Jón and Elín Gislason

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Taken from the Icelandic Appeal website, circa 2000.
Gislason, Jón and Elín

In 1906 Petrína Stefánsdóttir, widowed wife of Magnús Eggertson, left Hnifsdalur, Iceland and immigrated to Canada. She settled in Winnipeg MB with her four young children, Gunna, Eddie, Elín, and Margrét (Margaret).

Gunna---married Paul Paulson, a fisherman. They lived in Winnipegosis for many years before moving to Winnipeg with their ten children.

Eddie---stayed single to support his mother. He joined the army (Fort Garry Horse) in 1914 and went overseas with the 2nd contingent (Military District #10) in 1915. After the war he was employed at the Paris Bldg. During WWII he served in the militia.

Elín---married Jón Gíslason on July 29, 1920. They had four children.

Margrét---married Rene Beaupre and they immigrated to the USA, settling in Los Angeles.

Jón (John) Hjaltan Gíslason (b. July 4, 1895), son of Gisli and Valgerður Helgason of Reykjavík, Iceland, immigrated to Canada in 1912. John had one sister and four brothers: Margrét, Ingólfur, Sigurður, Garðar, and Valur; they decided to stay in Iceland.

Valur was an actor with the National Theatre of Iceland which toured Canada and the United States in August 1975; the program was about Icelandic Heritage. We were fortunate because they performed in Gimli that year at the Icelandic Festival.

When John first came to Canada he stayed with his uncle, John Helgason, in Arnes MB. He then went to Winnipeg to attend Wesley College (now the University of Winnipeg). He later became the owner of Pioneer Pole Co. Ltd. with offices in the Great West Permanent Bldg. He was also involved in importing and exporting to Iceland, the US, and Britain.


Elín and John were introduced to each other on May 29, 1919 and they were married on July 29, 1920. In his diary, John wrote, “This is the luckiest day of my life.” They were blessed with four children, two boys and twin girls: Gisli (Guy), Magnus (Mike), Jonina (Joan) and Petrina (Pat).

Gisli---b. June 11, 1921, married Dorothy Oliver. They had three children, Stephen, Jane, and Myra. Guy worked as a radio announcer for CBC in Winnipeg until he enlisted in the army. After the war, Dorothy and Guy decided to move to Toronto. Guy was very successful in the advertising business.

Magnus---b. Mar. 23, 1923. Mike worked for the Manitoba Telephone System until joining the RCAF in 1942. During his training he was based in various parts of Canada, then his squadron was posted to Iceland where he found many relatives and spent his leaves visiting with them. He’d take his pals along to ride Icelandic ponies and to taste Vinarterta (an Icelandic cake) and coffee. Flt/Sgt Magnus Gislason was killed in action while based in Iceland.; his plane was shot down by a German submarine. One of the crew lived to tell the tale.

Jonina---married Daniel Kuzma, on June 10, 1950. They had five children,: Patricia, Jo-Anna, Robert, Gay-lynne, and David. Joan worked for the Liquor commission in Winnipeg before her marriage. Joan, Dan and family decided to move to Pickering Ont. After bringing up their children, Dan and Joan opened a resort in Aplsley, ON. They retired to Pope St. Ennismore ON, which Joan enjoyed only for a short while. Joan passed away on Feb. 11, 2000.

Petrina---b. Sept. 4, 1928, married Ronald Morden on Apr. 16, 1955. They had three children, John, Candice, and James. Petrina worked for Weststeel Products, Imperial Oil and Eaton’s.