top of page

Fond Memory of Our First Trip to Iceland

By Valdine (Scrymgeour) Hernes




My husband, Sigfred (I640085), and I (I639986) have visited Iceland four times. On our first trip in July of 1991, one amazing and unique experience stands out in my mind. My mother had had contact with a relative for some time and we were able to

meet him and his wife. His name was Jónas Kristjánsson (I113797) and his wife, Sigriður Kristjánsdóttir (I113809).



L-R: Sigriður Kristjánsdóttir, Valdine Hernes, and Jónas Kristjánsson
L-R: Sigriður Kristjánsdóttir, Valdine Hernes, and Jónas Kristjánsson

Jónas was a professor at the university in Reykjavik and, at that time, was one of two key keepers for the book vault at the university. On July 29, 1991, accompanied by the other key keeper, Jónas took us down to the book vault. The two keys were inserted, a huge handle was turned and a big heavy door swung open.


 Jónas Kristjánsson opening the book vault.
Jónas Kristjánsson opening the book vault.

Inside we saw many books and Jónas took two and placed them on a table. One was the oldest Nordic Bible and the second one was one of Snorri Sturluson's (I134368) books.


An early Nordic Bible stored in the vault
An early Nordic Bible stored in the vault

The Snorri Sturluson book viewed in the vault.
The Snorri Sturluson book viewed in the vault

Jónas opened that book and, after looking at it, he turned to me and told me that since he was a descendant of Snorri, so was I, and therefore, I was allowed to place a finger on one of the pages. So I did!


 Jónas examines an ancient tome in the rare book vault
Jónas examines an ancient tome in the rare book vault

Then Jónas told me that when Queen Elizabeth II was visiting Iceland the year before (June 25-27, 1990*), she had been shown the same books, but she had to wear gloves to touch the book as she was not a descendant. I got a good giggle hearing that! I did not think too much about the significance of this until years later when DNA was talked about so much.


Out of the blue, one day it hit me: MY DNA is in one of Snorri's books! Oh, my goodness!!!



Comments


Email us your questions or join the conversation on our Facebook Group.

bottom of page