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Sunna Furstenau with Hálfdan Helgason

How did the database begin?

The Icelandic Roots database as we know it today began several decades ago with Icelandic genealogist Hálfdan Helgason. His goal was to compile the best Icelandic genealogy database available and with his tremendous work, he created a site that contained over 500,000 names and genealogy information.


Hálfdan’s long-term goal was to develop an online site with a knowledge base for the benefit of both Icelanders and people of Icelandic heritage and their families worldwide. For over a decade, Sunna Olafson Furstenau worked with Hálfdan and George Freeman for the 'Cousins Across the Ocean' project and collaborated with Icelandic Genealogy.


In the summer of 2013, he transferred his information to Icelandic Roots - a qualified nonprofit 501c3 organization.


Since then more volunteers have joined us to add an average of 2,300 new people to the database every month as well as photos, documents, and so much more. For up to the minute numbers, check our "Cousins Counter" on our home page.

The IR Community and Database continue to grow and improve with so very much to offer both the public for free and for All-Access Members for a very small fee.

What will you find in the database?

Genealogical Information is just the start. You will also find:

  • Media including portraits, farms, letters, documents, and other media

  • Biographies and obituaries plus stories of our ancestors

  • Histories of Icelandic settlements and communities

  • Churches, cemeteries, clergy, and headstones

  • Emigration information, including ports, ships, and passenger manifests

  • Cross-references between Icelandic names and new names taken upon emigration to America and elsewhere

  • Reports on specialized topics such as Abandoned farms and Ancestors that drowned

  • MidwivesWomen and Children's Stories, Fjallkona

  • Military Service, and much more

  • A timeline of interesting events and reports of interesting people and places

  • Calculate your relationship to any of the people in the database - including people from the Sagas up to today

  • Expert help from trained, dedicated, and thorough genealogists

  • Special reports and a Timeline of events 

  • Saga Project:  Interactive Saga map for locations, connections to the people in the Sagas, links to read the sagas in English and Icelandic, and see more in the VIDEO HERE.

  • Accurate place names and GPS coordinates on an interactive map feature to find your ancestor's farms, churches, and cemeteries wherever they lived in the world.

  • Personalized for you includes a "My Page" and "My Cousins."

  • A powerful Relationship Calculator to show your relationship to ancestors and cousins

  • Information on clergy, midwives, military service, politics, and famous ancestors.

  • Stories of the Crossing, Parish records, and Longest lived

  • AKA - Also known as because many Icelandic immigrants changed their names

  • Community and Family Histories

  • So many special high-tech yet user-friendly features, you have to see it to believe it.

  • All this and our "pay it forward" mission, which your membership helps us to keep our shared story alive.

  • Information is updated and added every day


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