Gordon & Evelyn

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Taken from the Icelandic Appeal website, circa 2000.
Thorvaldson, Gordon & Evelyn

Part 1: Gordon’s family

Gordon’s paternal grandparents, Jón Þorvaldsson (b. May 4, 1870-d.1907) and Solveig Bjarnadóttir (b. June 2, 1870-d. Oct. 28, 1958) emigrated from Mýrarsýsla, Iceland in 1898. Their first two children, Barney and Þorvaldur, were born in Iceland. A third, Gordon’s grandfather Helgi, was born in Winnipeg on Feb. 21, 1898. Jón Þorvaldsson died when Helgi was nine years old. As a result, the young boy was sent to stay with his aunt in Saskatoon. He came back when his mother decided to homestead northeast of Lundar. Helgi served in WWI and was seriously wounded in the shoulder. He moved to Oak Point in the 1920s freighting for one of the fish companies. It was there that he met Margrét Kristín Tómasson, whom he married in Winnipeg in 1926.

Margret was the granddaughter of Arni Egilson (b. Jun. 14, 1848 at Gili, Öxnadalur-d. 1920 at Otto) and Sigriður Björnsdóttir (b. Apr. 1847 at Spaná, Skagafjörður-d. 1935). In 1876 they settled on Mikley (Hecla) Island. Their daughter Helga (b. Nov. 8, 1878) was one of the first white children born on the island. Helga’s daughter Margrét was born Dec. 28, 1901 on Mikley. In 1901, the Egilson family moved to Riverton to escape flooding on Mikley. They stayed in Riverton until 1904 when they moved to Otto in the Lundar district. It was there that Helga met Ásgrímur (Jim) Halldórson, whom she was to marry on May 2, 1906. Ásgrímur and Helga moved to Oak Point in 1924, where Ásgrímur was a farmer and fisherman, and Helga ran a rooming house and restaurant.

After marrying Helgi Thorvaldson in 1926, Helga’s daughter Margrét settled at Oak Point where the couple spent all their married life. They had a small farm, but fishing provided the main source of family income. Helgi was a gifted carpenter; he built the house and other buildings on the farm, as well as a boat he used for checking on sheep, which were kept at Marshy Point during the summer months. He was active in the community, especially the annual sports day on July 1. Helgi was also a good speaker who was often called upon to speak at public functions. He served as Justice of the Peace for a number of years. Margrét had plenty of work to do at home, but still managed to actively participate in the Icelandic Ladies’ Aid and the local Community Club Ladies’ group.


Helgi and Margrét had eight children: Gunnar Carl (b. May 8, 1928), Solveig Helga Joyce (b. July 5, 1931), Bernice (b. Sept. 2, 1932), Gordon Helgi (b. Oct. 31, 1936), Margaret Rose (b. Mar. 22, 1938), August Herman (b. Aug. 31, 1940), and twins Gladys Pauline and Gloria Jean (b. Jan. 27, 1943).

Part II. Evelyn’s Family

Evelyn’s maternal grandparents were Jóhann Hjörtur Pálsson (b. Jun. 11, 1873 at Norðurreykir in Borgarfjörður) and Kristín Þorsteinsdóttir (from Húsafell in Borgarfjörður). Hjörtur came to Winnipeg in 1900, but quickly returned to Iceland. He stayed there for one year, at the end of which he eloped with Kristín, whose family did not approve of him as her suitor. They immigrated to Winnipeg where they were married and spent the first two years of their life together in Canada. Hjörtur worked for Burns & Co. in Winnipeg. The couple’s first two children, daughter Thora and son Karí, were born in the Manitoba capital. Later, they moved to Stone Lake, 4 miles east of Lundar, where they began the difficult task of homesteading. The couple had nine more children: Svava, Halldóra, Leifur, Evelyn’s mother Ingibjörg (Ibbie), Olavia, Astriður (Asta), Páll, Thorstein, and another Halldóra.

The family was brought up in a very literate atmosphere in which their Icelandic heritage was most important. Kristín played the organ and Hjortur had a good tenor voice that he would employ in the singing of Icelandic hymns on Sunday. All the children learned their Icelandic catechism and were all confirmed in the Lutheran Church in Lundar. Poetry and prose recitals were common, especially when Hjortur’s brothers came to visit. Kristín was caretaker of the Icelandic Library in Lundar.

Ingibjörg (Ibbie) Palsson (b. Nov.14, 1911-d Jan. 27, 1972.) married Joseph Thomas Ganton. Joseph was a veteran of WWI who was born and raised in Ontario. Joseph and Ibbie first settled in Fort Frances, ON where Joseph was employed by the CNR. Their first son, Paul Thomas was born in Fort Frances (Aug. 15, 1936). Joseph’s work with the CNR took the family to Winnipeg where their daughter Evelyn Kristin was born on Sept. 11, 1938. The family then moved to Lundar where Joseph died in 1945. In 1949 Ibbie married Kjartan Valdimar Rafnkelson. Ibbie was active in the Lutheran Church in Ladies Aid groups, and as a delegate for Þjoðræknisfelag.