Those interested in Icelandic genealogy research can find a lot of resources as a member of the ICCT. The Lending Library has some important books related to this topic (See also Icelanders in North America – A Bibliography, part of the Fiske Icelandic Collection at Cornell University). The Club also has members who have a lot of interest and expertise in this area. Occasionally, genealogy presentations are held, and through the ICCT, you may have the opportunity to meet experts from other areas of Canada and from Iceland.
Online Resources for Icelandic Genealogy Research
Those who wish to trace their Icelandic roots and connect with their Icelandic cousins both in Iceland and North America, should find the following links helpful:
- The Icelandic Emigration Center Hofsós, Iceland
- This Center in Iceland focusses on emigration from Iceland. There is information online about why the Icelanders emigrated, and a useful map of the main harbours of departure. View their website to learn more about the services offered by the Center.
- Emigration to North America from Iceland
- Histories and Facts on Emigration to North America from Iceland, maintained by Hálfdan Helgason. This site is a very good resource and well-organized collection of links to relevant sites.
- The Voyage to Gimli
- Most of those who survived the Kinmount experience went on to Gimli.
- Veterans of Icelandic Descent
- Searchable databases of Veterans of Icelandic Descent in World War I and World War II.
- This is the infamous genealogy database online of all Icelanders who have ever lived in Iceland. It was started by Friðrik Skúlason (FRISK Software International, creator of the F-Prot anti-virus software), and you can read an article about the database here.
Additional Online Resources:
- Immigration Records at Library and Archives Canada
- Cyndi’s List of Genealogy Sites: Iceland – A great portal to many other resources, Cyndi’s
- Iceland Genealogy Forum – You can try posting questions here if your search hits a wall
Icelandic Names & Naming Conventions
Iceland is alone in retaining the Norse patronymic naming convention. An Icelander’s given name is followed by his or her father’s name and the suffix -son or -dottir (daughter), e.g. Magnus Jonsson would be Magnus, son of Jon; his sister would be Gudrun Jonsdottir. So it follows that the phonebook in Iceland is sorted by first name.
It is the law in Iceland that babies born there have to be given a name from an approved list of names. The list is maintained by a “name committee” and can be viewed here. Icelandic is an inflected language, and even names are altered to indicate their grammatical role. Clicking on individual names in this list will show you how the name is written in various cases. Useful information if your genealogy search takes you to Icelandic documents with the names of your ancestors in them!
The list is also available here, where the list is broken down into male (Drengir) and female (Stúlkur) names.
- Learn More about Icelandic names, tiny Icelandic/English Genealogical dictionary, and other useful tools – from Halfdan Helgason’s website
- Icelandic Place Names
- Simaskra – Icelandic Telephone Book online
Connecting with your Icelandic Cousins
Once you have discovered that you have Icelandic cousins, one way to connect with them is to join and become involved with your local Icelandic club.
You can also attend the annual Icelandic festival held every summer in Gimli, Manitoba, Islendingadagurinn, or apply to the Snorri program (for young people of Icelandic origin living in North America to discover the country and culture of their ancestors and to strengthen the bonds with relatives living in Iceland ⋅⋅⋅ There are also Snorri 35+ and Snorri West programs)