as enemies". Mr Arrowsmith summed up the secret in two words: "Yes dear". - Something you guys should keep in mind.

 Another Lessard! - Same family?
In Newsletter #56 I put forward my querie about Katrín Árnadóttir who married the Frenchman Alphonse Lessard. And I certainly got a respond beond my expectations. The other day when I was working on my database (as I do every day) I suddenly came across the name Lessard. And I could not see any connection to Katrín Árnadóttir.
In 1905 Sigurđur Jósefsson, born 10 May 1885, emigrated to Canada. At first he worked for farmers in Manitoba and Saskatchewan and later he farmed himself in Tantallon, Sask. His wife, actually his second wife, was Clara Johannsdottir (1904-1944) from Reykjavik. She emigrated with her parents in 1912. Sigurđur and Clara had a daughter, born 2 Aug 1927, whose name is Clara. Yes, just like her mother's name. She married a Frenchman with the name Lessard. And now I wonder if that man might be related to Alphonse and Katrín Lessard. Maybe their grandson?

 Longevity in the 2nd generation of Icelandic immigrants
My list of Icelandic immigrants who reached to be 100 years old or even more, was obviously of interest to some of my readers. I got some new names to put on this interesting list. I have also got several names of people, born to Icelandic immigrants in Canada and United States, the second generation, who reached the age of 100 years and even more. This time I want to introduce to you siblings who all became really grown up.
Guđmundur Markússon emigrated in 1888, 28 years old unmarried farmhand, from Fagridalur near Vopnafjörđur in East Iceland (see Newsletter #19 for a picture of Fagridalur and the location). Guđmundur's parents were Markús Jónsson (1824-1896) and Ása Einarsdóttir (1832-1903). Ása emigrated in 1887 - left Markús behind in Iceland - together with her daughter Björg, who became Kristján Björnsson (Snifeld) Snćfeld's second wife, and her son Einar who was already married to Ingibjörg Ögmundsdóttir. Guđmundur Markússon married Ingibjörg Sigríđur Finnsdóttir in Canada and they had as far as I know six children. One, Ósk Ingibjörg, may have died at young age, but the others were Sveinbjörn Kristján Markusson, 92 years old (1905-1997), Einar Ólafur Markusson who became 97 years old (1886-1993), Finnur Björn Markusson, 101 years old (1900-2001), Guđný Kristín Markusson became 105 years old (1899-2004) and Jóhannes Ólafur Markusson, born 1901 and still alive at the age of 105! Their niece, Björg Snifeld became 100 years old as well as their great grandmother (Markus Jónsson´s grandmother), Guđrún Guđmundsdóttir (1748-1849). Must be the genes.

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