The Emigration from Iceland to North America
15 December 2009   Newsletter - Nr 71

Well, have to rely on my good old Christmas decoration once again!
 From the desk . . . .
Merry Christmas
to all my friends!
Christmas is coming one again! And still one more year is about to leave. I remember those days when days were too long, not passing fast enough so I could get this or that, my drivers licence or - whatever. That was long time ago. Now the days are rushing by much too quickly so I can't do even half of what I want to. Well, maybe it's me being so slow. So slow that I couldn't even think of what happened just recently when I LOST ALL my incoming email from the last four years or so up to the day a week ago. Terrible, terrible. A lot of mail - queries - I hadn't had the time to work on. So if you have wondered why I did not reply to your queries, this is maybe a reason. Well, partly at least. So, please send me all your queries again and I'll see what I can do.
In my Newsletter #70 (the last one) I mentioned my part in the Nordic Stamp exhibition NORDIA 2009 here in Iceland. The consequences? Well, I was drawn into the board of the philatelic federation as secretary and webmaster ( So now my time is split on two good hobbies, stamps and genealogy.
As some of you may know,
retirement is a pretty tiresome business. Therefore, in October, we felt that we needed a little rest and flew to the town Turgutreis on the sunny beach of the Turkish Mediterranian coast. We had a wonderful time there in rather unusual (for us) surroundings. The town is a popular holiday destination with its 5 kilometres of sandy beaches, waterfront restaurants and bars.
Well, as said in the beginning: Christmas is coming one again! Wherever you go, the God is said to be the same whatever the religion is named. Therefore I show you the beautiful Mosque in Turgutreis along with the old and beautiful turf church in Hof in Öræfi at the slopes og Vatnajökull glacier, southeast Iceland. Not many emigrated from that area. Anyway, a big family emigrated from the farm Hofsnes situated nearby the church. The farmer there, Magnús Jónsson emigrated in 1903 with his wife Jórunn Þorvarðardóttir and their ten children. At first the family settled in Winnipeg where they took the name Johnson, but after Magnús' death the family moved to Riverton. A daugther, Guðrún Magnúsdóttir Johnson married Jón Thorsteinn Eyjolfsson from Unaland in Riverton. They had many children. I wonder if any of Jorunn and Magnus Johnson's many descendants reads this. It would be interesting to hear of them. Having said this -

 Helgi Einarsson
In these days just before Christmas it would be a tremendous advantage if one could make (fabricate, print) one's own money. I know of one who could and did. And got away with it so to speak. He was an Icelander, named Helgi Einarsson, born 1870, and emigrated in 1887 with his parents and two siblings. He became a fisherman and a successful merchant with affairs in Narrows, Fairford, Lake St. Martin, Sandy Bay, Steep Rock and Little Saskatchewan. He had business contacts from Westborne, Man. to Reindeer Island in Lake Winnipeg. To make his business run smoothly he made his own money, coins (5, 10, 25 and 50 cents) and bills in one and five dollars. (Tokens or Credit-vouchers). The money were made in Winnipeg and taken into use in 1907. Helgi is supposed to have been the first one in western Canada to export fresh fish on the market in US. In 1928 Helgi ran into finacial crisis and was nearly bankrupt but managed to run his business on a small scale until 1955. Helgi's wife was Sara Stagg. They had four sons: Petur, Jon, Vilhjalmur and Henrik. Helgi died in 1961 and was buried in Dauphin River, Manitoba.

Helgi Einarsson's book-keeper was, as can be seen on the bills, Óli (Kristinn) Coghill, born 1888 in east Iceland, the son of Sigridur Olafsdottir and John Coghill from Scotland. In Canada Óli married Valgerður Helen, daughter of Jóhann Ólafur Ólafsson Briem (1845-1938) and Margrét Guðrún Pálsdóttir (1863-1937). Óli and Valgerdur had four children.
It would be interesting to know about Helgi Einarsson's and Óli Coghill's descendants. Does anybody know about these people?

Merry Christmas again :-)

 From my window
December afternoon 2009

 My online database
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Mats Wibe
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