THE HISTORY OF MY ICELANDIC AND ROYAL ANCESTORS (ON MY MOTHERS SIDE OF THE FAMILY )
The picture above is my Great Grandfather Palmi Jonsson and Grandparents Gudmundur Palmason and Ketilridur
Porkelsdottir and their children, taken at home in Rekavik bak Latur Hornstrandir north west Iceland in about 1912 ?.
To make this Genealogy easy to follow, I have colour coded my Grandparents ancestral lines. Grandfathers ancestral
line will be inBlue, Grandmothers will be in Red, Danish in Green, when they are linked together it will be in Black.
The numbers by the names in this Genealogy indicate the number of generations down the line, and it starts with
number(37) which is Harald the first, King of Norway, born in 850, right through to my bother’s daughter, which is
number (1) Rachel Malone Pearce, born in 1991.
Grandfathers ancestry begins with the birth of King Haraldur “harfagri” Halfdanarson, (Fair hair) in the year 850.
(37) Haraldur “harfagri” Halfdanarson,(Fair hair) b. in 850, d. in 933, he was the founder and first King of Norway. He succeeded, on the death of his father Halfdan the Black Gudrodsson in A,D. 860, to the sovereignty of several small, and somewhat scattered kingdoms in Vestfold, which lay chiefly in southeast Norway. In 866, Harald made the first of a series of conquests over the many petty kingdoms which then composed Norway, including Varmland in Sweden, which had sworn allegiance to the Svea king Erik Eymundsson. In 872, after a great victory at Hafrsfjord near Stavanger, Harald found himself king over the whole country. His realm was, however, threatened by dangers from without, as large numbers of his opponents had taken refuge, not only in Iceland, then recently discovered; but also in the Orkney islands, Shetland islands, Hebrides islands and Faroe islands, and in Scotland itself, and from these winter quarters sallied forth to harry Norway, as well as the rest of northern Europe. However, his opponents leaving on their own wasn’t entirely voluntary. Many Norwegian chieftains that were wealthy and respected posed a threat to harald; therefore, they were subjected to much harassment from Harald, prompting them to vacate the land. This course of action led to the major settling of Iceland and beyond. In away, King Harald contributed to modern Icelandic society, and the writing of the Icelandic Sagas. Their numbers were increased by “malcontents” from Norway, who resented Harald’s claim of rights of taxation over lands, which the possessors appear to have previously held in absolute ownership. At last, Harald was forced to make an expedition to the west, to clear the islands and Scottish mainland of Vikings. A great number of them fled to Iceland, which grew into an independent commonwealth, while the Scottish isles fell under Norwegian rule. Harald died at a good old age of 83 years, in 933, having had eight wives and 23 children. I am a direct ancestor through two of his sons, Pordur vikingsson Haraldsson, and Sigurdur “hrisi” Haraldsson, and it is through Sigurdur that I will continue this ancestral line.
(36) Sigurdur “hrisi” Haraldsson,b. in 890, d. in 934, King of Hringarikis Oslo area in southern Norway. He became king of Hringarikis, when his father king Harald divided the lands in Norway amongst his sons.
(35) Halfdan Sigurdsson,b. in 930, King of Hringarikis Norway.
(34)Sigurdur “syr” Halfdanarson, b. in 980, d. in 1018, King of Hringarkis Norway, Married Asta Gudbrandsdottir, b. in 980, Queen of Hringarkis Norway.
Ingolfur Arnarson, the first settler in Iceland A reconstruction of a Viking farmstead in southern Iceland
It was during the reign of king Harald “harfagri“, that Ingolfur, left Norway for Iceland, after a quarrel with a Powerful Earl, in
the year 874 A.D. Ingolfur named his new home and farm Reykjavik, which means Smoky Bay, after the white steam or smoke
he saw rising from the hot springs. This is now the site of the capital city of Iceland, Reykjavik.
A warrior at the battle of Fulford Haraldur Hardraada “Viking King of Norway”
(33)Haraldur “Hardraada” Sigurdsson, (“Hard or Severe”) b. in 1015, d. 25. Sept. 1066, at the battle of Stamford bridge England. King of Norway from 1046. Married Pora Porbergsdottir, b. in 1010. Queen of Norway. He returned to Norway after his service to the Byzantine Empire in 1045, and a year later he became king. In September 1066, Hardraada with Tostig Godwinson invaded Northumbria, to conquer England and claim the English throne and for Tostig to get his Earldom back. They defeated the Earls Morcar Edwin and Waltheof, at the battle of Fulford on the 20. Sept. 1066. Five days later on the 25th they were defeated and killed in battle, at Stamford bridge near York by King Harold and his army. Three weeks later on the 14. Oct. 1066, Harold was himself killed, and his army were defeated by William Duke of Normandy and his army in one of the most famous battles in history, at the battle of Hastings in Sussex. The events of 1066 marked a turning point in English history, and this was to have a profound and lasting impact on the development of English society, culture, religion and government.
(32)Olafur “kyrri” Haraldsson, (the Tranquil or Easygoing) b. in 1050, d. 22. Sept. 1093, King of Norway from 1066. Married Pora Rognvaldsdottir, b. in 1040. Queen of Norway. He sailed with his fleet from England with Tostig son Skule, who became the kings foster son and married the daughter of Hardraadas sister Ingrid, a link with my Grandmothers ancestral line, and he was given some of the best properties and land in Norway. A feature of King Olafs peaceful reign, was the increasing importance of the towns including Bergen, in which Olaf founded in about 1070.
(31)Magnus “ berfaettur “ Olafsson, (Barefoot, or Bare leg,) b. in 1073, d. 24. Aug. 1103, was King of Norway from 1093.
His nickname, barefoot or bareleg is commonly understood to come from his habit of wearing Gaelic-style clothing, leaving lower legs bare, this Scottish style is a precursor of later kilts. 1098, he conquered the Orkney Islands, the Hebrides and the Isle of Man. In 1102 form Dublin he marched westward in his effort to conquer Ireland, and was victorious for a time, but he died fighting a battle in a boggy field in an area known as white rocks, in Ulster Northern Ireland.
(30) Haraldur“ gilli “ Magnusson, b. in 1103, d. 13. Dec. 1136, King of Norway. His misstress Pora Guttormsdottir, b. in 1105. He was born in Ireland, an illegitimate son of Magnus. After the death of King Sigurdur, his half bother Magnus became king. War broke out between Harald and Magnus, and after several battles Harald captured Magnus and took the throne. He then had Magnus blinded and thrown into prison. This was the beginning of the Norwegian civil wars, which lasted from 1130 to 1217. From Haraldur “gilli” to Hakon Sverrisson the ancestral line is questionable, because of his paternity. (29) Sigurdur “ munnur “ Haraldsson, b. in 1133, d. 10. June. 1155, King of Norway from 1137. His mistress Gunnhildur, b. in 1135. He was made king upon the murder of his father. The young king’s supporters, fought several battles against the pretenders Sigurd Slembedjakn and Magnus the Blind. These two were finally defeated and killed in a battle at Hvaler in 1139.
(28)Sverrir Sigurdsson, b. in 1152, d. 9. Mar. 1202, King of Norway. His concubine Astridur Hroadottir, b. in 1155. His claim to be the son of king Sigurdur is questionable, some historians claim that he is the son of a Faeroe Islands comb maker. Sverrir was a talented improviser, both in political and military life. He was leader of the Birkebeiner party, and a very skilful military commander, during the on going Norwegian civil wars. There were two opposing sides who eventually became known as Baglers and Birkebeiners. Their rallying point was typically a male of the royal line, who served as party figurehead, opposing the rule of his rival from the contesting party. His opponent King Magnus Erlingsson fell at the battle of Fimreite in 1184, Sverrir then ruled as sole king of Norway. Differences with the Church, however, led to his excommunication in 1194.
(27)Hakon Sverrisson, b. in 1178, d. 1. Jan. 1204, King of Norway from 1202. His mistress Inga Af Varteigi, b. in 1180. The second illegitimate son of King Sverrir. He invited the exiled bishops to return to Norway, and made overtures towards the Bagler party, so as to ease the struggle between Church and King. At his death the questionable ancestral line ends.
(26)Hakon “gamli” Hakonarson, b. in 1204, d. 15. Dec. 1263, King of Norway Greenland from 1261 and Iceland 1262. Married (26) Margret Skuladottir, b. in 1210. Queen of Norway, the daughter of Earl Skuli Bardarson, (Linking to my Grandmothers ancestral line which is in red). After the rebellion by his father-in-law Skuli ended when he was put to death in 1240, from then on Hakon’s reign was marked by internal peace and more prosperity than Norway had Known for years.
Grandmothers ancestral line begins with Godwin Ulfnadsson, Earl of Wessex.
(33)Godwin Ulfnadsson, b. in 1000, d. 15. April 1053. Earl of Wessex. Married a cousin of King Canute, Gytha Porgilsdottir, b. in 1000. (Also the parents of King Harold ) He rose from the lowest reaches of the Anglo-Saxon aristocracy, and was appointed Earl of Wessex by King Canute in 1018, which made him the most powerful man in England after the King. In 1051 King Edward gave Godwin an order to sack the city of Dover after some Norman Knights were attacked and killed there, Godwin refused and was banished along with his family in to exile. A year later after receiving support, he sailed up the River Thames ware he was met by a fleet of Royal ships who refused to attack, and so therefore his Earldom was reluctantly restored by King Edward.
The Memorial Stone of the battle of Fulford A reconstruction of a Viking invading force, sailing up the river Ouse.
(32)Tostig Godwinson, b. in 1025, d. 25. Sept. 1066.At the battle of Stamford bridge. Married Judith Baldwinsdottir, b. in 1025. The daughter of Baldwin IV the Count of Flanders. Tostig was Earl of Northumbria from 1055 to 1065 (Bother of King Harold). After the Northumbria revolt in 1065, Tostig was forced to flee in exile. He returned a year later with Haraldur Hardraada King of Norway to invade Northumbria to get his Earldom back, and to help Hardraada in his claim to the English throne. They made their way along the banks of the river Ouse just south of York, and at Fulford gate they met and defeated the
Earls Morcar Edwin and Waltheof at the battle of Fulford gate on the 20th Sept. 1066. Five days later they were defeated and killed by King Harold’s army at the battle of Stamford bridge. Three weeks later, King Harold was killed and his army defeated by William Duke of Normandy and his army on the 14. Oct. 1066, at the battle of Hastings.
(31) Skuli Tostason,b. in 1052, Married Gudrun Nefsteinsdottir, b. in 1055. The daughter of Hardraadas sister Ingerid, a link with my Grandfathers ancestral line. He sailed with Hardraadas son new King Olafur “kyrri” Haraldsson (The Tranquil or Easygoing) to Norway, after the battle of Stamford Bridge near York in 1066. He was adopted as the kings foster son and was given some of the best properties and land in Norway. A feature of King Olafs peaceful reign was the increasing importance of the towns including Bergen, in which Olaf founded in about 1070.
(30)Asulfur Skulason, b. in 1085, Asulf of Reine Norway. Married Pora Skaftadottir, b. in 1090.
(29)Guttormur Asulfsson, b. in 1115, Guttorm of Reine Norway. Married Sigridur Porkelsdottir, b. in 1115. During his life a civil war broke out between King Magnus and his half bother Haraldur “gilli” Magnusson, and after several battles Haraldur captured King Magnus and took the throne, he then had Magnus blinded and thrown into prison. Which was the beginning of the Norwegian civil wars which lasted from 1130 to 1217.
(28) Bardur Guttormsson,b. in 1150, d. 3. April. 1194, Bardur of Reine Norway. Married Ragnhildur Erlingsdottir, b. in 1155. He was a prominent lendmann from the Trondelag region, and a supporter of King Sverre, who brought the birkebeiner party to power in the late 12th century after years of war against King Magnus Erlingsson. His son Inge half bother of Skuli was King of Norway from 1205 to 1217, after his death he was succeeded by Hakon IV.
(27) Skuli Bardarson,b. in 1189, d. 21. May. 1240, Norway. Married Ragnhildur, b. in 1190. Earl Skuli was a tutor to his teenage royal son-in-law King Hakon 4th of Norway and was involved with his friend Snorri Sturlason Icelandic historian and politician, in trying to solve the disputes between Icelandic and Norwegian merchants. In 1239 he raised a military host and revolted against king Hakon to take power, he won a battle at Laka in Nannestad, but lost in Oslo. In May 1240 he was defeated by King Hakon and his army and killed in one of the battles which ensued. King Hakon, furious at this act of treason thinking Snorri must also have been implicated in the conspiracy, promptly sent orders to send Snorri back to Norway or put him to death. Snorri was then attacked and killed by one of the kings men at his residence, Reykholt, on the 22. Sept. 1241.
Snorri Sturluson memorial and bathing pool at his home in Reykholt western Iceland. He is also an ancestor of mine.
(26) Margret Skuladottir,b. in 1210, Norway, Queen of Norway. Married (26) Hakon “gamli” Hakonason, King of Norway Greenland from 1261 and Iceland 1262. (Linking to my Grandfathers line)
Danish royal line will be ingreen
(27)Valdimar II “siguraeli” (Victorious) b. 28. June 1170, d. 28. Mar. 1241, King of Denmark. Married Berengaria, b. in
1170, Queen of Denmark. Daughter of King Sancho 1 Of Portugal. Following his conquests in north Germany, his greatest
achievement was the subjugation of northern Estonians after the decisive Battle of Lyndanisse which took place near Reval
(Tallinn) on June 25, 1219. According to legend a red cloth with a white cross fell from the sky during the battle, and from this day on that symbol, called the Dannebrog, has been the Danish flag. In 1223 Valdimur was captured by his vassal, the Count of Schwerin and held prisoner for three years. He was released only after he had been forced to relinquish much of his conquests in Germany. In 1227 Valdimer invaded Northern Germany to regain lost territories but was defeated at the battle of Bornhoved.
(26)Eirikur Valdimarsson (plough money) b. in 1216, d. 10. Aug. 1250, King of Denmark from 1241. Married Judith Albertsdottir, b. in 1220, Queen of Denmark. His short rule was marked by bitter conflicts and civil wars against his brothers. Especially he fought his brother Abel, Duke of Schleswig who seems to have wanted an independent position and who was supported by the counts of Holstein. Erikir also fought the Scanian peasants, who rebelled because of his hard taxes, among other things, on ploughs. This gave him his epithet “plough money”, Danish (Plovpenning). After a victory over bother Abel in 1250 he negotiated a truce with him but later that year as he passed through Schleswig he was taken prisoner by his brother and was assassinated.
Now that my Grandparents lines are linked together it will be in black
(25)Magnus “lagabietir” Hakonarson, (Make the law better) b. in 1238, d. 9. May. 1280, King of Norway Greenland and Iceland. Married (25) Ingeborg Eiriksdottir, b. in 1244, d. 1287, Queen of Norway, the daughter of Erik 4th Valdimarsson King of Denmark. (linking to the Danish line) Magnus drew up separate new law codes for Norway and a law book, ( Jons book ) for the Icelanders. The first law book for Iceland was issued in 1271, but only partly accepted by the Icelandic parliament. Because of parliamentary and popular reluctance to accept it, the first law book was revised and issued again in 1280, only then when the greater part of it was endorsed and this law book would remain in effect in Iceland for centuries.
(24)Hakon “haleggur” Magnusson, (long legs) b. in 1270, d. in 1319. King of Norway Greenland & Iceland. In 1307 he moved his court from Bergen to Oslo, in to his new castle Akershus, which he had built to protect Oslo. The castle was first used in battle in 1308, when it successfully fought off a siege by Swedish duke Erik of Sodermansland. King Hakon also arranged a marriage between his youngest daughter Ingeborg and the brother of the Swedish king, when she was one year old. Because King Hakon Magnusson, had no male heirs, Ingeborg’s son Magnus, inherited the thrones of Sweden and Norway in 1319, at the age of three. (P.M. Winston Churchill, Princess Diana, Prince William, Prince Harry,) are some of King Hakon ancestors through his youngest daughter Ingeborg. He is mine, through his illegitimate and oldest daughter Agnes.
Akershus castle Oslo Norway
(23)Agnes Hakonardottir, b. in 1290, Norway. Norwegian Princess. Married Hafpor Jonsson, b. in 1280, d. in 1320, son of Baron Jon Ivarsson the red of Sudurheimum. Norwegian Statesman. King Hakon transferred the kings Manor Borregaard to his son-in-law Hafpor Jonsson in 1312, so therefore Borregaard estate lost its royal status which it had for 300 years. The royal line comes to a end.
(22)Jon Hafporsson, b. in 1310, d. in 1397, Norway. Norwegian Statesman. Married Birgitta Knutsdottir, b. in 1315. Jon inherited Borregaard Manor from his father. He led a revolt against King Magnus Eriksson in 1333, and was a member of the King’s council 1380.
(21) Hakon Jonsson, b. in 1330, d. in 1392, Norway. Norwegian Statesman. After failing to claim the throne after the death of King Oluf, in 1389 Queen Margrete compelled Chancellor Hakon Jonsson, to except her nephew Erik of Pomerania as King of Norway, later Sweden and Denmark. So therefore uniting the whole of Scandinavia, with the formation of the Kalmar union, in 1397. Even though Hakon Jonsson’s claim to the throne was just as valid as that of Margrete’s pretender.
(20) (Onefnd, Name unknown) Hakonardottir, b. in 1370, Norway. Married Kenek Gottskalksson, b. in 1370, Norwegian Statesman. Onefnd translated into English means No Name. There is no record found of her Christian name, in any of the known record books of that period, of Norwegian history.
(19) Rognvaldur Keneksson, b. in 1400, Norway. Norwegian Statesman.
(18)Nikulas Rognvaldsson, b. in 1430, Norway. Married Herborg Bardardottir, b. in 1430. Brother of Olafs Rognvaldsson Bishop of Holum in northern Iceland from 1458 to 1495.
(17) Gottschalk “grimmi” Nikulasson, (Cruel or Fierce) b. in 1469, d. 28. Dec. 1520. Bishop of Holum in northern Iceland from 1496 to 1520. His mistress Valgerdur Jonsdottir, b. in 1460. His son Oddur Gottskalksson while on a visit to Norway he became a Lutheran convert and on his return to Iceland (which was still Catholic), secretly translated the New Testament into Icelandic at Skalholt. His translation, printed and published in Denmark in 1540, was the first book ever printed in the Icelandic language.
(16)Kristin Gottskalksdottir, b. in 1488, d. 1578, Iceland. Married Jon Einarsson, b. in 1490, d. in 1544. She had witnessed the Reformation in1550 which swept through Iceland, when the Lutheran creed became the main Religion in Iceland. The last
Catholic bishop of Holum Jon Arason and his sons after a battle were captured and taken to Skalholt to be kept as prisoners by Danish officials and Icelanders, but they became very afraid of men from the north who were supporters of bishop Jon Arason
to come and rescue them, so they decided to put them to death. On November 7, 1550, they were beheaded in Skalholt. In Iceland this event is regarded as marking the end of the Middle Ages.
Skalholt in southern Iceland
(15) Egill Jonsson, b. in 1510, d. in 1560, Iceland. Married Gudrun Porleifsdottir, b. in 1520.
(14) Gudrun Egilsdottir, b. in 1545, Iceland. Married Gudmundur Gislason, b. in 1530.
(13) Helga Gudmundsdottir, b. in 1580, d. in 1651, Iceland. Married Bjorn Porleifsson, b. in 1573, d. in 1650.
After the Reformation the Danish king almost entirely neglected to protect his faraway country, Iceland. Occasionally, pirates and other marauders would come to its shores to murder, rob and commit other atrocities. In 1579, English robbers committed a wave of crimes and held a rich nobleman ransom, and in 1615 Spanish whalers caused an uproar, but the Icelanders gathered forces and killed a number of them. In 1627 the country was attacked by pirates from Algeria. They stole and plundered all the
valuables they could find, and killed a number of people. On leaving, they took several hundred men, women and children,
mostly from the Westman Islands, as captives and sold them into slavery in North Africa. Relatives and others collected money to buy them freedom, but only a few 37 out of 370 captives - succeeded in returning home many years later.
(12) Gudrun Bjornsdottir, b. in 1625, d. in 1660, Iceland. Married Arni Einarsson, b. in 1620, d. in 1686.
(11) Helga Arnadottir, b. in 1659, d. in 1735, Iceland. Married Asgeir Sigurdsson, b. in 1650, d. in 1712. In 1707 a terrible smallpox epidemic broke out in Iceland, which killed about 18,000 people, or more than one third of the population.
(10) Hallbjorg Asgeirsdottir, b. in 1682, Iceland. Married Jon Hannesson, b. in 1678, d. in 1735. (My Grandparents line separates again with their two daughters Anna, Grandfathers blue line, Astridur, Grandmothers red line.)
I will continue first with my Grandfathers blue line then my Grandmothers red line until they link together again
(9)Anna Jonsdottir, b. in 1715, Iceland. Married Porsteinn Gudmundsson, b. in 1704, d. 14. May. 1785.
(8) HallberaPorsteinsdottir, b. in 1750, d. 9. Fed. 1805, Iceland. Married Teitur Halldorsson, b. in 1745, d. in 1782. Herself and her son Jon witnessed the terrible Laki volcanic eruptions (1783-1784) Laki is a huge volcanic rift to the west of the vast
glacier Vatnajokull in the southeast of Iceland. A gigantic quantity of glowing lava tumbled from these craters in the highlands
and down to the lowlands where it spread and eventually covered an area of 565 km, creating the largest lava field in historical times. Numerous farms were damaged or destroyed and people in the region fled in panic. Accompanying the eruptions, toxic gas filled the air. It poisoned vegetation, eventually killing off the animals. An intense shortage of food followed, bringing a terrible famine to most of the country. It has been estimated that between nine and ten thousand people died of starvation in the years 1783-84, and the population fell below 40,000 again. Because of the fallout of ash in the atmosphere, it led to bad Harvests throughout Europe for the next few years. Some Historians have said that this eruption is one of the contributory factors, which led to the French Revolution in 1789.
The picture above of volcanic craters which are between mount Hekla, and Landmannalaugar, gives you an idea what the Laki craters would look like.
(7)Jon Teitsson, b. in 1774, d. 24. April. 1845, Iceland. Married Silpha Johannesdottir, b. in 1776, d. 6. Oct. 1854. When France lost the Napoleonic wars, Denmark suffered badly because the victors agreed on punishing it for supporting Napoleon, In the settlement of 1814 Norway was taken away from Denmark and giving it to Sweden, so therefore dissolving the union which Iceland and Norway had since 1262.
(6)Silfa Jonsdottir, b.13. April. 1818, d. 3. Mar. 1883, Rekavik bak Latur Hornstrandir Iceland. Married Jon Bjornsson, b. 22. June. 1822, d. 3. Mar. 1887.
(5) Palmi Jonsson,b. 27. Sept. 1852, d. 3. Nov. 1914, Rekavik bak Latur Hornstrandir Iceland . Married Gudridur Sigurdardottir, b. 26. Feb. 1850, d. 30. Dec. 1887. He was a big strong bearded man, a farmer in Rekavik bak Latur. Their son Gudmundur Palmason’s marriage to Ketilridur Porkelsdottir, linking the ancestral lines together again.
My Grandmothersred ancestral line
(10) Astridur Jonsdottir,b. in 1716, d. 22. Nov. 1784, Iceland. Married Jon Palsson, b. in 1710, d. 15. Aug. 1791.
(9) Bjarni Jonsson,b. in 1734, Iceland. Married Margret Halldorsdottir, b. in 1735, d. in 1806.
(8) Halldor Bjarnason,b. 1762, d. 27. June. 1819, Iceland. Married Ingibjorg Benediktsdottir, b. in 1754, d. 11. June. 1816. Both him and his wife witnessed the terrible volcanic eruptions of Laki in (1783-1784)
(7) Bjarni Hallorsson,b. 26. Nov 1789, d. 16. Mar 1879, Iceland. Married Ingibjorg Hermannsdottir, b. in 1790, d. 22. April 1865.
The Icelandic fishermen used mainly small rowing boats, until the 19th century when they acquired larger sailing ships.
(6)Ketilridur Bjarnadottir, b. 19. Sept 1822, d. 16. Mar 1879,Iceland. Married Gisli Halldorsson, b. 24. Jan 1813, d. 13. Jan 1863.
(5)Maria Gisladottir, b. 13. Oct 1843, d. 20. Sept 1888, Iceland. Married Porkell Isleifsson, b. 28. Nov 1841, d. 13. April 1905. Their daughter Ketilridur Porkelsdottir marriage to Gudmundur Palmason, links the ancestral lines together again.
Above a map of the West Fjords of Northern Iceland, showing you ware the family locations are.
The Hornstrandir the most northern region on Iceland’s northwest coast.
The Hornstrandir is a very mountainous area, with Fjords, Bays and Inlets, with steep cliffs which are full of seabirds nesting on the cliff ledges during the summer months. From October through the winter months until June, the whole Hornstrandir area
is snowed in. Despite living on the edge of civilisation, the hunting possibilities attracted many settlers of royal origin the most
noble in Iceland to the Hornstrandir, according to the saga’s. Also the fjords bays and inlets had ideal grazing areas close to the
shore for farm animals, and drift wood washed ashore from Siberia and Canada, which settlers would use for constructing
houses, fences, and making furniture. At the beginning of the 20th century there were three fishing villages, of Hesteyri, Latrum,
Seabol, and farms on the Hornstrandir. The main industry was the salt fish market, but then during the depression years of the 1930’s the salt fish markets collapsed, then in the 1940’s the Herring station at Hesteyri closed, and because of no work people moved away to Isafjordur and other places in Iceland. There were only a few roads on the Hornstrandir, and it was not possible
to get there by car, so the only form of transport was by horse or boat. By 1952, the whole of the Hornstrandir peninsula had
become depopulated when the last people moved away, and since then the area has been made into a nature reserve. Today some of the houses owned by the people who lived on the Hornstrandir, are used in the summer months as summer houses and some open them up as cafes and places to stay for tourists.
My Grandfather Gudmundur Palmason Staumnes Lighthouse
(4)Gudmundur Palmason, b. 28. Jan. 1878, d. 21. Feb. 1951. Born in Rekavik bak Latur Hornstrandir Iceland, a farmer and lighthouse keeper of Straumnesvita. Married (4) Ketilridur Porkelsdottir, b. 18. Aug. 1875, d.18. Nov. 1925. (links the ancestral lines together again) Gudmundur became father to 18 children, 14 with his wife Ketilridur, after she died in 1925, he had 4 more with Bjarneyjar Andresdottir, his house keeper. The Straumnesvita lighthouse Gudmundur used to keep stands at the foot of Straumnes peninsula, the lighthouse helps ships to navigate around the Hornstrandir, which has some of the most dangerously rugged coast lines in the world, with mountains and steep cliffs up to 1700ft high. The picture above of Gudmundur was taken in Hall Yorkshire England, in about 1900. Because English is the main International Language for Lighthouse Keepers, it was in Hull that he learned to speak English.
Gudmundur Palmason children with Ketilridur
(1) Sigurdur Gudmundsson, b 27. Aug 1899, d. 1. April 1900. (2) Gudridur Palina Gudmundsdottir, b. 30. July 1900, d. 16. July 1921. (3) Messiana Gudmundsdottir, b. 11. Nov 1901, d. 11. Dec 1973. (4) Maria Gudmundsdottir, b. mar 1903, d. 24. April 1989. (5) Porkell Ingimar Gudmundsson, b. 26. Mar 1904, d. 24. July 1990. (6) Halldora Gumundsdottir, b. 30, may 1906, d. dec 1991. (7) Stefan Gudmundsson, 31. May 1906, d.6. June 1995. (8) Palmi Olafur Gudmundsson, 11. Aug 1907, d. 10. Oct 1964. (9) Svava Gudmundsdottir, 7. Jan 1909, d. 19. Oct 1940. (10) Karlotta Gudmundsdottir, 24. April 1910, d. 16. Feb 1982. (11) Borgar Gunnar Gudmundsson, 2. Sept 1911, d. 26. Nov 1985. (12) Hrolfur Gudmundsson, b. 30. Oct 1912, d. 16. May 1943. (13) Fridgeir Gudmundsson, b. 21. July 1916, d. 6. June 2001. (14) Asa Byron Gudmundsdottir, b. 27. Oct 1917, d 24. Jan 1994.
Gudmundur Palmason children with Bjarneyjar
(15) Ingibjorg Ketilridur Gudmundsdottir, b. 17 june 1928. (16) Stella Gudmundsdottir, 27. May 1930. (17) Gudny Maria Sigridur Gudmundsdottir, 18. June 1932. (18) Magnus Porberg Gudmundsson, b. 23. Sept 1933.
Thefamily home was in this fjord above at Rekavik bak Latur The village of Latrum in Adalvik Bay
Rekavik bak Latur, as you can see in the picture above left, the fjord had very steep mountains each side of it, and with two lakes at the head of the fjord. The first and largest lake is separated by a shingled beech, the second and smallest lake has a strip of land separating it from the largest lake. It was an hours journey on horse back from Rekavik bak Latur to the nearest village
of Latrum, once there my Grandparents would visit the stores to stock up with supplies, and it was also here that the children
including my mother went to school. For travelling to and from the Hornstrandir, there was regular boat services from Latrum
and Hesteyri to Isafjordur, and then from Isafjordur there were regular boat services to the capital Reykjavik, and other parts of the country.
Above in Isafjordur, it was during the 1930’s my mother Asa worked and lived here.
Now that my Grandparents ancestral lines have joined together again it will continue in black.
(3) Asa Byron Gudmundsdottir, b. 27. Oct. 1917. In Rekavik bak Latur Hornstrandir Iceland, d. 24. Jan. 1994. Bishops Stortford England. In about 1933 age 15, she left Rekavik bak Latur the family home to live in Isafjordur, and took a job as a house keeper for a dentist who’s wife was disabled. One morning the dentist died of a heart attack. After the death of her husband, the dentist wife decided to move to Reykjavik to be close to her relatives, and Asa went with her. By the out break of World War 2, Asa had moved in to an apartment in Reykjavik with her sister Karlotta. They both got jobs as waitresses serving
the British and American military servicemen based in Reykjavik. In 1945 at a dance in Reykjavik, she meet Philip William Pearce, b. 26. Nov 1918, d. 25. Jan 1993. He was serving in the R.A.F. in Reykjavik, from Oct 1945 until Aug 1946 preparing for the R.A.F. withdrawal from Iceland. In June 1946 they were married in Reykjavik, then in august they left Iceland for England to settle in Bishops Stortford, it was here that they went on to have three children and one grandchild.
Above is a photo of my parents wedding day in Reykjavik, and the Gullfoss which they sailed from Reykjavik Iceland,
to Edinburgh Scotland, on their way to England in August 1946.
The British Occupation of Iceland in 1940
After the outbreak of World War 2, Iceland because of its location in the middle of the North Atlantic, was of great strategic
importance, because of the threat to the shipping convoys between Britain and the United States. Fearing that the Germans
would establish military bases in Iceland, the British decided to move first, sending a large force to occupy Iceland. Troops
landed in Reykjavik early in the morning of May 10, 1940, and took full control of the country in a very short time. The Icelandic government protested strongly against this violation of the nation’s neutrality, but there was little more that an unarmed country could do. The prime minister broadcast an address to the Icelandic people to keep calm, regard the British soldiers as guests in their country and treat them accordingly. The British, for their part, declared they would not mingle in Icelandic affairs and would leave as soon as they could.
The arrival of the British troops wrought a rapid, radical and irreversible change upon life in Iceland. Commerce boomed, and work was available for virtually everybody constructing barracks and other buildings, roads, airfields and other facilities for the forces. The great demand for manpower caused wages to rise, unemployment disappeared almost overnight, and living standards rose. Most of the troops were based in Reykjavik and the south, there was also a considerable number in the north in and around Akureyri and in the east and western part of the country. To lighten the war burden on the British, the Americans took over the defence of Iceland in the summer of 1941. Iceland agreed on condition that the Americans withdrew all their forces as soon as the war was over, acknowledging the independence of Iceland in all respects. By the summer of 1942 the last units of the British army had withdrawn from Iceland, but the R.A.F. bases at Reykjavik and Akureyri remained in Iceland until august 1946. The dream of the Icelandic people about full freedom and independence from Denmark, was realized under the shadow of World War 2, on the 17 June 1944, when Iceland became the Republic of Iceland.
(2)Michael Philip Pearce 1950. Bishops Stortford Hertfordshire England. A Painter & Decorator, still living in Bishops Storford.
Diana Asa Suava Pearce, b. 7. July. 1952. Bishops Stortford Hertfordshire England, d. 17. June. 1997. Harlow Essex. Married John Wheeler, b. 16. April. 1947, Southwark London. She was an Electronics assembler, but sadly died of cancer in 1997.
Brian Robert Pearce, b. 9. May. 1954. Bishops Stortford Hertfordshire England. Married Paula
This is a picture of me walking from Seabol to Hesteryi Hornstrandir Iceland in 2000.
THE GENEALOGY IS BY ORG aettfraedipjonustan ehf. REYKJAVIK ICELAND. www.simmet.is/org
THE HISTORICAL IMFORMATION HAS BEEN RESEACHED BY MICHAEL PHILIP PEARCE.