In 2003, shortly after retiring, Russ and his wife, Gwen, began a journey together searching for Gwen’s father’s Icelandic roots. Einar Axel (Archie) Bergson was born in 1900 at Höfði, a house at the east end of the village of Vopnafjörður in beautiful East Iceland. Archie immigrated to Canada in 1905 with his parents, two brothers and two sisters. Besides spending a lot of time at the Provincial Archives and the Family History Centre, Gwen and Russ’ genealogy explorations led them to Saskatchewan, British Columbia, Vancouver Island, Washington State, North Dakota, Denmark, and Iceland. Along the way, they made many long-lasting friends, met cousins they didn’t know they had, and were even able to experience that humble feeling of standing on the spot overlooking Vopnafjörður Harbor where Höfði once stood.
Gwen and Russ gratefully acknowledge the expert assistance of fellow Icelandic Roots volunteers Cathy Josephson, George Freeman, and Hálfdan Helgason, without whom the journey would have been much more difficult. In discovering Archie’s roots, Gwen and Russ gained valuable knowledge and experience to offer assistance to others beginning their own journeys in discovering their Icelandic roots. Gwen continues to assist Icelandic Roots with her good detective skills and working with the genealogists who are entering information into the IR Database.