Kristján Albertsson and Guðrún Þórðardóttir (Gudrun Thorthardottir). Two names. Two individuals who came together, to create a family. But what´s the story behind these two names, these people of the past, my ancestors, my great-great grandparents. I don´t want to just know their names, and dates of birth and death. I want to know more. Who were these people? What was life like for them? What were their hopes? What obstacles did they have to face? I am a curious person. Our generation take for granted so much in life, so I want to know what it took to survive, what our forefathers had to endure for us to get to where we are today.
Come with me on a journey of the imagination. Let’s go back 135 years to a place and time so vastly different from the world we live in today. Let’s leave this modern world of fast paced people and mind boggling technology for a simpler time. This place is nestled at the base of a snow capped mountain and the formidable sea, in a place almost forgotten, a place so remote and rugged that it is a wonder that people survived there at all. But they did and still do.
It is 1883 and this place is in such a remote part of Iceland that the only access to the place is by boat, via the sea. No roads have been built, no tunnels through the mountains, like today. The Westfjords of Iceland, are my focus, and more specifically, Súgandafjordur Turf houses are the accomodation, mode of travel is by foot, boat or horse. Staple diet is fish.
It is a day in mid autumn, and a young couple join in matrimony amongst family and friends. This is the bridegroom´s second marriage. At 32 he has already seen much heartache and sorrow in his life, but no more than others in his community, for he knows like everyone else that life gives as it does takes, and that is just the way of life. He looks upon his beautiful brown eyed bride, who is 9 years younger than he, but as the first registered midwife of her district, knows he has found a capable and resilient woman.
They go on to have 14 children, 11 of whom survive to adulthood, but mostly what I have is dates and names of places. I want to dig deeper and find this family’s story.
My goal is to find out more about their life and piece together their story using resources from Icelandic books and records about the family and region and using social history to fill in the blanks. This blog will hopefully journal my discoveries along the way.
My home is in Australia, so wanting to discover the world of my ancestors on the other side of the globe in Iceland presents a few obstacles, but this blog will hopefully be enjoyed by immediate and extended family who want to find out more about our common ancestors and anyone interested in family history. I am by no means a professional genealogist. I just have a love for family history and culture and have always desired to write.