Harold & Agustina

Harold & Ágústína Bjarnason

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Taken from the Icelandic Appeal website, circa 2000.
Bjarnson, Harold & Ágústína

By Dr. Harold F. Bjarnason

(Þórbergur) Harold (“Halli”) Bjarnason was born on February 26, 1894.

Bjarni Árnason, his father, was born on November 28, 1848 in Melshúsum, Reykjavík, Iceland. He was the son of Arni Sigurðsson (b. May 31, 1812, Kólbeinsdal, d. Feb. 12, 1864), a goldsmith in Reykjavík, and Anna Bjarnadóttir (b. July 25, 1818, Reykjavík, d. 1857).

Bjarni, a farmer in Yfri-Hraunsdal, Mýrasýsla, emigrated to Winnipeg in 1887 because of a family tragedy. He had been away from his farm for two weeks on a trip to Reykjavík for provisions and on his return, found that his house had burned and that his wife and four children had perished in the fire. He found employment in Winnipeg as a laborer.

Guðveig Jónsdóttir, Harold’s mother, one of 10 children, was born in Grímsstöðum, Aftaneshrepp, Mýrasýsla, on May 16, 1858. She died in Gimli September 24, 1948. Her father, Jón Jóhannesson, a farmer in Grímsstöðum (b. Sept 12, 1828, Ingjaldshól, Snæfelsness, d. 1881) married her mother, Þjódbjörg Sigurðardóttir (b. May 20, 1822, Litlugröf, d. June 4, 1862) in 1849.

Guðveig was four when her mother died, and the children were sent to various foster homes. Guðveig lived in Lækjarborg, Hraunshrepp until she was 15, then in Vogarbek, Alftaneshrepp until age 18, then in Straumfjörð until age 24 and finally in Knararnes with Ásgeir Bjarnason and Ragnheiður Helgadóttir. In 1889, she emigrated to Canada with her nephew Jón (J. J. Swanson), who became a well-known and respected businessman (realty) in Winnipeg, and an Alderman of the city. Two of her sisters, Guðrun (married Thorvaldur Sveinsson) and Sigurlaug (married Guðmundur Erlendsson), later joined her in Winnipeg.


Bjarni and Guðveig met in Winnipeg and married on December 10, 1892. They had a daughter, Anna, a year later, who died at the age of three. Bjarni died from typhoid fever on November 7, 1897. Guðveig subsequently married Egill Egilsson (b. March 2, 1858, Eastern Iceland, d. March 4, 1954, Gimli), and they had one son, Bjarni Ásgeir (Barney), born February 11, 1901, died February 27, 1965. Barney served as Mayor of Gimli for 14 years.

The family had a dairy farm on what is now Mountain Avenue in Winnipeg, then moved to Stoney Mountain and then to Langruth where they continued to farm. In 1924, they moved to Gimli, where Harold bought into a General Store partnership with F. Lyngdal. It was in Gimli that he met “Gusta”. They were married on June 16, 1935.

Ágústína Helga (“Gusta”) Finnson was born in Gimli on August 17, 1906.

Guðmundur Jónsson, her father (b. November 24, 1866, Fremri Gufudal, Barðastrandasýsla, d. August 12, 1945, Gimli), was the son of Jón Einarsson (b. June 20, 1842, d. July 19, 1880, son of Einar (hreppstjóri) Einarsson from Kirjubóli, who was uncle of poet Matthías Jochumsson), and Helga Finnsdóttir (b. Oct. 28, 1821, Kálfanesi, d. May 31, 1905, Gimli). Jón had come to work as the steward on Helga’s farm after her husband Guðmundur died. Helga was the daughter of Finnur (hreppstjóri) Arason. Guðmundur moved with his parents to Kolfadal and then with his mother and half-sister Halldóra and her husband Sveinn to Strandasýsla. He trained as a bookbinder. And there, he met his future wife, Margrét. Jón Einarsson stayed in Kálfanes where he later married Ingibjörg Sveinsdóttir. They had one son, Jón, who died in1916 on a Norwegian ship sunk by the Germans.