National Records of Scotland

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Sveinbjörn Sveinbjörnsson (1847-1927)

Sveinbjörn Sveinbjörnsson (1847-1927)

Composer

Sveinbjörn Sveinbjörnsson was born in Iceland on 28 June 1847. He studied music in Copenhagen and Leipzig before moving to Edinburgh. His most famous composition, 'Hymn' ('Lofsongur') or 'O God of our Land', was later adopted as Iceland's national anthem. A bronze plaque outside 15 London Street in Edinburgh commemorates its composition 'by composer Sveinbjorn Sveinbjornsson and poet Matthias Jochumsson in this house in 1874'. He died in Copenhagen on 23 February 1927.

1871 census

In 1871 Sv. Sveinbjornsson, 24, teacher of music was enumerated as a lodger at 13 Elm Row. The census return for the parish of St Andrew in Edinburgh gives his place of birth as Iceland. Two of the other lodgers were born in Denmark.

1871 census return for Sveinbjorn Sveinbjornsson

1871 census return for Sveinbjorn Sveinbjornsson (42 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, 1871/685-2/22, page 2 

Marriage in 1890

Sveinbjorn Sveinbjornsson, 42, teacher of music, married Eleanor Christie on 23 April 1890. The entry in the statutory register of marriages for the parish of Weem in the county of Perth records that the couple married after banns according to the forms of the Scottish Episcopal Church and that his usual residence was 27 Dundas Street, Edinburgh. His father, Thord, had been a judge at the Supreme Court in Iceland and his mother was Kirstin Knudsen. The annotation in the left margin refers to the clerical error in column one where second has been corrected to third.

Marriage entry for Sveinbjörn Sveinbjörnsson

Marriage entry for Sveinbjörn Sveinbjörnsson (60 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, 1890/398/1

1891 census

In 1891 Mr Sveinbjornsson, 43, teacher of music was enumerated at 15 Dick Place, with his wife and son, Thordur, who was only four days old. The census return for the district of Newington in Edinburgh shows that he was working on his own account and gives his place of birth as Reykjavik, Iceland. The house had eight rooms with one or more windows and the household included his mother-in-law, a visitor and a general servant.

1891 census return for Sveinbjörn Sveinbjörnsson

1891 census return for Sveinbjörn Sveinbjörnsson (30 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, 1891/685-5/99, page 3

1895 valuation roll

In 1895 Sveinbjorn Sveinbjornsson, teacher of music, was proprietor and occupier of the house at 46 Dick Place in the burgh of Edinburgh as shown on the last line of this extract from the valuation roll page.

1895 valuation roll for Svienbjorn Sveinbjornsson

1895 valuation roll for Svienbjorn Sveinbjornsson (25 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, VR100/174, page 332

1901 census

In 1901 Sveinbjorn Sveinbjornsson, 53, teacher of pianoforte and composer was enumerated at 46 Dick Place, with his wife and two children, Thordur and Helen. The census return for the district of Newington in Edinburgh shows that he was working on his own account. The house had nine rooms with one or more windows and the household included a general servant.

1901 census return for Sveinbjorn Sveinbjornsson

1901 census return for Sveinbjörn Sveinbjörnsson (29 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, 1901/685-5/94, page 10

1905 valuation roll

In 1905 Sveinbjorn Sveinbjornsson, teacher of music, was proprietor and owner of the house at 63 Comiston Drive in the burgh of Edinburgh as shown in the last line of this extract from the valuation roll page. 

1905 valuation roll for Svienbjorn Sveinbjornsson

1905 valuation roll for Svienbjorn Sveinbjornsson (24 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, VR100/233, page 342