SS Waldensian, immigrant ship, 1878

SS Waldensian, immigrant ship, 1878
Did your people come to Canada with my people?
S.S.Waldensian (Montreal Ocean Steamship Co.)
Left Glasgow, July 21, 1878
Arrived Quebec, August 1, 1878
The Waldensian was 1407 tons. 7250 ft. It had several compartments set apart for passengers other than cabin passengers.
1.      
 Jon Gudmundsson, Labourer, single
2.       2. Bjorn Saemundsson, labourer, single
3.       Olafur Torlacius Helgason, Labourer, single
4.       Thorsteinn Kristjansson, Labourer, married
5.       Valgerdur Svensdottir, his wife, married
6.       Jon Shorsteinsson, child, single
7.       Jon Brandsson, farmer, married
8.       Margret Gudbrandsdottir, his wife, married
9.       Gudbrandur Jonsson, their child, single
10.   Askell Jonsson, their child single
11.   Kristin Jonsdottir, their child single
12.   Halflidi Gudbrandsson, labourer, single
13.   Kristjan Samuelsson, labourer, single
14.   Gudmundur Magnusson, labourer, married
15.   Helga Jonsdottir his wife, married
16.   Gudrun Gudmundsdottir, their child, single
17.   Olina Gudmundsdottir, their child, single
18.   Gudmundur Jonsson, farmer, married
19.   Thuridfur Halldorsdottir, his wife, married
20.   Gudmundur Gudmundsson, child, single
21.   Holmfridur Gudmundsdotttir, child, single
22.   Augerdur Petursdottir, occupation unknown, single
23.   Sturlaugur Gudbrnadsson, labourer, married
24.   Aslaug Gudmundsdottir, his wife, married
25.   Daniel Gudmundsson, farmer, married
26.   Arnbjorg Kristjansdottir, his wife, married
27.   Kristjan Danielsson, their child, single
28.   Adalbjartur Bjarnason, labourer, single
29.   Svein Gudmundsson, labourer, single
30.   Kristin Jonsdottir, domestic, single
31.   Gudmundur Jonsson, labourer, single
32.   Jens Sigurdsson, labouraer, married
33.   Gudrun Petursdottir, his wife, married
34.   Sigurdur Jensson, child?, 10
35.   Petera Jensdottir, their child
36.   Karolina Jensdottir, their child
37.   Johann Jensson, their child
38.   Jon Jonsson, farmer, married
39.   Sigridur Jonsdottir, his wife
40.   Thorbjorg Jonsdottir, their child, single
41.   Jon Jonsson, their child, single
42.   Kristin Jonsdottir, their child, single
43.   Helga Jonsdottir, their child, single
44.   Thordur Magnusson, farmer, married
45.   Sigurlaug Eiriksdottir, his wife, married
46.   Isak Jonsson, their child, single
47.   Gudridur Thordardottir, their child, single

Halfdanarsson Labourer, married
Sigridur Gisladottir, his wife
Eggert Eggertsson, Labourer
Sigridur Einarsdottir, his wife
Karitas Eggertsdottir, their child
Maria Eggertsdottir, their child
Indridi Hallgrimsson, farmer, married
Ingveldur Gudmundsdottir, his wife
Gudmundur Indridason, their child
Helga Indridadottir, their child
Thorolfur Gudnason, farmer, married
Una Simonardottir, his wife
Thorolfur Thorolfsson, their child
Gudni Thorolfsson, their child
Malfridur Thorolfsdottir, their child
Thorgerdur Thorolfdottir, their child
Holmfridur Thorolfsdottir, their child
Halldor Halldorsson, farmer, married
Gudrun Gudmundsdotttir, his wife
Elin Halldorsdottir, their child
Halldora Halldorsdottir, their child
Johannes Halldorsson, their child
Ingibjorg Halldorsdottir, t heir child
Sigridur Halldorsdottir, their child
Gudrun Halldorsdottir their child
Sigurlina Halldorsdottir, their child
Valgardur Jonsson, labourer, married
Kristin Jonsdottir, his wife
Kettill Valgardsson, their son
Arni Jonsson, Labourer, married
Gudlaug Eiriksdottir, his wife
Gudny Arnadottir, their child
Mensaldrina Arnadottir, their child
Gisli Eiriksson, farmer,married
Anna Einarsdottir,  his wife,
Einar Gislanson, their child
Margret Gisladottir, their child
Olafur Gislason, their child
Vilborg Gnnlaugsdottir, domestic, single
Brynjolfur Gunnluagsson, farmer, married
Halldora Sigvaldadottir,  his wife
Sigvaldi Brynjolfsson, their child
Magnus Jonsson, farmer, married
Gudbjorg Marteinsdottir,  his wife
Jonas Magnusson, their child
Sigridur Magnusdottir, their child
Josef Sigvaldsson, labourer, single
Gudmundur Marteinsson, labourer, married
Kristin Gunnlaugsdottir, his wife
Johanna Gudmundsdottir, their child
Helga Gudmundsdottir, their child
Marteinn Gudmundsson, their child
Gunnlauguer Gudmundsson, their child
Bjorg Gudmundsdottir,t heir child, this is the child who died in the sheds
Sigridur Einarsdottir, housewife, single
Edvard Thorleifsson, farmer, married
Sesselja Jonsdottir, his wife
Lara Edvardsdottir, their child
Jonina Rosa Edvardsdottir, t heir child
Kjartan Edvardsson, their child
ElinThora Edvardsdottir, their child
Lukka Edvardsdottir, their child
Kritin Edvardsdottir, their child
Sigvaldi Jonsson, labourer, married
Valgerdur Einarsdottir,  his wife
Halldor Jensson, Farmer, m arried
Sigurbjorg Fridfinnsdottir,  his wife
Kristjan Halldorsson, their child
Kristbjorg Halldorsdottir, their child
Johannes Halldorsson, labourer, married
Anna Sigurdardottir, his wife,
Leopold Sigvaldi Johannesson their child

1.       Pall Gunnarsson, farmer, married, 25
2.       Jorunn Jonsdottir, his wife, 27
3.       Adalbjorg Johannesdottir, 4
4.       Jon Gunnarsson, single, 26
5.       Palina Jondsdottir, single, 22
6.       Bardur Sigurdsson, single,25
7.       Johannes Sigurdsson, single, 15
8.       Gisli Einarsson, farmer, married, 24
9.       Elin Bjorg Gunnlaugsdottir, his wife, 35
10.   Maria Magnusdottir, sngle, 48
11.   Jakob Eiarsson, single, 12
12.   Arnbjorg Einarsdottir, single, 10
13.   Jon Folmer Hansson, labourer, married, 28
14.   Elina Jonasdottir, wife, married, 37
15.   Einar Einarsson, single, 16
16.   Svanfridur Einarsdottir, single, 13
17.   Jon Einarsson, single, 11
18.   Jonas Jonsson, single, 5
19.   Elina Jonsdottir, single, 4
20.   Sigurlaug Jonsdottir, single, 1
21.   Johann Jonsson, labourer, married, 32
22.   Gunnlaug Johannsdottir, child, 9
23.   Thorbjorg Johannsdottir, child, 5
24.   Sigrun Sigudardottir, domestic, single 18
25.   Karitas Arnadottir, wife, married, 60
26.   Jonina Jonsdottir, child, 4
27.   Halldor Jonsson, labourer, single, 34
28.   Sigurbjorn Jonsson, labourer, single, 27
29.    Sigurbjorn Hansson, farmer, married, 51
30.   Adalbjorg Jonsdottir, wife, 46
31.   Albert Sigurbjornson, single 22
32.   Sigurjona Sigurbjornsdottir, single, 20
33.   Hans K. Sigurbjornsson, single, 20
34.   Adalbjorg Sigurbjornsdottir, single, 13
35.   Jakobina Sigurbjornsdottir, single, 11
36.   Thuridur Sigurbjornadottir, single, 8
37.   Thorsteinn Sigurbjornsson, single, 5
38.   Kristjan Jonasson or Jonsson, labourer, single 19
39.   Thorkell Olafsson, labourer, married, 30
40.   Helga Thuridur Johannsdottir, wife, 22 but ?sngle?
41.   Kristjan Jonsson, farmer, married, 25
42.   Anna Thorey Arnadottir, wife, 34
43.   Johannes Kristjansson, 3
44.   Kristjan Kristjansson, 2
45.   Sigurgeir Kristjansson, 6 months
46.   Johann Sigurdsson, farmer, married, 35
47.   Johanna Jonatansdottir, wife, 35
48.   Fridbjorn Johannsson, 12
49.   Sigurdur Johannsson, 9
50.   Johan Johannsson, 7
51.   Ingibjorg Johannsdottir, 4
52.   Sigurbjorg Johannsdottir, 1
53.   Julius Johannsson, 2

1.       Kristjan Arnason, labourer, married, 30
2.       Thora Jonsdottir, his wife, 30
3.       Kristjan Julius Kristjansson, 4
4.       ARni Olafur Kristjansson, 3
5.       Jonina Thora Kristjansdottir, 6 months
6.       Jonas Halldorsson, farmer, 33
7.       Johanna Jonsdottir, his wife, 32
8.       Sigridur Jonasdottir, 8
9.       Hallgrimur Jonsson, labourer, married, 49
10.   Nyborg Jonsdottir, his wife, 48
11.   Jon Gudmundsson, labourer, single, 19
12.   Krsitjan Niels Jonsson, labourer, single, 19
13.   Johann Johannsson, labourer, married, 27
14.   Valgerdur Gudmundsdottir, his wife, 27
15.   Stefan Jonsson, farmer, married, 47
16.   Stefan jonsson, farmer, married, 46
17.   Bjorg Kristjansdottir, his wife, 47
18.   Stefan jonsson, farmer, married, 46
19.   Bjorg Kristjansdottir, hiswife, 47
20.   Jonina Stefansdottir, single, 20
21.   Sigurlaug Stefansdottir, single, 12
22.   Kjartan Isefeld Stefansson, 6
23.   Baldvin Jonsson, labourer, married, 25
24.   Arnfridur Jonsdottir, his wife, 27
25.   Jon Baldvinsson, six months
26.   Sigurbjorg Sigurdardottir, housewife, married, 67
27.   Sigurdur Kraksson, farmer, married, 24
28.   Kristin Thorsteinsdottir, his wife, 24
29.   Halldor Sigurdsson, 6 months
30.   Johann Johannsson, farmer, married, 35
31.   Gudrun Olafsdottir, his wife, 35
32.   Sigurveig Johannsdottir, 7
33.   Valdimar Palsson, single 17, different name but marked as family with Johann and Gudrun
34.   Tryggvi Palsson, 15, also marked as family with Johann and Gudrun
35.   Gisli Eiriksson, laborer, sngle, 36
36.   Gudny Sigmundsdottir, domestic, single, 37
37.   Johannes Egilsson, farmer, married, 30
38.   Sigurlaug Stefansdottir, his wife, 31
39.   Stefan Johannesson, 7
40.   Helga Johannesdottir, 1
41.   Egill Johannesson 3 months
42.   Sofanias Olafsson, labourer, single 32
43.   Arni Thorleifsson, labourer, married, 61
44.   Elisabet Jonasdottir, his wife, 50
45.   Gudrun Halldorsdottir, domestic single, 16
46.   Valdimar Jonsson, 8
47.   Arni Hallgrimsson, 7
48.   Kristjana Jonsdottir but ?Gudmundsdottir, domestic, 32
49.   Indridi Fridriksson Reinholt, labourer, single, 16
50.   Magnus Gudmundsson, labourer, single, 22
51.   Josep Josefsson? Jonssson, farmer, married, 42
52.   Sigridur Eyjolfsdottir?, child, single, 16
53.   Johann,  no last name, single, 15  Magnus, Josef, Sigurdur, Johann are marked as family unit
54.   Sigbjorn Sigurdsson, farmer, married, 31
55.   Steinunn Magnusdottir, married, 30
56.   Gudny Sigbjornsdottir, 6
57.   Gudridur Sigbjornsdottir, 4
58.   Kristjana Sigbjornsdottir, 2
59.   Sigrun Sigbjornsdottir, 13
60.   Bjorn Bjarnasson, labouarer, single, 20
61.   Eyjolfur Kristjansson, farmer, married, 53
62.   Lukka Gisladottir, wife, 45
63.   Gisli Eyjolfsson, single, 24
64.   Thorsteinn Eyjolfsson, single, 22
65.   Jon Eyjolfsson, single, 21
66.   Margret Eyjolfsson, single, 18,
67.   Sigridur Eyjolfsdottir, single, 10
68.   Sigfus Petursson, farmer, married, 37
69.   Gudrun Thnora Sveinsdottir, his wife, 33
70.   Gudrun Salina Sigfusdottir, 7
71.   Sigurbjorg Sigfusdottir, 4
72.   Gudny Johanna Sigfusdottir, 2
73.   Child? Olof Margret Sigfusdottir, Infant
74.   Gunnlaugur Magnusson, farmer, married, 55
75.   Gudfinna Vilhjalmsdottir, is wife, 47
76.   Sigurdur Gunnlaugsson, single, 13
77.   Gudfinna Gunnlaugsdottir, 11
78.   Kristin Thorsteinsdottir, 17
79.   Sigurdur Oddsson, farmer, single, 55
80.   Magnus Thorsteinsson, farmer, married, 36
81.   Vilhelmina Gudmundsdottir, his wife, 26
82.   Eyrikur Magnusson, 8
83.   Thorsteinn Erlendsson, single, 68
84.   Gudmundur Mangusson, six months
85.   Kristbjorg Thorsteinsdottir, single, 24
86.   Johann Gudnason, six months
87.   Sigurbjorn Stefansson, farmer, married, 24
88.   Sesselja Eriksdottir, his wife, 24
89.   Helga Arngrimsdottir, housewife, single, 60
90.   Gudrun Eiriksdottir, domestic, single, 22
91.   Eyjolfur Jonsson, farmer, married, 45
92.   Sigurveig Sigurdardottir, his wife, 45
93.   Gudmudur Eyjolfsson, 11
94.   Gdbjorg Eyjolfsdottir, 7
95.   Svanhvit Ejolfsdottir, 5
96.   Brgvin Kristjansson, married, 35
97.   Kristjana Bregvinsdottir, 7
98.   Runolfur Bergvinsson, 6
99.   Margret Bergvinsdottir, 4
Bjorn Jonasson, farmer, married, 29
Sigridur Sigurdardottir, his wife, 32
Steinnun Thorbergsdottir, 8
Thorbergur Thorbergsson, 8
Kristin Jonasdottir, housewife, single, 32
Jakob Sveinbjornsson, child, single, 10
Eirikur Jonsson, farmer, married, 27
Vilborg Stefansdottir, his wife, 28
Ingibjorg Gudmundsdottir, housewife, single 34
Fridrik Jonsson? Jonasson, 10
Gudni Hansson, 4
Eirika Eiriksdottir, 6 months
Bergljot Eiriksdottir, 6 months
Einar Gudmundsson, farmer,  married, 43
Gudrun Asfrimsdottir, is wife, 42
Gudmundur Einarsson, sngle 23
Halldor Sigurdsson, 12
Asmundur Eiriksson, farmer, married, 26
Eirikur Torfason, farmer, single, 30
Arnfridur Asgrimsdottir, housewife, sngle, 45
Arni Magnusson, farmer, married, 55
Ingibjorg Thorkellsdottir, his wife, 36
Arnfridur Asmundsdottir, hosewife, single, 40
Petur Gudmundsson, 12
Sigurjon Jonsson, 1
Gisli Arnason, farmer, married, 22
Gudrun Thorsteinsdottir, his wife, 22
Bjarni Gislason, farmer, 26
Kristjan Kristjansson, farmer, married, 28
Svanfridur Jonsdottir, his wife, 21
Thorsteinn Kristjansson? Einarsson, farmer, 21  KK, SJ and TK are marked as all on same ticket
Josef Helgason, farmer, married, 33
Helgi Jon Josefsson, 5
Eyjolfur Gudmundsson, farmer, married, 45
Thorunn Sigurdardottir, his wife, 44
Anna Eyjolfsdottir, 11
Jonina Eyjolfsdottir, 4
Adalmundur Gudmundsson, farmer, married, 24
Julianna Einarsdottir, his wife, 29
Johann Gunnarsson, farmer, single, 26
Jon Sigurdsson, farmer, married, two ages given, 21 and 29
Margret Gudmundsdotttir, his wife, 26
Olof Margret Jonsdottir, 2
Johannes Jonsson, farmer, single, 51
Pall Th. Thorsteinsson, farmer, single, 21
Jon Jonsson, farmer, married, 36?
Kristin or Katrin Bjornsdottir, his wife, 47?
Jon Bjarnason, 11
Josef Bjarnason? Bjornsson, farmer, married, 47
Malmfridur Hallgrimsdottir, his wife, 49
Josafat Josefsson, 12
Helga Josefsdottir, 11
Hallgrimur Josefsson, 8
Kristjan Josefsson, 6
Gudrun Josefsdottir, 3
Kristjan Eiriksson, farmer, married, 28
Ragnhildur Thorlaksdottir, his wife, 26
Einar Jonsson, farmer, married, 42
Olafia Hansdottir, his wife, 40
Sigurdur or Sigurgeir Einarsson, single, 17? Or21
Sigvaldi no last name, 15
Bjorn, no last name 3   but both these children included as “family” with Einar and Olafia
Jon Emundsson, farmer, married, 27
Jonina? Juliana Einarsdottir, his wife, 25, has child during the voyage
Eirikur Eymundsson, farmer, married, 32
Helga Jonsdottir or Johannsdottir, his wife, 32
Margret Eiriksdottir, 4
Johann Eiriksson, 2
Sigfinnur Petursson, farmer, married, 35
Sigurbjorg Sigurdardottir, his wife, 35
Oli Sigfinnsson, 15
Halli Bjornsson, 9
Jorgen Bjornsson, 19
Sigridur Bjornsdottir, 12
Eln Sigurbjornsdottir, 12
Friman? Finnujr Gjudmndsson, 8
Gudrun Sigfusdottir, six months
Sigridur Vigfusdottir, married, 41
Rosa Palsdottir, married, 19 from Halli to Rosa, the group is marked as one family
Einar Bessason, farmer, married, 54
Lilja Vigfusdottir, his wife, 54
Asbjorn Asbjornsson, labourer, single, 25
Petur Petursson, Lbourer, married, 26
Sigurveig Jonsdottir, his wife, married, 24
Gudrun Jonsdottir, hosewife, married, 62
Gudrun Petursdottir, six months
Jon Thorsteinsson, farmer, married, 54
Kristin Jonsdottir, his wife, 54

1.       Kristjan Arnason, labourer, married, 30
2.       Thora Jonsdottir, his wife, 30
3.       Kristjan Julius Kristjansson, 4
4.       Arni Olafur Kristjansson, 3
5.       Jonina Thora Kristjansdottir, 6 months
6.       Jonas Halldorsson, farmer, 33
7.       Johanna Jonsdottir, his wife, 32
8.       Sigridur Jonasdottir, 8
9.       Hallgrimur Jonsson, labourer, married, 49
10.   Nyborg Jonsdottir, his wife, 48
11.   Jon Gudmundsson, labourer, single, 19
12.   Krsitjan Niels Jonsson, labourer, single, 19
13.   Johann Johannsson, labourer, married, 27
14.   Valgerdur Gudmundsdottir, his wife, 27
15.   Stefan Jonsson, farmer, married, 47
16.   Stefan jonsson, farmer, married, 46
17.   Bjorg Kristjansdottir, his wife, 47
18.   Stefan jonsson, farmer, married, 46
19.   Bjorg Kristjansdottir, hiswife, 47
20.   Jonina Stefansdottir, single, 20
21.   Sigurlaug Stefansdottir, single, 12
22.   Kjartan Isefeld Stefansson, 6
23.   Baldvin Jonsson, labourer, married, 25
24.   Arnfridur Jonsdottir, his wife, 27
25.   Jon Baldvinsson, six months
26.   Sigurbjorg Sigurdardottir, housewife, married, 67
27.   Sigurdur Kraksson, farmer, married, 24
28.   Kristin Thorsteinsdottir, his wife, 24
29.   Halldor Sigurdsson, 6 months
30.   Johann Johannsson, farmer, married, 35
31.   Gudrun Olafsdottir, his wife, 35
32.   Sigurveig Johannsdottir, 7
33.   Valdimar Palsson, single 17, different name but marked as family with Johann and Gudrun
34.   Tryggvi Palsson, 15, also marked as family with Johann and Gudrun
35.   Gisli Eiriksson, laborer, sngle, 36
36.   Gudny Sigmundsdottir, domestic, single, 37
37.   Johannes Egilsson, farmer, married, 30
38.   Sigurlaug Stefansdottir, his wife, 31
39.   Stefan Johannesson, 7
40.   Helga Johannesdottir, 1
41.   Egill Johannesson 3 months
42.   Sofanias Olafsson, labourer, single 32
43.   Arni Thorleifsson, labourer, married, 61
44.   Elisabet Jonasdottir, his wife, 50
45.   Gudrun Halldorsdottir, domestic single, 16
46.   Valdimar Jonsson, 8
47.   Arni Hallgrimsson, 7
48.   Kristjana Jonsdottir but ?Gudmundsdottir, domestic, 32
49.   Indridi Fridriksson Reinholt, labourer, single, 16
50.   Magnus Gudmundsson, labourer, single, 22
51.   Josep Josefsson? Jonssson, farmer, married, 42
52.   Sigridur Eyjolfsdottir?, child, single, 16
53.   Johann,  no last name, single, 15  Magnus, Josef, Sigurdur, Johann are marked as family unit
54.   Sigbjorn Sigurdsson, farmer, married, 31
55.   Steinunn Magnusdottir, married, 30
56.   Gudny Sigbjornsdottir, 6
57.   Gudridur Sigbjornsdottir, 4
58.   Kristjana Sigbjornsdottir, 2
59.   Sigrun Sigbjornsdottir, 13
60.   Bjorn Bjarnasson, labouarer, single, 20
61.   Eyjolfur Kristjansson, farmer, married, 53
62.   Lukka Gisladottir, wife, 45
63.   Gisli Eyjolfsson, single, 24
64.   Thorsteinn Eyjolfsson, single, 22
65.   Jon Eyjolfsson, single, 21
66.   Margret Eyjolfsson, single, 18,
67.   Sigridur Eyjolfsdottir, single, 10
68.   Sigfus Petursson, farmer, married, 37
69.   Gudrun Thnora Sveinsdottir, his wife, 33
70.   Gudrun Salina Sigfusdottir, 7
71.   Sigurbjorg Sigfusdottir, 4
72.   Gudny Johanna Sigfusdottir, 2
73.   Child? Olof Margret Sigfusdottir, Infant
74.   Gunnlaugur Magnusson, farmer, married, 55
75.   Gudfinna Vilhjalmsdottir, is wife, 47
76.   Sigurdur Gunnlaugsson, single, 13
77.   Gudfinna Gunnlaugsdottir, 11
78.   Kristin Thorsteinsdottir, 17
79.   Sigurdur Oddsson, farmer, single, 55
80.   Magnus Thorsteinsson, farmer, married, 36
81.   Vilhelmina Gudmundsdottir, his wife, 26
82.   Eyrikur Magnusson, 8
83.   Thorsteinn Erlendsson, single, 68
84.   Gudmundur Mangusson, six months
85.   Kristbjorg Thorsteinsdottir, single, 24
86.   Johann Gudnason, six months
87.   Sigurbjorn Stefansson, farmer, married, 24
88.   Sesselja Eriksdottir, his wife, 24
89.   Helga Arngrimsdottir, housewife, single, 60
90.   Gudrun Eiriksdottir, domestic, single, 22
91.   Eyjolfur Jonsson, farmer, married, 45
92.   Sigurveig Sigurdardottir, his wife, 45
93.   Gudmudur Eyjolfsson, 11
94.   Gdbjorg Eyjolfsdottir, 7
95.   Svanhvit Ejolfsdottir, 5
96.   Brgvin Kristjansson, married, 35
97.   Kristjana Bregvinsdottir, 7
98.   Runolfur Bergvinsson, 6
99.   Margret Bergvinsdottir, 4
Bjorn Jonasson, farmer, married, 29
Sigridur Sigurdardottir, his wife, 32
Steinnun Thorbergsdottir, 8
Thorbergur Thorbergsson, 8
Kristin Jonasdottir, housewife, single, 32
Jakob Sveinbjornsson, child, single, 10
Eirikur Jonsson, farmer, married, 27
Vilborg Stefansdottir, his wife, 28
Ingibjorg Gudmundsdottir, housewife, single 34
Fridrik Jonsson? Jonasson, 10
Gudni Hansson, 4
Eirika Eiriksdottir, 6 months
Bergljot Eiriksdottir, 6 months
Einar Gudmundsson, farmer,  married, 43
Gudrun Asfrimsdottir, is wife, 42
Gudmundur Einarsson, sngle 23
Halldor Sigurdsson, 12
Asmundur Eiriksson, farmer, married, 26
Eirikur Torfason, farmer, single, 30
Arnfridur Asgrimsdottir, housewife, sngle, 45
Arni Magnusson, farmer, married, 55
Ingibjorg Thorkellsdottir, his wife, 36
Arnfridur Asmundsdottir, hosewife, single, 40
Petur Gudmundsson, 12
Sigurjon Jonsson, 1
Gisli Arnason, farmer, married, 22
Gudrun Thorsteinsdottir, his wife, 22
Bjarni Gislason, farmer, 26
Kristjan Kristjansson, farmer, married, 28
Svanfridur Jonsdottir, his wife, 21
Thorsteinn Kristjansson? Einarsson, farmer, 21  KK, SJ and TK are marked as all on same ticket
Josef Helgason, farmer, married, 33
Helgi Jon Josefsson, 5
Eyjolfur Gudmundsson, farmer, married, 45
Thorunn Sigurdardottir, his wife, 44
Anna Eyjolfsdottir, 11
Jonina Eyjolfsdottir, 4
Adalmundur Gudmundsson, farmer, married, 24
Julianna Einarsdottir, his wife, 29
Johann Gunnarsson, farmer, single, 26
Jon Sigurdsson, farmer, married, two ages given, 21 and 29
Margret Gudmundsdotttir, his wife, 26
Olof Margret Jonsdottir, 2
Johannes Jonsson, farmer, single, 51
Pall Th. Thorsteinsson, farmer, single, 21
Jon Jonsson, farmer, married, 36?
Kristin or Katrin Bjornsdottir, his wife, 47?
Jon Bjarnason, 11
Josef Bjarnason? Bjornsson, farmer, married, 47
Malmfridur Hallgrimsdottir, his wife, 49
Josafat Josefsson, 12
Helga Josefsdottir, 11
Hallgrimur Josefsson, 8
Kristjan Josefsson, 6
Gudrun Josefsdottir, 3
Kristjan Eiriksson, farmer, married, 28
Ragnhildur Thorlaksdottir, his wife, 26
Einar Jonsson, farmer, married, 42
Olafia Hansdottir, his wife, 40
Sigurdur or Sigurgeir Einarsson, single, 17? Or21
Sigvaldi no last name, 15
Bjorn, no last name 3   but both these children included as “family” with Einar and Olafia
Jon Emundsson, farmer, married, 27
Jonina? Juliana Einarsdottir, his wife, 25, has child during the voyage
Eirikur Eymundsson, farmer, married, 32
Helga Jonsdottir or Johannsdottir, his wife, 32
Margret Eiriksdottir, 4
Johann Eiriksson, 2
Sigfinnur Petursson, farmer, married, 35
Sigurbjorg Sigurdardottir, his wife, 35
Oli Sigfinnsson, 15
Halli Bjornsson, 9
Jorgen Bjornsson, 19
Sigridur Bjornsdottir, 12
Eln Sigurbjornsdottir, 12
Friman? Finnujr Gjudmndsson, 8
Gudrun Sigfusdottir, six months
Sigridur Vigfusdottir, married, 41
Rosa Palsdottir, married, 19 from Halli to Rosa, the group is marked as one family
Einar Bessason, farmer, married, 54
Lilja Vigfusdottir, his wife, 54
Asbjorn Asbjornsson, labourer, single, 25
Petur Petursson, Lbourer, married, 26
Sigurveig Jonsdottir, his wife, married, 24
Gudrun Jonsdottir, hosewife, married, 62
Gudrun Petursdottir, six months
Jon Thorsteinsson, farmer, married, 54
Kristin Jonsdottir, his wife, 54
Gudmundur Arnason, farmer, married, 50
Gudny Arnadottir, his wife? , 50
Jon Sigurdsson, farmer, married, 48
Solveig Jonsdottir, his wie, 49
Albert Julius Jonsson, single, 22
Thorunn Ag. Grimsdottir, single, 24
Gudny Albertsdottir, six months
Josef Jonsson, labourer, married, 47
Stefan Josefsson, single, 12
Arndis Jonsdottir, wife, 48
Jon Josefsson, 7
Gudrun Bjorg Josefsdottir, 5
Gudmundur Thordarsson, farmer, married, 38
Thorunn Jonsdottir, his wife, 54?
Sigridur Arnadottir, single, 22
Jonatan Arnason, single, 15
Benjamin Arnason, 12
Thordur Thordarsso, farmer, married, 48
Kristin Thorsteinsdottir, his wife, 27
Gudmundur Thordarsson, single, 25
Gudridur Thordarsdotttir, single, 14
Thordur Thordarsson, 10
Sigurbjorg Thordardottir, six months
Ana Bjornsdottir, domestic, single, 23
Sigurdur Sigurdsson, farmer, married, 36
Kristin H. Ofeigsdottir, his wife, 25
Kristrun Olafsdottir, domestic, single, 22
Jon Sigurdsson, labourer, married, 54
Metusalem Jonsson, labourer, sngle 26
Hoseas Arnason, 13
Stefan jonsson, labourer, single, 28
Bjorg Jonsdottir, domestic, single, 25
Vigfus Josefsson, farmer, married, 48
Sigurbjorg Hjalmaradottir, his wife, 52
Sigurrin Vigfusson, single, 21
Herman Vigfusson, single, 19
Sigridur Vigfusdottir, 13
Stefan Jonsson, labourer, married, 26
Solveig Jonsdottir, his wife, 21
Sigurbjorn Jonsson?, labourer, sngle, 18
Jon ? 14
Jon Sigurdsson, farmer, married, 33
Holmfridur Sigurdardottir, his wife, 21
Ingibjorg Josefsdottir, 11
Gudbjorg Josefsdottir, 9
E. Sigurdsson, farmer, married, 30?
Katrin Magnusdottir, his wife, 40?
Sigridur Jonsdottir, 13
Petur Jonsson, 5
Holmkell Josefsson, labourer, single, 20
Hoseas Josefsson, 13
Gudrun Einarsdottir, domestic, married, 37
Vilhjalmur Sigmundsson, 5?
Borghildur Sigmundsdottir, 3?
Halldor Oddsson? Vilhjalmsson, labourer, single, 20
Jon Arnason, labourer, married, 74
Jonas Jonsson, labourer, married, 26
Kristjan?, 4
Stefan Hemansson, labourer, married, 41
Stefan Stefansson, 2
-add one girl born at sea
Jonatan Petursson, farmer, married, 78
Thorunn oddsdottir, his wife, 67
Helga Jonsdottir, child? Age?
Halldora Sigurdardottir? Sigfusdottir,, 10
Jonatan Jonatansson, farmer, 34
Jon Olafsson, farmer, ?
No ticket number recorded for the following lnames:
Eirikur Eymundsson, single, 32
Sig? Jonsson, single, 26
Bjorn? Bjarni Gisalson, single, 26
Kristjan Jonasson? Jonsson, married, 19?
Margret Gudmundsdottir, married, 26?
Olof Margret Jonsdottir, 2?
Jon Bergman (Sigurdsson), single?, 29
Joef Sigvaldason, single, 19
Not on the list, two children
Gudrun Thorsteinsdottir, 12
A child, 1.5 years old

B
B

I haven’t type all the names.
There are according to this passenger list, 409 people from Iceland. No. 74 is Valgardur, labourer, married, his wife, Kristin, and Ketill, their son. These are my great great grandparents and Ketill, my great grandfather, whom I remember because when I visited him in his home on 4th ave. in Gimli, he used to give me a peppermint. Also, he had his coffin on two trestles in his basement.
The destinations for the Icelanders were 132 for Fort Garry via Collingwood and 50 via Sarnia, Ont. 105 were destined for Toronto and 9 for Halifax. 122 were destined for the Western States.
During the trip there was one child born and four people died. 2 children died during the voyage and were buried at sea. I child died in the shed. One old man on board died at the wharf. This was Jon Arnason, a labourer, married, but no wife listed, his age is uncertain but believed to be 74.
64% of the Icelandic passengers were single
43 Icelanders were between 40 and 50 years old.
22 Icelanders were 50 years or older.
My thanks to Donald Gislason of Toronto for giving me this manifest many years ago when I had supper at  his home. He said, “Oh, I nearly forgot. I’ve got your great grandfather in my filing cabinet”, jumped up and brought back this ship’s list of passengers. It was very kind of him, much appreciated then and still appreciated now.

On An Old Joke

When I was a kid, women weren’t allowed into beer parlours. These were male territory. Their purpose was not recreational. It was for drinking. There was no playing darts, no entertainment, no games of any kind. No standing up while drinking. You sat at a table and you drank.
Before my time, places like Portage Avenue in Winnipeg, according to both my grandfather and my grandmother, were not much more than a row of places to drink. A lot of men at the time were single men, often immigrants, working as laborers or tradesmen. There wasn’t anything to go home to except a rooming house. These places had one purpose, to separate as much payday money from the workingman as possible.
According to Harry Gutkin and Mildred Gutkin (The Manitoba Historical Society) “By the end of the nineteenth century, Winnipeg had mushroomed into a bulging outpost of some forty-two thousand people, with an unsavoury reputation as one of Canada’s wickedest cities. In the over-crowded North End, inadequate housing and poor sewage made disease endemic, and poverty fostered crime of every sort.”
Times had started to change by the time I was born and when I was growing up in the 40s and 50s. Also, wicked as Winnipeg might have been, Gimli, although connected to Winnipeg by road and train, was distant from the city and any evil ways that remained.
In Gimli, the local hotel was the den of iniquity, male territory, meant for drinking and fighting. When the fishermen came from north in time for the Icelandic celebration, we kids used to go downtown and sit across the street from the hotel.  There wasn’t much entertainment around so we got ours by watching the brawlers spill out the doors as the fishermen beat each other bloody. Our other entertainment was watching men stagger out the door so drunk they couldn’t walk a straight line. Sometimes, they collapsed in the centre of the street. They weren’t in any great danger because there was so little traffic. Still, someone would drag them off to the side of the road, roll them onto a sidewalk or prop them up against a wall or tree.
Fishermen lived hard lives but fishermen’s wives often lived harder lives. They usually got left behind with the kids when their husbands went north. Their husbands didn’t get paid until the fishing season was over. Some fishermen were on wages but some were on shares or contracts. They had to pay for their board and room and, by the time they were going home, there usually wasn’t a lot left on the credit side of the ledger. In the meantime, their wives had been making do with what money the fishing company had been willing to advance over the fishing season.
For those who got paid out on their return, the beer parlour was a dangerous lure. The fishermen had worked long hours, done hard work every day, seven days a week, risked their lives in terrible weather, lived in isolation. When they returned, they wanted to celebrate. The church didn’t provide coffee and rullapylsa and, even if it had, no one would have been interested. The fishermen wanted beer and bragging rights.
Faced with a desperate need to feed a family, the wives often sent word to the beer parlour for their husband to come home. Sometimes they sent a child, sometimes, they went themselves. The women and children were stopped at the front desk.  The clerk would go inside the parlour. He never came back with a husband. The answer the wife received was any one of the the following:.
$1 “Nope, not here.” Ha, ha.
$2 “Just  missed him.” Ha, ha, ha.
$3 “Just had a drink and left.” Ha, ha,  ha, ha, Isn’t that a scream?
$4 “Hasn’t been in all day.” He,  he,he,hah,hah, what a laugh.
$5 “Never heard of him.” That put her in her place. Hah, hah, ho, ho.
The only instance I’ve heard of in which a formidable woman shoved her way past the desk clerk, marched into the parlour, grabbed her husband by the scruff of his neck and propelled him out the door, ended in disaster. His humiliation was such that he shot himself. The startling thing is not that he shot himself but that people were outraged not by his spending all his money getting drunk but that his wife had the temerity to interfere.
Today, it seems unbelievable that women could have been treated the way they were but we have examples on the news every day of countries where women are still treated as chattels, where men are in control and won’t let women drive cars, where women can be murdered because some male relative feels his honour has been tarnished, where women can be stoned to death, or whipped to death, or hung because of an accusation of infidelity. Where a woman can be punished for having been raped.
We like to think of Iceland as a civilized country, we like to tell each other stories of how independent Icelandic women have been throughout history. It’s utter nonsense. The fact that half a dozen women over a thousand years managed to exert control over their lives has nothing to do with the reality of all the rest of the women. In Indriðason´s Silence of the Grave, he describes the brutal, endless physical abuse meted out to an Icelandic wife and the dismissive attitude of the police. The same was true in Manitoba. The police, faced with husbands, drunk or sober, beating up their wives, shrugged and said domestic problems weren’t their concern. A relative of mine sometimes beat up his wife so badly that she had to be rescued by relatives and spend weeks in bed recovering.
Domestic violence? It’s still all around us. Women can go into beer parlours and other drinking establishments now. They can’t be stopped at the front desk of the parlour and be the joke of both the clerk and the patrons. And there are alternatives. There used to be no jobs for women. Now there are. There is progress because some behaviours are no longer acceptable. The police have been forced to take domestic violence seriously. Not because they want to. The attitude of a lot of the police toward women is clear in the appalling attitude toward women in the RCMP. Toward the women murdered on the Picton farm. Attitudes have, however, changed enough that the abusive men in the RCMP look and sound ignorant, stupid, immoral. When something is seen as ignorant, stupid, immoral, the possibility of change exists.
In Harry Gutkin and Mildred Gutkin’s essay, they say, “The two women practitioners were frequently called to the jails, where the rowdiest of the ravaged prostitutes were confined, and where beaten and homeless women found a shelter of last resort, male and female prisoners housed together in the same wards.” Cora Hind wrote about conditions in the jails.
“The cells are totally devoid of light or ventilation, except such as may be had through the doors … No sleeping accommodation is provided, and no bedding is allowed, except that blankets are sometimes given to the women … The wards are infested with vermin, drugs, lice, and cockroaches … Some of the most abandoned are afflicted with syphilis and other loathsome diseases, and healthy prisoners are exposed to the danger of becoming similarly affected. The men and women are obliged to use the same towels, closets, etc., so that those who are healthy can scarcely escape the consequences.

There was a storm of protest against the indecency of discussing such things in public…. Both the writer and the sponsoring group were roundly denounced for this assault on the sheltered innocence of womanhood and, Cora Hind remembered, fathers forbade their wives and daughters to attend the troublesome WCTU.”
Beaten and homeless women. Needing shelter.  Men outraged that a woman should drag her husband out of an establishment so he wouldn’t drink away everything he’d worked for and so she and their children would have food and shelter. Women used as prostitutes, often by the same men who railed against articles being written about the whorehouses because it would assault the “sheltered innocence of womanhood.” Fathers forbidding their wives and daughters to attend meetings where women’s rights were discussed.
Pick a town, any town. The one I know is Gimli because I grew up there. I expect it was no better, nor worse than any other. It may even have been better than many for here the Icelandic suffragettes thrived.
It’s not so long ago that women were fighting for the right to be recognized as human. Fighting for the right to vote. Fighting for the right to have jobs. Fighting for the right to have legal protection.
Not so long ago? The Picton slaughter took place how long ago?
Two and a half years ago, four women were drowned to satisfy a man’s honour.Two and a half years ago. But, of course, we can console ourselves by saying the killers were foreign, they were immigrants, they didn’t have Canadian values. Canadian values? Like those displayed in the RCMP toward female recruits? Like the attitudes still displayed toward prostitutes? Like the attitudes displayed in many work places? Like every report of women being murdered in domestic disputes? Like murder on an Alberta highway.
Four women drowned. Sisters Zainab, Sahar and Geeti Shafia, aged 19, 17 and 13, and their stepmother, Rona Amir Mohammad. A father, mother, brother convicted of first degree murder. A society where a man´s honour is so important that his daughters´ lives are an inconsequential price to pay to redeem it. Foreign values from a foreign country. But what is the degree of separation in attitude toward women in the joke hiding-from-wife phone rates and women as objects to be disposed of to redeem some man´s twisted honour? We’ve come a ways. But how far do we still have to go?

Steamship poster

We’ve all heard of the ships of the emigration but how many of us have actually seen a travel schedule for those ships? 
These were real ships, real crews, with fares to be collected, schedules to be met. These are the ships that took you to your destination in Iceland or, if you were leaving Iceland, took you away to the distant shores of your dreams. Here is one of the posters your ancestors would have seen and studied closely.
Think how intently they would have read the information, the dates, the cost, the accommodation. 
If they were thinking of leaving Iceland, taking young children, how important would be the length of the voyage to Scotland? If they had carefully saved their rigs dollars, had them hoarded in a sock under their pillow, they would have memorized the cost of the fares and, at night, counted their coins once again to see if there were enough silver there to buy a passage and, if there weren’t, they’d have lain in the dark, thinking about how they might get the rest. 
These posters held people’s futures. Ameríka. Ameríka. The land of dreams and opportunity. In Independent People Laxness has the fare of the youngest of Bjartur’s sons paid for by a relative already in Amerika. That youngest son later sends money so that one of his brothers can follow him to Amerika but the brother squanders the money on a horse because he has become infatuated with a girl who is above his social station. There will be no Amerika for him. 
In Paradise Reclaimed, the main character, Steinar of Hliðar, does go to Amerika where he eats turkey and porridge but only at the ruination of his family. He eventually sends money so that they may join him in Utah.
Amerika was on everyone´s mind. Many left. Many more would have left if they could have raised the cost of the fare. 
The well-to-do farm owners were opposed to emigration and the loss of cheap labour and tried to keep information about Amerika from reaching their workers. In one instance, an agent who was to give a talk in Reykjavik about the opportunities in Amerika was unable to do so because a group was organized to make so much noise that he could not be heard. In spite of the actions of the farmers, word did spread, small-holders who had sheep and land to sell, often could raise the necessary money. However, many were unable to take their entire family so some children were left behind, sometimes wives were left behind, but with a promise that when there was money to pay for their passage, the family members would be brought to Amerika.
Some families sold everything, travelled to the ports to meet the ships that would take them to England or Scotland for the first leg of their journey only to have the ships come so late that the potential emigrants, having had to spend their money for room and board, could no longer could pay for a ticket. There are many stories of individuals borrowing money from friends and family and, when they arrived in Amerika, making their first priority paying off their debt.
In Paradise Reclaimed, when the unscrupulous purchasing agent who works for the Scots’ buyers of cattle wants to stop Steina from taking their son to Amerika, he goes to his friend the sheriff and says, “I demand that the Hliðar folk be restrained from leaving while the case is being investigated.” He’s objecting to Steina, the young girl he’s got pregnant, taking their son to Amerika. That’s in spite of the fact that he’s denied being the father and driven the family to ruin with the result that they all have become paupers. 
The sheriff replies, “Have you considered what sort of a favour you are doing the taxpayers by interdicting parish paupers from emigraitng?” “I know of parish councils that thank God for the chance of being allowed to pay t hem their fares to America.” 
So it was not just those who could pay for their fare who went to Amerika but, sometimes, it was the indigent, the paupers, the poorest of the poor, those who were paid for with a special tax that was then given to the farmer who would keep them for the least amount of money. However, they, too, would have been intensely interested in what the posters had to tell them about the coming trip to a distant wilderness.
The emigrants seldom had large dreams. The poverty in which they lived was such that they often just hoped that life would be improved. In Amerika,  a woman could get a job at five dollars a month with board and room. Five dollars, for some farm workers, was the equivalent of two year’s wages. Ameríka, where the letters said, there was lots of food and it was good. Where a man didn’t have to be worth four hundreds (the equivalent of the value of four cows) before he could legally marry. Ameríka. Where your employer didn’t have the right to beat you with a rod or a tree root. And the first giant step to having your own land was a voyage to Scotland.
Allthough many North Americans of Icelandic descent can say in what year their lang afi or amma came to Amerika, it’s important for us to understand what this voyage was like. This original poster will provide a lot of information about conditions on the voyage. 
Think of them standing before this poster and how it must have affected them.
(image from The Home of the Eddas, Charles G.
Warnford Lock, 1872. A somewhat shorter version of this article originally appeared in Logberg-Heimskringla. Consider subscribing.)

Thanksgiving blessings

No destination is as important to North Americans of Icelandic descent as that of the farm on which their ancestors lived. In article after article, people write about the rush of emotion that occurred when they stood on that hallowed ground. They can, with no difficulty, see their grandparents or great-grandparents making hay, bringing in the sheep or cows. The sound of the waves on the shore is the same sound their ancestors heard. Many people refer to this land as “My grandparents’ farm.” But in fact the people who left for North America seldom owned land.

All Icelanders were not equal – socially or politically or financially. Nearly everyone had to be attached to a farm, and workers were allowed only one time during the year when they could move to another farm. There were six classes of people on these farms.

1. There were the Bændr, the land owners, at the top of the heap. The big shots. They were the farmers for whom everyone else worked. They had political muscle, and fought hard against the emigration of their workers who were providing cheap labour. Newspapers were filled with stories about the disputes between those who would emigrate and those who saw their power eroded.

2. There were the Húsmenn. These were people who had property on the Bændr ´s land but were not allowed to make hay or to use the pastures.

3. The Kaupamenn were labourers who were hired to work for the farmer.

4. There were Hjáleigumenn – the equivalent of crofters renting a small farm (hjáleiga) from the Bændr.

5. Then there were the Vinnumenn, the servants.

6. And, finally, there were the paupers. There were many paupers. The heaviest tax on the Bænder was the tax (fátækra útsvar) to support the paupers .

If your ancestors were not No. 1, and didn´t actually own a farm, they had good reason to leave Iceland. If they did own a farm and emigrated, there must be a story there? They had a legal and political system that made everything in their favour.

There was little actual cash. The peasants – yes, they were peasants – paid their rent and the money they owed in June and July with wool. In September and October, they paid with smoked and cured mutton, grease and tallow, and sheep skins and lamb skins with the wool still attached. Fat of any kind was always in short supply, and butter and cheese were usually kept for personal use or for bartering. Sometimes butter was used to pay taxes.

If your people worked on a farm, they were, essentially, indentured servants. Some farmers treated their people well. Others treated them badly. The landscape was beautiful, but nothing is beautiful when you are hungry. Emigration did not happen easily. People were driven to leave Iceland out of desperation. The trip was long. The way was hard. Many died.

But, in spite of all this, the beauty of Iceland stayed with many of the emigrants. You can read it in their poems, in their prose. You see it at Icelandic Celebration and August the Deuce, at Thorrablot and in the Icelandic clubs, in the Snorri program, and at the Icelandic summer camp. You see it in the frequent visits of Icelandic North Americans to Iceland.

You see it in those emotional visits to the places our ancestors left. The descendants of paupers, servants, crofters, labourers, tenants, still hold a place in their hearts for Iceland. When you visit this special destination, the farm of your great-grandmother or great-grandfather, or great-great-grandparent, take the time to reflect on what their life was like in the 1870s, and how desperate and brave they must have been when they walked away from both house and homefield for the last time to create a new life for children not yet born.

When you are setting the table for Thanksgiving dinner take out pictures of your ancestors who left Iceland for Canada, set them on the buffet or even on the dining table. Before you begin to eat, tell your family and guests something about them and, when you say grace, include these people from your past in your thanks. It is because of them that you sit down to a feast today. After the meal, when you’ve eaten your turkey, potatoes, gravy, your pumpkin pie, and are enjoying your coffee reflect upon the empty dishes, your full stomach, the photos and silently give thanks to Jon and Jonina, Gunnur and Gusta, or whatever their names were. Bless, bless.

(This article appeared in a slightly different form in Logberg-Heimskringla. This year is LH’s 125th birthday. Consider giving someone a gift of a subscription to celebrate.)

Logberg-Heimskringla’s birthday party

Publishing in Iceland has a long and honorable tradition. Jón Arason, the last Catholic bishop, and a well-known poet, brought the first printing press to Iceland around 1530.

In 1584 Guðbrandur Þorláksson printed the first translation of the Bible into Icelandic. This printing had far reaching consequences because it helped to preserve the Icelandic language.

Most early publications in Iceland were religious. However, gradually, secular material was published. By 1773 the Icelandic journal ‚Islandske Maaneds Tidender‘ was in print. It was mostly intended for a Danish readership. It stopped publishing in 1776. Other publications that followed it were written for the upper, ruling class in Iceland. Around 1848 new newspapers appeared. During this time and up to about 1910, the papers were essentially editorial sheets expressing opinions about Iceland‘s struggle for independence. The editors were also the owners of these often short-lived papers and they used them to express their personal point of view.

According to Richard Burton in his book of 1875, Ultima Thule, “The first newspaper printed in Iceland began in 1775.” By the time Burton went to Iceland, the paper had failed but he says that back issues were available in the College Library.

At this time, three periodicals were being published. Two of these were published in Reykjavik. Thjóðólfr was printed twice a month. The editor was Hr Procurator Jón Guðmundsson. The Tíminn appeared once a month. The third periodical was Norðanfari, published in Akureyri. It was usually published every two weeks.

Burton was in Iceland in 1872 but his book, Ultima Thule, came out in 1875. His interest in Iceland was intense. He made many contacts and friends in Iceland and managed to keep up on Icelandic news so even though his book was published three years after his visit, his information was current.

It is at this time that our ancestors are beginning to leave Iceland. It was this view of newspapers and their role that the emigrants take with them. They were used to the idea of a newspaper being a single sheet printed on both sides. Or two sheets. They were used to the idea that the paper‘s purpose was to express the views of the editor and the editor would be the owner of the paper. The paper would take a political position. It wouldn’t attempt to be objective. It would be less a news paper than a paper expressing the editor‘s opinions.

In 1876 in New Iceland, Jon Gudmundsson started a handwritten paper, Nýi þjóðólfur. This was the same name as the paper mentioned by Richard Burton. By choosing the name of an Icelandic newspaper, Jon was making it clear that he would attempt to create a paper like the one in Iceland. He wouldn’t try to create a new paper for a new world. The Icelandic influence was very clear. Jon took his newspaper from house to house and read the news aloud.

When the large group of Icelandic settlers arrived, the writing out of a paper and taking it around to read at individual homes became impractical. Some form of publication was needed to to provide the settlers with news, with information, and with a place to present their opinions and their ideas. In spite of the smallpox epidemic and all the other hardships, The New-Iceland Printing Company was established. Shares were issued at ten dollars each. The surprising fact is that in spite of the poverty of the settlers, there were subscribers. Enough to pay for a printing press.

Rev. Jon Bjarnason was in Minneapolis. At the request of the settlers, he purchased a printing press and shipped it to New Iceland. The paper was named Framfari (Progress). It was printed at Lundi (Riverton). The first issue appeared in 1877.

Heimskringla appeared in 1886. Lögberg was created in opposition to it in 1888. Both papers were highly political. Heimskringla supported the Conservative party and the Unitarian church. Lögberg supported the Liberal party and the Lutheran church. As had been the tradition in Iceland, the papers were filled with polemics. The papers not only reported on controversies in the community, they stirred up controversy. There were often bitter battles. However, in 1959, faced with declining subscriptions and financial problems, the papers amalgamated. It was an uneasy marriage at first and the way to keep it from being a divorce was to avoid taking positions on politics and religion. That still holds true, for though the fierce battles of old have faded with the secularization of society, there are still enough people who have strong opinions about religious matters to start a war. Old political divides, now not just between Liberals and Conservatives but, also, with the NDP, have meant avoiding taking political positions.

We‘re celebrating Lögberg-Heimskringla’s 125th birthday shortly. It totters, teeters, on the edge of going out of business. It’s teetered and tottered for years. There are discussions about it turning into a monthly magazine, into a newsletter for the INL. It depends for its survival on donations and, although the Icelandic North American community has spread out, been largely integrated, the cheques keep coming. The community is both generous and loyal. However, fifth generation kids are a Canadian hodgepodge of every national group you can imagine. A youngster might have an Icelandic name like Valgardson but be English, Irish, Russian, Scots, and one sixteenth Icelandic. The Snorri program and Nuna both try to help remedy this but they can only take in a small number of young people. What is needed are subscribers. That will keep the paper going. The paper, in turn, will help keep the community going. The current editor is Joan Eyolfson Cadham. She’s producing a paper worth buying and worth reading.

Because Icelanders integrated so quickly, the paper, a long time ago, lost its immigrant purpose. It doesn’t need to help people find jobs, learn English, get training or education. It now is about preserving our heritage, providing communication among the far-flung Icelandic organizations and communities, and providing a voice for the writers of our community.

One hundred and twenty-five years is a long time. Long enough to make LH the longest, continuously published ethnic paper in Canada. It’s a tradition worth having pride in, worth supporting. Take out your credit card and subscribe. Jón Arason started this tradition a long time ago. He lost his head. Let him at least keep the tradition.

(There is going to be a birthday party at the LH offices on Oct. 13).

The Trading Ships

It‘s 1872 and after a long, hard winter, isolated from neighbouring farms by wind, snow and sleet that come in howling storms, trapped inside with no heat but body heat from the other household members plus some heat from the cattle in their pens, it‘s time to ride to the coast to a Markaðr, the annual trip to trade goods with the Danish ships that have anchored off-shore, a trip that each way may take ten days.

The winter has been spent with everyone knitting and weaving on a fixed and standing loom. The good weavers wove three yards a day of wadmal, as the cloth is called. It comes in a variety of colors: grey, black, light blue, the russet brown of undyed wool, and sometimes white.

On the trip to the trading station, every rider had two horses so that the rider could change as the horses got tired. With them was also a string of pack horses loaded with supplies. In the packs would be woolen mittens, stockings, fine socks, ordinary wadmal jackets, fine wadmal jackets, wool, eiderdown, other bird feathers, tallow, butter, salted mutton and beef. There might even have been one or two fox skins and maybe some bird skins. Swan skins have become rare by this time, and command a high price.

Women rode side saddle to the harbour where the trading fair was held. Side-saddles were little more than chairs set sideways on a horse. The side-saddles gave the rider little control over the horse and women were at greater risk than men when fording rivers. The side-saddles used for this yearly event had unusually elaborate foot-boards, with backs of worked brass to display the farmer’s wealth and status.

As you get closer to the harbour, you can see other groups of horses and riders that are descending from the hills and, before you, groups of farmers and peasants have already gathered in clusters in front of the shore. The men greet each other with the traditional kiss, then study the ships.

You pitch your tents and begin by finding out what is being charged and paid by the Danish merchants. No cash changes hands. Everything is done by trading goods. The Danes control both the selling and buying prices.

The Sýslumaðr, in his gold-laced cap and uniform buttons struts about to keep order, because the drinking is heavy. The Sýslumaðr was similar to a sheriff. He was granted an area called Sýsla in which he was responsible for collecting tolls, taxes and fines, and upholding the law. The Danish merchants are free-handed with liquor before the bargaining begins so there is a party atmosphere to the gathering.

The men row out to the two Danish ships and scramble up the ladders. The women wear white head-kerchiefs over their usual black caps, and instead of shawls they cover their shoulders with short scarves that reach only to the waist. In spite of their bulky petticoats, they manage to climb the ladders and over the gunwales of the ships.

The ships have been constructed like a store. There´s a desk and a counter. Sometimes, the stores supply most of the Icelanders necessities—dry goods, clothes and caps, saddlery, wool carders, querns of basalt for grinding grain, horse shoes, and spinnning wheels; sugar, grain, tobacco, and especially rye spirits. Everything is needed: timber, salt, grain, coffee, spices. The timber consists of pine and fir, the forms are beams for roofing and framing, twenty-two to twenty-four feet long, one-inch boards for siding for houses, three-inch planks and finer woods for the cabinet maker. Salt is essential for salting both fish and meat and the only local salt that is available sometimes is called dirty salt because it comes from burning seaweed. There may be birch wood, sawn and split for fuel, but it is not for ordinary people. Only the Danish merchants can afford it. There are cereals – rye and wheat – that can be bought as grain, flour or already made into biscuits. The farmers prefer the grain because the flour is often mouldy or in poor condition. Buying grain means the laborious task of grinding it with a handmill but that is work for the servants. They can do that when they are not pounding hardfish with a stone hammer to ready it for eating. You will be buying a lower-quality rice in quantity, because, like most Icelanders, you like to make rice milk. In the years between 1864 and 1870, the amount of imported rice quintupled. The available spices are usually cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Twist tobacco is bought for chewing as well as smoking. The favorite form of tobacco is snuff.

The merchants have a large cargo of port, sherry, claret and champagne, rum and cognac, and even cherry brandy to trade with the better off farmers. Most such liquor is expensive and of poor quality. Sometimes, the traders bring so much liquor that they don’t have room for the supplies the Icelanders want and need. The brennivin, kornschnapps and rye spirits are cheap. The profits for the traders are high.

According to F. R. Burton, who attended one of these markets, there was considerable hard drinking and loud hymn singing at night.

When the trading and visiting are done, it is time to return to the farm. The horses’ pack saddles are set on pieces of turf to protect the horses from saddle sores. Each saddle has wooden pegs jutting from its sides, and wooden chests full of the traded goods are hung from the pegs. The trip will be slow because the packs often shift and have to be righted.

Although it is summer, traversing the quaking bogs, ravines and rivers may be made more difficult by rain, sleet and snow. The hæði and the river fords have holes filled with quicksand that horses sink into and have to be pulled out. Some rivers have ice rushing down from the glaciers.There is the occasional ferry. In most cases, it is a small rowboat that can only take people and their supplies. The horses have to be driven into the water to swim for the other bank. Some turn back and have to be caught and forced back into the river. Most of the time, though, there is no ferry and you have to follow a local guide across the least dangerous path.

But you‘ve been to visit the fair, boarded the trade ships, purchased at least some of the goods you need for the coming year, seen people you haven´t seen for twelve months, caught up on news. In the weeks ahead, there is shortening daylight, growing darkness, winter wind and rain and cold, but you‘ve been to the fair, been inside the ships and bought at least some of the things you’ll need to survive for another year.

(With notes and quotes from F.R. Burton, 1872)

West Coast Icelanders

I was on Salt Spring Island the other day planing arbutus. My friend Richard was putting the planks through the planer and I was catching them and holding them even so they wouldn’t snipe.

If you haven’t lived on the West Coast, you probably don’t know what an arbutus is. . It doesn’t shed its leaves seasonally. Instead, it sheds its bark. The old bark is often deep red or purple and comes away in long strips. The new bark is a pale, yellow green, smooth, sensuous.

All around us are majestic firs with salal filling any open spaces. To my right the ground drops away in a tangle of deadfall, sea spray and cedar. Between the trees I can see Galiano Island, then in the far distance, the mountains of North Vancouver. Below us on the sharp falling ridges, the tangle of salal is so thick I can’t push my way through it. Before cutting down a tree, I have to hack an escape path in case the tree twists as it falls. Hacking through the salal isn’t without its risks. The ground is riddled with wasp nests. Twice now I’ve stepped on a nest. The wasps swarm out, yellow and black and angry. In places where trees have been removed, there are tangles of blackberry canes rising up to six feet or more. Large mounds of canes covered in sharp, curved thorns and delicious fruit. For those who haven’t seen them, picture black raspberries, but much larger than most raspberries. In blackberry season, it’s easy to tell who has been picking, because their arms are covered in long scratches and their hands are stained purple.

This is the world of the Icelanders who kept traveling West, from Kinmount, to Toronto, to Winnipeg, to the Pacific Coast. Some Icelanders came first to Winnipeg, then hearing of the West Coast continued on. There were those who chose the Coast as their first destination, however. Some came in the 1880s – enough that Victoria had a vibrant and viable Icelandic community with Sunday musicals and poetry readings. A recession drove many of those people to Point Roberts and to Boundary Bay in the USA.

This was a world as different from Manitoba as Manitoba was from Iceland.

Ben Sivertz was part of this world. Although his name doesn’t sound Icelandic, his father and mother both came from Iceland. After graduating from high school he was a seaman and ship’s officer in the Merchant Marine. He served in the Royal Canadian Navy and ran a school for navigation. He retired with the rank of Lieutenant Commander. I wouldn’t have known that he was awarded the Order of the British Empire if I hadn’t asked about a picture on the living room wall.

His obituary said that “he joined the Department of External Affairs in 1946 and moved to the Department of Northern Affairs in 1950. He served as Director of Northern Administration from 1957 until 1963 when he was appointed Commissioner. He was Commissioner of the NWT from 1963 to 1967. He came to the post after a career as a foreign service officer in the Department of External Affairs and Chief of the Arctic division in the Department of Northern Affairs.”

The arena in Hay River is named after Ben.

He was also the only person I’ve known who owned an original Van Gogh.

Ben took Mattie Gislasson and me on a walkabout in Fernwood. He pointed out each house in which Icelanders lived and named the families. He even showed us where there used to be an Icelandic store.

On our tour, I saw Ben’s pride in the Icelandic community, in his Icelandic roots, in the Icelanders who came to the edge of Canada to settle. He was ninety-three when we did that walkabout and when he used to walk two kilometers uphill on a Saturday morning from his retirement home to my place. We’d have a visit then at noon I’d drive him back to his retirement home so we could have lunch together.

True to his roots, before he died, he wrote three books, one about his mother, one about his father, and an autobiography.

Sitting in the truck on the way back to Swartz Bay, listening to the throb of the engine, the dark shapes of the islands slipping by, I thought of how different was the experience of the West Coast Icelanders from those who stayed in Gimli or Winnipeg, how they had adapted to this world of forests and mountains while keeping their identity as strong as did those who had stayed in Nýa Ísland.

(This essay first appeared in Lögberg-Heimskringla)