Saturday, August 13, 2011

What of Vilborg's ancestors?

If you think my ancestors are interesting then wait till you hear about Vilborg's ancestors who are also mine! Vikings who settled Iceland in 870AD from Norway establishing clans or tribes in various parts of this small island as they battled to survive in a new land with no resources other than what they brought with them on their ships. They practiced Medieval Paganism before they were converted to Christianity or catholism in 1000 AD. (Interestingly enough I have a son who claims to be a goth or pagan!)

Vikings brought slaves and captives from their raids throughout Europe to Iceland, but mostly from Ireland. Through intermarriage with the Irish women, we have the Icelanders of today. I found out why the Westman Islands where Vilborg lived are called that, because the vikings called Ireland westmen and the other Scandinavian countries the eastmen.

When Vilborg came to America she had with her a book of her genealogy that describes much of her ancestors' adventures back to 870 AD when Iceland was settled. It is quite bloody and savage, but that was survival in those days. One excerpt:

Lord Jon Arason, Bishop of Hólum, was born in 1484. He was first a priest of the Catholic Church at Helgastödum and Hrafnagili beginning for 20 years beginning in 1504. In 1523 he was elected Bishop of the Nordlendingum4 and ordained in Norway in 1524. In 1525 he came to Hólum or Holar. He was a great chief and poet but held fast to the Papal religion. For this reason he was imprisoned at Saudufelli by Dadi in Snoksdalur according to the king’s law. He was taken to Skálholt and there was beheaded with his sons Ari Jonsson the lawyer, and Björn Jonsson a priest on 7 Nov 1550.

This short excerpt shows the struggle over religion in Iceland with the Catholics controlling the people after the pagans, then the Lutherans violently taking control from the Catholics. When the Mormon missionaries came to preach a new religion, the newcomers were looked upon with fear and suspicion because of Icelanders' past religious experiences with converts.


SandyCarlson said...

The Irish no doubt livened things up--and not because of alcohol but because of Ireland. What a great story. Thanks for sharing this adventure.

Linda Reeder said...

Lin, I have finally taken the time to catch up with your Icelandic heritage posts. What interesting stories!
and what an amazing woman Vilborg must have been, surviving so much for so long!
We could have common Viking ancestry!

Rambling Woods said... find such amazing things researching family roots...