From John to the Other Side of the Icelandic Sagas, in 55 Generations

(...or treading on the Mythical in 67, and well into it in 94)

I'm lucky that Scandinavians write a lot of stuff down and rarely throw anything out (indeed, evidence that this trend continues is readily seen in my office, basement, closets and garage). Because of this, I know the most about my Icelandic family, which as it turns out can be pretty easily traced a lot further back than I expected to be able to. While my grandmother started me on all this, I'm grateful to Ted Beck for sharing some connections between his family and mine, which let me get back to the Saga age where the documentation became pretty extensive and made it easy to go much further back. I've put links to a variety of sources (not all multiple sources are notes, but all can be found via the links included here); much of this is also available in LDS records. I've thrown some anecdotes in on the side here and there.

My grandmother was:

  1. Jónina Ólöf Friðey Goodman ([Images: 1,2,3] b. 5 Dec., 1908, d. April 15, 2002) (Note that I recently added a separate page explaining the interconnections in the Goodman family). Jónina was the daughter of
  2. Ólöf Margrét Ólafsson ([Images: 1,2,3] b. 14 May, 1881, Dakota , m. [Jón Tryggvi Goodman], d. 27 Mar. 1964, Winnipeg), daughter of
  3. Ólafur Ólafsson frá Espihóll ([images: 1,2] "A Wise and Kind Man", {referenced here with an incorrect death date}. b. 16. July, 1834, Auðbjargarstaðir, m. [Anna Sigríður Jónsdóttir], d. 30 Jan. 1919, Winnipeg), son of
    {The first relative of mine to emigrate to North America, in 1873. Gave the town of Gimli, Manitoba its name}
  4. Kristín Sveinsdóttir (b. 1795, [m. Ólafur Gottskálksson]), {Kristin was the sister of Björg Sveinsdóttir, who married Þórarinn Þórarinsson and had a son Sveinn Þórarinsson. Sveinn was the father of Jón Stefán (Nonni) Sveinsson, a Catholic priest who wrote the 12 well-known Nonni children's books. Jon's brother Friðrik Sveinsson (who anglicized his name to Fred Swanson) was fostered by Ólafur Ólafsson frá Espihóll (above) and came to Canada with him. Friðrik was an artist who also designed stained-glass windows, including some at the University of Winnipeg. His daughter Rannveig married "Cartoon" Charlie Thorson, who designed and named Bugs Bunny. Some of Friðrik and Jon's father's diary entries are here}.
    Kristín was the daughter of
  5. Sveinn Guðmundsson (b. 17 Feb. 1767, m. 1790 [Margrét Jónsdóttir], d. 8 Oct. 1838), son of
  6. Guðmundur Guðmundsson (b. 1740 , [m. Björg Sigurðardóttir], d. 22 June 1820), son of
  7. Ingunn Pálsdóttir (b. 1721, [m. Guðmundur Guðmundsson, b. ~1715, son of Guðmundur Þorláksson - also here, see 17.grien]), daughter of
  8. Páll Arngrímsson ({also here} b. 1696, Víkingarvatni í Kelduhverfi, m. 1720 [Ragnhildur Þórarinsdóttir, a.k.a. Ragnhildur Þorsteinsdóttir]), son of
  9. Arngrímur Hrólfsson (b. 1660, m. 1690 [Hólmfríður Björnsdóttir], d. 1700), son of
  10. Hrólfur Sigurðsson (b. 1612, m. 1665 [Björg "yngri" Skúladóttir], d. 1704), son of
  11. Sigurður Hrólfsson, {also here and here} (b.1572, [m.Guðrún Sæmundsdóttir], d. 1635), son of
  12. Hrólfur Bjarnason (a.k.a. Hrólfur den stærke Bjarnason (or sterka/sterki, from icelandic "sterkur"=sturdy) {also here and here}b. ~1530, m. 1550 [Ingibjörg Bjarnadóttir], d. 1591), son of
  13. Bjarni Skúlasson (b. ~1500, [m. Ónefnd Brandsdóttir, b. ~1490]), son of
  14. Skúli Guðmundsson (b. ~1470, [m. Þórunn Marteinsdóttir] ), son of
  15. Guðmundur Skúlasson (b. ~1440), son of
  16. Skúli Loftsson (b. ~1410, [m. Helga Þorleifsdóttir], d. ~1480), son of
  17. Loftur "ríki" Guttormsson (a.k.a. Loftur "the Rich" (b. ~1370, Modruvellir, Eyjafjarðar, Iceland , m. 1400 [Kristín Oddsdóttir], d. 1432), son of
  18. Guttormur Ormsson (b. ~1345, [m. Soffía Eiríksdóttir], d. 26 May,.1381), son of
  19. Ormur Snorrason (b. ~1320, [m. Ólöf Jónsdóttir], d., 1402), son of
  20. Snorri Narfason ({also here} b. ~1260, Kolbeinstöðum, Hnappadal, [m. Þóra], d. July 3, 1332), son of
  21. Narfi Snorrason ({also here} b. ~1208, Skarð, Dala [m. Valgerður Ketilsdóttir], d. 1284, Kolbeinstöðum, Hnappadal), son of
  22. Snorri Narfason ({a.k.a. Snorri "Skarðs-Snorri" Narfason} b. ~1175, [m. Sæunn Jónsdóttir], d. July 13,.1260), son of
  23. Narfi Snorrason ({also here} b. ~1135, [m. Guðrún Þórðardóttir], d. 1202), son of
  24. Snorri Húnbogason ( b. ~1110, [m. Ingveldur Atladóttir], d. 1170), son of
  25. Húnbogi Þorgilsson (b.~1080, [m. Ingveldur Hauksdóttir]), son of
  26. Þorgils Gellisson ({also here} b. ~1050, [m. Jóreiður Hallsdóttir]), son of
  27. Gellir Þorkelsson (b. ~1020, [m.Valgerður Þorgilsdóttir]), son of
  28. Þorkell Eyjólfsson ({also here} b. 979, [m. Guðrún Ósvífursdóttir], d. 1026), son of
  29. Eyjólfur "grái" Þórðarson (b. ~960), son of
  30. Þórður "gellir" Ólafsson (b. ~930, [m. Hróðný Skeggjadóttir], d. 965), son of
  31. Ólafur "feilan" Þorsteinsson (b. ~870 Hvammi, Dala, Iceland , [m. Álfdís Konálsdóttir], d. ~911), son of
  32. Þorsteinn "rauði" Ólafsson (aka Thorstein "The Red" Olafsson, b. ~852 Dublin, Ireland, died 888 Hvammi, Dala, Iceland, [m. Þuríður Eyvindardóttir, a.k.a. Thurid Eyvindsdatter ]), son of
    {Thorstein the Red and the generations around this are to be found in Eirik the Red's Saga}.
  33. Auður djúpúðga Ketilsdóttir (a.k.a. Aud (Unn) "The Deep Minded" Ketilsdóttir/Ketilsdatter, Queen of Dublin {also here}, b. ~834, Raumsdal, Telemark, Norway , m. ~857, Dublin, Ireland [Ólafur hvíti Ingjaldsson, aka Olof "Hviti" = "The White" Ingjaldsson of Dublin, King of Ireland 840-871, d. 900, Hvammi, Dala, Iceland {also here and here, as you'll see in a minute you can trace Olof the White back to previous kings of Ireland and Jutland, to the Kings of Sweden, all the way back to Yngvi, King of the Swedes, b. ~193 {see google for many geneological links to Yngvi}, giving another branch as far back as the one shown here. Yngvi and his descendants appear in Ynglinga Saga, and on the legendary side, can be found in Beowulf]}
    {Aud the Deep-Minded appears in Grettir's Saga as well as Eirik the Red's Saga and Laxdaela Saga. She is mentioned as one of Iceland's first Christans in a couple of few places. She also appears in the book "Outrageous Women of the Middle Ages"}

    Both Aud the Deep Minded and Olof the White have long, well-recorded linages. If we continue with Aud, she's the daughter of
  34. Ketill Bjarnarson (a.k.a. Ketill "Flatnefur" "Flatnose" Bjornsson, Lord of the Hebrides, {also here} b.~810 Raumsdal, Telemark, Norway, m.~849 [Ingveldur Ketilsdóttir/Ketilsdatter - second wife]), d. ~880 Scotland), son of
    {Conquered the Shetlands and the Orkneys. Ketill flatnose and his descendants are the subject of Laxdaela Saga}
  35. Björn (buna - "the Ungartered") Grímsson ({aka Bjarni "Buna" Veðra-Grimsson, also here and here} Hersir(*1) í Noregi, b. ~770 Sogn og Fjordane, Norway, m.~800 [Velaug Vikingsdóttir]), son of
  36. Grímur hersir (*1) í Sogni {also here and here - a.k.a. Veðra-Grímur (Grim) Hjaldursson, hersir úr Sogni or Jarl (Earl) of Sogni} (, b. ~740 Sogn Og Fjordane, Norway, m.[Herware Thorgerdessdóttir/Thorgerdessdatter] ~769, d. ~790), son of

    Once you get way back here, you can trace forward to lots of interesting individuals (which is pretty much inevitable given the shape of a tree...)


  1. Hjaldur Vaatnarsson (aka Petty King of Svithjod {also here} b. ~720 Sogn Og Fjordane, [m. Hervör Helgadóttir, aka: Princess of Svithjod] Norway, d. 765), son of
  2. Vatnarr Vikarsson (Prince of Rogaland {also here} b. ~665, Norway, d. Bergen, Norway), son of
  3. Vikarr Alreksson ({also here} b. ~618, Norway), son of
  4. Alrek Eiriksson (King of Hordaland {also here} b. ~580, Hordaland, Norway, [m.Geirhild Driftsdóttir/Driftsdattir]), son of
  5. Eirik (Fraekni) Skjoldsson (b ~544, Norway) son of
  6. Skjold Skelfisson (b. 516, Norway), son of
  7. Skelfi Halfdansson (b. ~480, Ringerike, Buskerud, Norway), son of
  8. Halfdan "the Old" Hringsson ({also here} King in Ringerik, b.~450, Ringerike, Norway [m. Almveigu Eymundsdóttir/Eymundsdatter, daughter of King Eymund in Holmgard]{Holmgarth, Novgorod, Russia}), son of
  9. Hring Raumsson (King in Ringerike, b. ~406, Ringerike, Norway, m. ~449, [Vifilsdottir/Vifilsdótter] Ringerike, Norway), son of
  10. Raum "the Old" Norsson (b. ~370 Ogdum, Raumsdal, Norway, m. ~391, [Hildúr Guðraudsdottir/Gudraudsdattir] Ringerike, Buskerud, Norway), son of
  11. Gorr Thorrason (also here} a.k.a. King Nor Thorasson in Alfheim, b. ~345, Raumsdal, Norway), son of
  12. Thorri Snaersson ( King in Kvenland, b. ~ 320 at: Raumsdal, Telemark, Norway, m. ~344 Raumsdal, Telemark, Norway), son of
  13. Snaer (Svaer) Jokulsson (King in Kvenland, a.k.a. Snø den Gamle = Snae the Old, b. ~275, Finland, m. ~301 Raumsdal, Telemark, Norway ), son of
  14. Jokull Frostasson ({also here} b. ~240, Finland, m. ~274, Finland), son of
    {here is another geneology of the Kings of Kvenland, that shows the line from Jokull downward (i.e. the lineage above) separating from that of William the Conquerer and the other Dukes of Normandy, via Jokull's other son}
  15. Frosti Karasson (a.k.a. King Frosti Karasson in Kvenland, {also here} b. ~210, Finland, m. ~239, Finland), son of
  16. Kari Fornjottsson (a.k.a. King Kari Fornjotsson in Kvenland {also here}b. ~185, Finland, m.~209, Finland), son of
  17. Fornjotur, ( a.k.a. King Fornjot in Kvenland, {also here} b, ~160, Finland).
    { These latter 3 generations are the Kings Fornjot, Kari, and Frosti from Orkneyingers' Saga. The other branch will get Mythological, but note afterward that this one does as well - Fornjot's sons were all primal elements, Kari being the Wind. Frosti is Frost, Jokull an Icecap/Glacier, and Snaer, Snow. What's being dealt with here are kings being ascribed Godly powers long after their existence, part of the exaggeration that occurs by passing things on orally...}

That's the line from Aud back as far as recorded information allows (geneologically, anyway - there's plenty mythologically, which I'll add here at some point. For now, look up Fornjot/Fornjotur in a good book of Norse or Teutonic Mythology if you're interested).

If we follow Olof the White instead, he is the son of:

  1. Ingjald "the White" Helgasson, (Petty King of Ireland {also here} b. ~820 , Dublin, Ireland, m. ~839, Dublin, Ireland), son of
  2. Helgi Olafsson of Jutland, b. ~802, Dublin, Ireland, m. ~819 [Thora Sigurdsdatter/Sigurdsdottir, daughter of Heluna (Bleja) Princess in England ] ), son of
  3. Olav Gudrødsson (King of Jutland and Vestfold, a.k.a. King Olaf Gudrødsson of Jutland, a.k.a. Geirstadalv; Olaf Gerstead-Alf Gudrodsson, King of Norway {also here} b. ~797 (???), Vestfold, Norway, d. ~840, brother of Halfdan "the Black" Gudrødsson, who was the father of King Harald Fairhair of Norway), son of
  4. Gudrød "Jagtkonge" Halfdansson (King of Vesfold, a.k.a. Gudrød den storlåtne Veidekonge or Gudrød "the proud" or "the hunting king", b. ~780(?), Holtum, Vestfold, Norway, [m. Alfhild Alfarinsdatter a.k.a. Alvhild or Alfhildr Alfarinsdottir ], d. ~821), son of
  5. Halvdan Øysteinsson den Gavmilde (King of Vestfold, a.k.a. Halfdan "the Meek" Eysteinsson , Halvtan den gjevmilde og matille, den milde (b. ~750, [m. Hlif Dagsdatter aka Liv Dagsdotter] Holtum, Vestfold, Norway, d. after 780, Holtan i Vestfold), son of
  6. Øystein Halvdansson (King of Romerike and Vestfold, a.k.a. King Eysteinn "Fret" Halfdansson, b. ~736, Vestfold, Norway [m. Hild Eirikdatter), son of
  7. Halvdan Olavsson Kvitbein (King of Østlandet /Uppsala, a.k.a.Halfdan "Hvitbein" Olafsson, b. ~704, Romerike, Buskerud, Norway, [m. Åsa Eysteinsdatter a.k.a. Åsa Øysteinsdatter]), son of
  8. Olaf "the Wood Cutter" Ingjaldsson (King of Värmland, a.k.a. King Olav Tretelja {also here}, b. ~682, Varmland, Sweden, [m. Solveig Halfdansdotter a.k.a. Solva]), son of
  9. Ingjald Illråde Omundsson (a.k.a. King Ingjald Braut-Omundsson "The Cunning", a.k.a. Onundsson, b. ~660, Uppsala, Sweden, m.[Gauthild Algautesdotter], died Räning, Tosterön i Mälaren), son of
  10. Ånund "Braut" Yngvarson (a.k.a. King Onund "Braut" Ingvarsson, a.k.a. Braut-Anund, Braut-Ånund, b. ~638, Sweden, d. Himmelhei, Sweden), son of
  11. Yngvar Øysteinson {a.k.a. King Ingvar "The Tall" Eysteinsson {also here}, b. ~616, Sweden, d. Estland), son of
  12. Øystein Adilsson (a.k.a. King Eystein Adilsson, b. ~ 594, Sweden, d. Landsberga, Sweden), son of
  13. Adils "Athils" Ottarsson ({also here}, b. ~572, Sweden [m.Yrsa Helgesdatter Leire ], d. Uppsala, Sweden), son of
  14. Ottar Egilson Vendelkråke (a.k.a King Ottar "Vendilkraka" Egilsson (b. ~557, Sweden, d. Vendsyssel), son of
  15. Egil Aunsson ({also here}, b. ~530, Uppsala, Sweden, d. Uppsala, Sweden), son of
  16. Aun Jorundsson den gamle (King in Uppsala, a.k.a. King Aun "the Aged" "Ani" Jorundsson, b. ~509, Uppsala, Sweden, d, Uppsala, Sweden), son of
  17. Jørund Yngveson (a.k.a. King Jorund Yngvasson ({also here}, b. ~487, Sweden, d. Oddesund ved Limfjorden, Danmark), son of
  18. Yngve Alreksson (a.k.a. King Yngvi Alreksson In Sweden, b. ~466, Sweden), son of
  19. Alrek Agneson ({a.k.a. King Alrek Agnarsson}, b. ~455, Sweden, [m. Dagreid (Dageith) Dagsdotter]), son of
  20. Agne Dagsson (a.k.a. King Agni Dagsson In Sweden, b. ~424, Sweden, [m. Skjalf Frostdotter, a.k.a. Skialf Frostasjan], d. Stockholm, Sweden), son of
  21. Dag Dyggveson (a.k.a. Dag Dyggvasson, b. ~403, Sweden, d. Gotland, Sweden), son of
  22. Dygve Domarson (a.k.a. King Dyggvi Domarsson in Sweden, a.k.a. Dyggvis, b. ~382, Sweden), son of
  23. Domar Domaldeson (a.k.a. Domar Domaldsson}, b. 361, Sweden [m. Drott Danpsdotter] ), son of
  24. Domalde Vanlandassanl (a.k.a. King Domaldi Visbursson, b. ~340, Sweden), son of
  25. Visbur Vanlandasson, (a.k.a. King Visbur, b. ~319, Sweden), son of
  26. Vanlande Svegdassal (a.k.a. King Vanlandi Svegdasson}, b. ~298, Sweden, [m. Driva Snaersdotter/Prinsesse Driva Snaersdatter]), son of
    {Here we have some overlap - Driva Snaersdatter is the daughter of Snaer (Svaer) Jokulsson, #49 from the previous (Aud the Deep Minded's) line}
  27. Sveigde Fjolnfarssen (a.k.a. Svegdi Fjolnarsson, a.k.a. Svegdir, b. ~277, Uppsala, Sweden), son of
  28. Fjolnir Yngvi-Freysson, (a.k.a. Fjolner, Fjolne}, b. 256, Uppsala, Sweden, d. Lejre), son of
  29. Yngvi-Frey, (King of Sweden, a.k.a. Frøy Vane, b. ~235, Uppsala, Sweden, [m. Gerd Gymersdotter, a.k.a. Gerd Gymersdatter Jote]), son of
  30. Njord på Noatun (King of Sweden, a.k.a. Njord, a.k.a. Vane, b. ~214, Noatun, Sweden, [m. Skade, a.k.a. Frea, Skade Tjatsesdatter Jote), son of
  31. Yngvi (a.k.a. King Yngvi of the Swedes, b.~193, Noatun, Sweden
    {Yngvi and his descendants appear in Ynglinga Saga, and Yngvi is also in Snorri Sturluson's Prose Edda (see Prologue)}

    Now in the Prose Edda, we can go further, but without dates. Yngvi is the son of
  32. Odin (B. Turkland, now Turkey)
    {That Odin. From this point there's both a historical chain and the mythical personages that go along with them. Odin had five children that he sent to be kings in various places. The others, Skiold, Saeming, Siggi, Veggdegg, and Baldr were similarly installed to rule (respectively) Denmark, Norway, France, East Saxony and Westphalia. Yngvi was to be King of Sweden following Odin. A "family tree" of this (certainly non-traditional) immediate family can be seen here. The Prose Edda describes Odin leaving Turkland generations after the fall of Troy and travelling north to Saxland (Saxony). According to the Prose Edda, the following previous generations lived in and around Turkland.}
    Odin was the son of
  33. Vóden, the son of
  34. Fríallaf (also called Fridleifr), the son of
  35. Finn, the son of
  36. Gudólfr, the son of
  37. Ját, the son of
  38. Bjáf (alsocalled Bjárr), the son of
  39. Skjaldun (also calledl Skjöld), the son of
  40. Heremód, the son of
  41. Ítermann, the son of
  42. Athra (also called Annarr), the son of
  43. Bedvig, the son of
  44. Seskef, the son of
  45. Magi. the son of
  46. Móda, the son of
  47. Vingener, the son of
  48. Vingethor, the son of
  49. Einridi, the son of
  50. Lóridi (who resembled his father), the son of
  51. Trór, also called Thor {King of Thrace, m. [Sibil, a.k.a. Sif]}, son of
    {That Thor. In the Prose Edda, it is said that "He was fostered in Thrace by a certain war-duke called Lóríkus; but when he was ten winters old he took unto him the weapons of his father. He was as goodly to look upon, when he came among other men, as the ivory that is inlaid in oak; his hair was fairer than gold. When he was twelve winters old he had his full measure of strength; then he lifted clear of the earth ten bear-skins all at one time; and then he slew Duke Lóríkus, his foster-father, and with him his wife Lórá, or Glórá, and took into his own hands the realm of Thrace, which we call Thrúdheim. Then he went forth far and wide over the lands, and sought out every quarter of the earth, overcoming alone all berserks and giants, and one dragon, greatest of all dragons, and many beasts. In the northern half of his kingdom he found the prophetess that is called Síbil, whom we call Sif, and wedded her. The lineage of Sif I cannot tell; she was fairest of all women, and her hair was like gold."}
  52. Múnón (a.k.a. Mennón, one of the twelve Kings of Turkland, m. Tróán). Tróán was the daughter of
  53. Priam (High King of Troy, m. [Hecuba], d. ~1183BC), son of
    {arguably the most famous war-loser in history. Much to be learned from the Iliad}
  54. Laomedon (High King of Troy, m. [Strymo]), son of
  55. Ilus (aka Ilos, King of Troy, m. [Eurydice]), son of
    {Ilus is important in that he is also the father of Themiste, the mother of Anchises (See Iliad), who was in turn the father of Aeneus (whose mother was Aphrodite). Aneas and Aphrodite's line led to the Julians in Rome (as well as to Romulus and Remus) and ultimately to Julius Caesar, so this is the common ancestor between the two of us (the closest common known to me at any rate). A connection to Caesar is cool even if the family was essentially on the side of the Barbarians much of the rest of the time from a Roman point of view!}
  56. Tros (King of Troy), son of
  57. Erichthonius (King of Dardania, m. [Astyoche]), son of
  58. Dardanus (King of Dardania m. [Eetion, a.k.a. Iasion]), son of
  59. Zeus (w. Elektra).
    {And clearly we've left the realm of reality. May of the earlier items (Odin, Thor, etc., are believeably notable Kings that had Godlike mythological attributes ascribed to them in far later years, but there's just no getting around Zeus. If you want to take it one generation further though, just for the heck of it, Zeus is the son of Cronus.}

Notes

*1 Hersir - a difficult to translate occupational term.

In William Morris & Eirikr Magnusson's translation of Eyrbyggja Saga, the term is endnoted as follows:

"HERSIR" we have left untranslated because we know no English term whereby to render it properly. That it is derived from "herr", a collective noun meaning multitude of people, cannot be doubted. The termination "-sir" is indicative of the agent, and here would originally point to the agent as ruler, commander, gatherer together. In support of this is the word "hersing", a collected multitude, crowd. In time the hersir became not only ruler of men, but a lord of the territory within which his herr had its habitation, which territory was called "herath", and only in the capacity of such a territorial lord the historical hersir is known. Before the days of Harold Hairfair he appears to have been an independent kinglet or tribal chief, who in his person with the secular sway over his people combined the sacerdotal office of pontifex maximus. After Hairfair's day the hersir was reduced to a royal liegeman, and between him and the king there was set up a new dignity, that of the earl, to whom jurisdiction over so and so many hersar was assigned. The Icelandic "Gothi" was another form of the hersir of Norway, but the title hersir could not be used, because in Iceland "herath" as a lordship with definite boundaries never existed; there it merely signified country-side, district. Thus, while in Norway the title of hersir pointed especially to the secular character of the ruler of men in a defined herath, in Iceland the title of Gothi indicated in particular such a person's sacerdotal quality.

2. A Dictionary of Old Icelandic can be helpful in all this.