Rev. Stefan M. Jonasson - Family
"I trace the interest in genealogy in Iceland to the lack of trees. Because of the sparsity of trees,
people opt for family trees and find themselves forests among their forebears ..." (Einar Már
Guđmundsson, Angels of the Universe)
Before my great-great-grandfather, Elías Kjćrnested, left Iceland with his wife and children, he
retained the services of a genealogist to trace his family tree, which my great-grandmother, Dagbjört,
dutifully transcribed for her descendents. From this starting point, my late brother, Eric, continued to
research our genealogy and expanded the scope to include our German and French ancestors. In time,
this led Eric to his vocation as a professional genealogist and publisher. Among his works are The
Canadian Genealogical Handbook (1978) and Tracing Your Icelandic Family Tree (1975). Since his
death, my brother Chuck and I have continued this research into our family's history and wehave
journeyed to Iceland and Germany to meet relatives in those places. My pedigree (PDF) shows an
interesting array of common people from three different cultures who met and mingled here in Canada.
And it doesn't even begin to show my children's Japanese ancestors!
Although my paternal ancestry is Icelandic, my maternal lineage is German and French Canadian. The
German branch of our family and its place of origin in Hesse is presented at Lingelbach Heritage.
INTERESTING RELATIVES AND THEIR WEB SITES
Len & Karen Vopnjord - My cousin Len is a retired city planner whose career included service in both
Winnipeg and Victoria. He and his wife Karen are better known, perhaps, as folksingers who have been
delighting audiences for (gulp!) four decades. From The Wayward Singers in the 1960s, through The
Hekla Singers to a duet, once their kids left home, Len & Karen continue to sing their way into people's
hearts. Their CD "Descendants" (Afkomandi) is a collection of stories in song which tells the tale of
those who built this country and the legacy they bequeathed to us.
Lindy - My cousin Lindy is, without a doubt, my tallest living relative. His videos have been featured
on MuchMusic (alas, there is no MuchMinistry network!) and his song "Beautifully Undone," from his
latest album, Suspension of Disbelief, has been getting some good airplay. While "So Tired of Bein'
Alone" will always be my favourite song of Lindy's, I've got to say that Suspension of Disbelief is a
terrific CD! Everyone should buy two copies, so they still have a copy to play after they wear out the
The Best Seafood in the World! - My cousin Eyţór Ólafsson sells the best fish in the world through
his Reykjavík-based company, E. Ólafsson Ltd. Look for the "Glacier Island" label and you're sure to eat
the finest seafood products available. If your grocer doesn't stock it, now you know where to send
them to get it!
Vesturfarar - My cousin Óli Ólafsson and his wife Halla Gúđnadóttir are teachers in Reykjavík, Iceland,
who recently toured North America examining methods for teaching special needs students and
immigrant children. While they were traveling, they maintained a weblog of their adventures, complete
Sibling Rivalry? (PDF) - In the fall of 2003, my sister Debra and I both delivered public addresses that
were advertised in the newspaper. Sadly, there was a disparity in the relative size of the two ads,
which will be readily apparent when you open the attached file!
MINNINGARRIT - IN MEMORIAM
Eric L. Jonasson (PDF) - My brother Eric was a cartographer, genealogist publisher and school
trustee. He was the founding president of the Manitoba Genealogical Society and also served as
president of both the Manitoba Association of School Trustees and the Canadian School Boards
Victor O. Jonasson - From time to time, I hear someone exclaim, "My God, I've become my own
father!" While this is usually offered as a lament, I can think of no greater compliment than to be able
to claim that I have become like my own father. More than twenty-five years after his death, I still
miss him dearly and feel his influence in my life. Mineral landsman and mathematician, artist and
anthropologist, singer and storyteller, gardener and citizen, he remains one of the most remarkable
people I have ever known. Coming soon!
Axel Vopnfjord - My great-uncle and godfather, Axel Vopnfjord, was a scholar and a gentleman,
however hackneyed that phrase may sound. A schoolteacher, university professor and editor of The
Icelandic Canadian, Uncle Axel taught me much of what I know about citizenship and responsibility,
literature and culture.
Jonas Thorstenson - My grandmother's second husband, Jonas was the only grandfather I ever knew,
my biological grandfathers having died long before I was born. From him, I learned that love is as
potent a force as genetics, perhaps even stronger. Coming soon!
Leonard N. Jonasson - My father's brother, Len, was one of the youngest airmen to lose his life in
the defence of freedom during World War II. Coming soon!
Jón Ţorláksson Kjćrnested - My great-great-great-grandfather, Jón Kjćrnested, inspired a poem,
"At an Old Grave, 1841" (Á gömlu leiđi 1841) by one of the greatest Icelandic poets of all time, Jónas
Hallgrímsson. This link will take you to a web site showing the poem both in Icelandic and in English
translation, along with a commentary on the poem, short biography of Jón Kjćrnested, photograph of
the churchyard at Ingáldshóll, and audio clip of the poem in Icelandic.
Jón Ţórđarson - Another great-great-great-grandfather, Jón Ţórđarson, was a member of the Alţing,
Iceland's parliament, for two terms in the 1840s. He is best remembered for his unsparing challenge to
the excesses of the state church and its priests at a time when they exploited the impoverished
Icelandic farmers. The last time my brother and I were in Iceland, we had the pleasure of meeting Jón's
grandson, Pétur Pétursson, a retired radio personality who is the youngest child of Jón's youngest
daughter. Pétur noted that, in addition to his grandfather's conflict with church authorities, he is also
remembered for his rich sense of humour.
The Dipple Family at Sanford (PDF) - My great-grandparents, John Dipple and Elizabeth (née
Gemmer), moved their family from Acton, North Dakota, to the area north of Sanford, Manitoba, in the
early years of the twentieth century. (For many years, this township and the rail siding were known as
"Dipples.") In 1998, I presided at the dedication of new monument on their grave at the Sanford
FamilySearch - One of the best genealogical databases on the Internet, FamilySearch is a good place
to begin (or continue) your search for ancestors around the world. I check for new records every few
months and, oftentimes, I'm able to add one more bud or twig to the family tree!