Dora Sigurdson

Frank& Dora Sigurdson
Frank and Dora Sigurdson
on their Wedding Day




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Taken from the Icelandic Appeal website, circa 2000.
Sigurdson, Dora

By Dora Sigurdson

My mother’s parents, Halldór Brynjólfsson (b. 1857) from Karastaðir, Vatnsnes, and his wife Hólmfríður Eggertsdóttir (b. May 2, 1859) from Helguhvammur, Húnavatnssýsla, came to Gimli in 1887 with their baby daughter Margaret, and Halldór’s mother Kristjana Guðmunsdóttir, age 52. That was the only year of emigration that the ships could not travel along the north coast of Iceland to pick up passengers because of icebergs in the ocean and the harbours. The emigrants had to go on horseback or walk all the way to Reykjavik to get on the ship to America. My grandparents Halldór and Hólmfríður settled at Birkines, a farm just north of Gimli. Eventually they had seven daughters: the abovementioned Margaret, Ardís, Sæunn, Pálina, Kristín, Brynhildur, and Kristjana, who died young. My mother was Pálina, born Mar. 29, 1893.

My father, Þorsteinn Gíslason was born July 31, 1886 at Hnappavellir, Austur-Skaptafellssýsla. He came to Gimli in 1905 at the age of 19. Jón Benediktson, for whom he had been working in Iceland, loaned him the money for the fare to come to Canada, then gave him a job in his butcher shop in Gimli during the summers. In the winter he fished on Lake Winnipeg. In 1914, my father, Þorsteinn, married my mother Pálina. In 1916 they moved to the Steep Rock District, where they had a farm and Dad fished on Lake Manitoba. They had six children: Guðný (b. July 17, 1916), Halldóra (b. Mar. 13, 1918), Gísli and Halldór (both b. May 10, 1919; Halldór died in infancy), Gardar (b. Mar. 13, 1921, m. Elise Olson), and Kris (b. May 11, 1926). The three surviving brothers all served in the armed forces during WWII. Kris later joined the RCMP. He married Puline (nee Mitchell) and they had three children: Judy, Brian, and David. He family resides in Saskatchewan. The oldest daughter, Guðný, died in childbirth in her early twenties. Her baby did not survive.

I, Halldóra, married Franklin Sigurdson on August 13, 1940. We settled in Oak Point, and lived there until we retired.

We had four children: Wilfred (b. Feb. 22, 1943; a doctor, 3 children), Lorna (b. Feb. 3, 1945; a teacher, 2 children), Enid (b. Aug. 28, 1949; a teacher, 2 children), and Hugh (b. Sept. 2, 1950; a teacher and principal; 2 children).


We have ten grandchildren: Debbie, Andrea, and Jennifer Sigurdson; Dawn and Marni Rothwell (Thorpe), Brad and Patrick Murphy, and Ben, Stefan, and Garrett Sigurdson.

We also have three great-grandchildren: Tiana Rachel Dueck (b. Oct. 17, 1997), Riley Andrew Thorpe (b. Apr. 20, 1999), and Connor Murphy (b. 2001)

Frank and I were among the first residents of Betelstadur at Sargent and Erin when it was built; it is still my home today. Franklin passed away in June, 1995.

I have been very active in genealogical research and have helped dozens of people from across Canada, the United States, and Iceland to find long lost relatives on both sides of the ocean. This work has become too onerous for me now, so I will gladly pass on the materials I have to someone who is interested in continuing this research. I started researching Icelandic genealogy with my father’s family. The family chart I made for this side of the family goes back to Hálfdán Guðrekksson, king of the Uplands (d. 860), Ragnar Loðbrók, Grímurkamban, and Dan, king of Denmark, after whom the country was named. Some of the large charts I made are in Iceland. Others will eventually be donated to the museum in Gimli.

I have been fortunate enough to travel to Iceland four times: once with my husband, Franklin, once with my daughter Enid, once with my son Wilf and his wife, and once with my granddaughter Dawn and her husband Chris on their honeymoon! I have received many treasured visits from friends and family in return. My only regret is that my father never had the opportunity to go back to Iceland to visit his brothers and sisters. However, the stories he told me at the end of his life were, for me, the beginning of the recording of our family history, which has resulted in many exciting journeys in time as well as place for me and my whole family.

For more complete histories, please see: Benjamín Kristjánsson, Vestur Íslenzkar Æviskrár, Vol. IV pp. 77-79; Nelson Gerrard, Icelandic River Saga, p. 481; Wagons to Wings: History of Lundar and Districts 1872-1980 p. 388; Veterans of Icelandic Descent p. 122 ; Gimli Saga, p. 495-96; Hardship and Happiness . For Franklin Sigurdson’s family history, see Vestur Íslenzkar Æviskrár Vol. II, p.278-283 as well as Wagons to Wings, pp. 668-672.