Morgunbla­i­ Article 


This article was brought in the Icelandic newspaper Morgunbla­i­ on November 23rd 2001.

Below is the translation into English.



TRANSLATION FROM Morgunbla­i­ Newspaper, FRIDAY NOVEMBER 23, 2001.

translated by Thorunn Kjer˙lf Ivey (TCK-pg-69) and her daughter Eleanor Kjerulf Ivey


The Kjerulf Family, which has established roots all over the world, will come together at a family reunion in Iceland summer 2002. Sveinn Gu­jˇnsson found out about the origin of the family and spoke with two Icelandic Kjerulfs descendants about the reunion and the family relationships.  

KjŠrulff is the Danish name of a great family which is scattered over many countries, and a branch of that tree can also be found here in Iceland where the spelling of the family name has, however, been changed to Kjer˙lf to correspond with Icelandic pronunciation of the Danish Š. We are talking about a strong stock, and KjŠr˙lfs all over the world are proud of their origin; therefore, they meet regularly at international family reunions, and the next one will be here in this country the summer of 2002.  

The KjŠr˙lf family reunions are called "Kiermeet" in English, but their instigator is Cap Kierulff who lives in California. That is where the first reunion was held in 1986; since then the KjŠr˙lfs have met every four years in those countries where KjŠr˙lfs are found. In 1990 the reunion was held in Denmark, 1994 in the Virgin Islands in the Caribbean Sea, 1998 in Norway & Denmark, 2002 in Iceland, and in 2006 the plan is to hold it in the Philippine Islands where KjŠr˙lfs can also be found.  


The forefather was a German general.

The story says that the KjŠr˙lf family is descended from a German general from Schleswig-Holstein named Anders Ulff. He entered the picture at the beginning of the 15th century when he proceeded with a great army north towards Jutland and conquered a region south of Limafjord called "Kjaer herred", a short distance from Aalborg. Eric of Pomerania, who at the time bore the title of king under the Kalmar Union, did not feel equal to attacking the German general; but in order to be able to collect taxes from the region, he knighted Anders Ulff. It is therefore no lie when one maintains that the KjŠr˙lfs descend from nobility, but they also have their coat of arms in accordance with old custom of nobility. The coat of arms shows a charging wolf, and the KjŠr˙lfs carried it on their weapons, uniforms and insignia. When we reach the 17th and 18th centuries the KjŠr˙lfs no longer carried a noble title, and most of the ones

who are mentioned in annals were preachers, soldiers, lawyers or farmers.

That branch of the KjŠr˙lf family which took root in Iceland comes from Norholm in Denmark and started with J÷rgen KjŠrulff who for the most of his life was doctor at Brekka in Fljˇtsdale, but he entered this world September 27th 1793 in Copenhagen and died December 11th 1831 at Brekka. J÷rgen married Arnbj÷rg Bjarnadaughter the fall of 1819, but she was born August 8th 1781 at Illugaplace in Laxßrdale, died March 27th 1873 at Skri­uklaustur.  

According to S÷lvi Kjer˙lf EirÝksson, who has taken interest in the family history, two of the four children of J÷rgen and Arnbj÷rg had offspring here in this country, but they were AndrÚs Kjer˙lf at Melum and Jˇhanna Kjer˙lf at Skri­uklaustur. "From them is descended the Icelandic Kjer˙lf family but the family name is not the only sign of relationship," S÷lvi said. It is both that the name disappeared with a female line according to old custom and also it obviously happened that descendants in the male line were not interested in using the name. It would certainly be a worthy task to put together the genealogy of J÷rgen and Arnbj÷rg, but that is probably a big job because the Kjer˙lfs are extremely prolific. 

S÷lvi also said that in 1918 the book "KjŠrulfske Studier" was published in Aalborg wherein the family is discussed and wherein among other things it appears that the Kjer˙lfs are scattered all over the world: On the Polish plains, in Spanish monasteries, in the United States of America and other places. And, as strange as it may seem, they can also be found in the Philippines; but mostly though in the Nordic countries. The Kjer˙lf name is spelled 17 different ways in the book, and that can be traced to the fact that the Danish Š does not exist in all languages, and also it has been adjusted according to the pronunciation in each country, as is the case in this country. S÷lvi said that it is now known exactly when KjŠrulff changed to Kjer˙lf as it was handled by the Icelandic tongue. "In the book it is also said that if it is possible to talk about a common characteristic of the Kjer˙lfs, it is foremost that we tend to accept where we are each time and that we want to be taken seriously. Some say that we are tough and extremely stubborn and I tend to agree that that could be right," S÷lvi said.


Like old fairy tales

The foremother, Arnbj÷rg Bjarnadaughter, was daughter of KristÝn Gu­laugsdaughter, maid at Illugaplace, but she declared Bjarni Jˇnsson, farmer at Skßlßrhnj˙ki, father of the child. Arnbj÷rg became a fosterchild of a Danish couple at H÷f­atown at Skagast÷nd and stayed there up to confirmation age.

Then she went to work for another Danish couple at H÷f­atown, then for Jakob N. Hafstein at Hofsˇs and from there she went to the Hemmert-couple at Akureyri. Arnbj÷rg, thus, mastered Danish while she was growing up, which was to come in handy. Arnbj÷rg married Sigur­ur Jakobsson, but he drowned in GrÝmseyjar-Channel 1818. They had then had a son named Kristjßn FrÝmann. At the time Seheel and Frisak were surveying Eastern Iceland. They had been at Akureyri, and Arnbj÷rg became their housekeeper the summer of 1819, and no doubt the fact that she spoke Danish so well played a part. This same year Dr. J÷rgen KjŠrulff was appointed doctor for Iceland┤s eastern quarter. He first settled at Eskifj÷r­ur and in the summer he visited Vopnafj÷r­ur and met the surveyors, his countrymen, and then got to know their housekeeper. Arnbj÷rg had a contract with them until the fall, but on the other hand Dr. KjŠrulff was not married and needed a housekeeper. Arnbj÷rg went to him in the fall and they were married October 26th 1820. The next spring they moved to the doctorĺs residence at Brekka in Fljˇtsdale, lived there 11 years and had four children: AndrÚs Hermann Kjer˙lf 1821, Dˇrothea LovÝsa Kjer˙lf 1822, Jˇhanna SigrÝ­ur Kjer˙lf 1826 and Kristjßn J÷rgen Kjer˙lf 1832. Dr. KjŠrulff died in the latter part of 1831 and Arnbj÷rg was then a widow the second time, with three children and the fourth on the way, but Kristjßn FrÝmann from the first marriage had reached maturity.

In the compilation of Droplaug J. Kjer˙lf from Vallholt about the life of her foremother, which has been used here as a source, it is said for instance: ôArnbj÷rg Bjarnadaughter Kjer˙lf was successful, had a dignified appearance and outstanding personality, quite impressive. Her story resembles the old fairy tales. At birth the maiden does not get her rightful place in her fatherĺs house and is therefore taken into foster by unrelated people. A succession of events and varied experiences carry her forward to maturity and respect. And the neglected maiden becomes the foremother of a great familyline in a distant region.ö

Turning point in relations in the family

S÷lvi Kjer˙lf EirÝksson, who lives in ReykjavÝk, was responsible with others for a Kjer˙lf family reunion that was held in Iceland 1992. At that time there were no real connections between Icelandic Kjer˙lfs and their relations abroad. "In continuation of this reunion, my son, Sigur­ur, got very interested in learning the history of the family and family relationships, and with computer technology he got in touch with Cap Kierulff in California, who headed the first international family reunion called "Kiermeet". A webpage has been designed on the "net" where one can find various facts about the family, but the address is "". ôRelations between Icelandic Kjer˙lfs and our relatives abroad have developed in the last few years and it will be fun to meet these people next summer," S÷lvi said.  


Vilborg Kjer˙lf at Neskaupssta­ur, who is one of the links to the foreign Kjer˙lfs in connection with the planned reunion here in this country, agreed. As far as she knows no Icelandic Kjer˙lf has attended the KierMeet reunions up to now and, therefore, the meet here in this country next summer will be a turning point as far as connections between Icelandic Kjer˙lfs and foreign ones are concerned. "The Iceland trip for these people is in the planning stages, but they will arrive in this country at the beginning of July and the plans call for sightseeing trips to the Southwest and South of Iceland and one day will be spent at Egilssta­ir and the Kjer˙lf areas at HÚra­ will be visited. Finally there will be a banquet at Valaskjßlf in the evening. Following that we will continue south, and the last evening there will be a farewell banquet at Naust restaurant. I think that most of the relatives here at home are very excited about meeting these people and I am sure that it is mutual," Vilborg said.  


For fun it may be mentioned that Vilborg is daughter of Jˇn Gu­mundsson Kjer˙lf, farmer at Hafursß and later Price Control Official at Rey­arfj÷r­ur. He was son of Gu­mundur AndrÚsson Kjer˙lf, farmer at Hafursß, and his father, AndrÚs, farmer at Melum in Fljˇtsdale, was son of Dr. J÷rgen KjŠrulff and Arnbj÷rg Bjarnadaughter.

S÷lvi comes from the same branch, his great-great-grandfather was also AndrÚs farmer at Melum, but S÷lvi┤s great-grandfather was EirÝkur Kjer˙lf, farmer at Ormarsplace in Fellum, who lived there with his brother Dr. Ůorvar­ur (Kjerulf). S÷lviĺs grandfather was J÷rgen Kjer˙lf at H˙sum in Fljˇtsdale and S÷lvi┤s father was EirÝkur Kjer˙lf, formerly farmer at H˙sum,  but he moved to ReykjavÝk during the war years.   (WWII?)  


Captions under pictures in the Original Icelandic Article:

A few of the participants in Norway 1998. Below is the coat of arms of Andreas Christian Kjerulff which hangs in Fredericksborg Castle in Hilleroed, Denmark.


The farm ôFogedgaardö in Jutland where the forefather Anders Ulff settled shortly after 1400.


Kiermeet 1998. From left: Fin Kierulff, Hans Kierulff-Hansen, Mogens KjŠrulff, Ray KjŠrulff and Cap Kierulff, but he is the instigator of the Kiermeet family reunions.


With the help of computer technology Sigur­ur Kjer˙lf S÷lvason got in contact with Cap Kierulff in  California, but he is the instigator of international  family reunions of the Kjerulfs. Here is Sigur­ur with his father, S÷lvi Kjer˙lf EirÝksson, studying the webpage for the family on the internet.



Halfdan Kjerulf (1815-1868), Norwegian composer. In annals and encyclopedias he is considered one of influential people on Norwegian national culture in the 19th century. A statue of him has been erected at a square in Oslo which bears his name, ôHalfdan Kjerulfs Plassö.


Otto Richard Kierulff (1825-1897), Prime Minister of Norway 1871-1884. He lived in Stockholm during the period when Norway and Sweden were under one government. His picture appears on a coin from that time.


Theodor Kjerulf (1825-1888), Norwegian geologist. ôKjerulf-Glacierö on the island of South Georgia at the South Pole was named for him. His picture was printed on a Norwegian stamp in 1974 in honour of his scientific research on behalf of geology.


Helge KjŠrulff-Schmidt (1906-1982), Danish actor and entertainer. He was very popular in Denmark as a comedy actor, but he also played classical roles at the Royal Theater in Copenhagen.


In addition, two nationally known Danish songwriters may be mentioned. Willy Kierulff (1900-1944) and Axel Kjerulf (1884-1964), but these two wrote popular songs and music of lighter nature which were popular in Denmark.


For fun it may also be mentioned that Skipper Klement (1484-1536) grandson of the forefather Anders Ulff (his daughterĺs son) was a legendary person in Jutland as a rebel and leader of the peopleĺs army in their uprising against the Crown. There is a statue of him in Aalborg, Jutland, not far from ôFogedgaardö

where the forefather, Anders, settled shortly after 1400.