Elin de Ruyter
Elin de Ruyter is a genealogist on the Icelandic Roots team, specializing in the lives and stories of Icelandic midwives. Her interest in genealogy started at the age of seventeen when she found out her grandfather was adopted, and her specific interest in Icelandic midwives was sparked when she found out her own great-great-grandmother Guðrún Þórðardóttir became the first registered midwife for Súgandafjörður in the Westfjords of Iceland in 1880.
Elin was born in Reykjavik in 1983 and at the age of three emigrated first to New Zealand and two years later to Australia with her Icelandic parents and sisters. Maintaining her Icelandic culture and heritage was always important to her and her parents, who always spoke Icelandic to her as a child and upheld their Icelandic traditions. She has returned to Iceland three times since emigrating to reconnect with family and friends and most recently to explore her own family history in greater depth.
Searching through her family tree in 2016, Elin was pleasantly surprised when she discovered that her great-great-great grandfather Sigurður Bjarnason emigrated to Pembina, North Dakota in 1876 from Sveinatunga, Norðurdalshreppur, Iceland with his second wife and son. He left four daughters behind in Iceland, one being Elin’s great-great-grandmother, who likely never saw her father again.
Elin was lucky to get into contact with George Freeman from Icelandic Roots who was able to give her answers about her American emigrant ancestor and furthermore put her in touch with distant American cousins, who she still keeps in touch with today.
Elin lives in sunny Queensland, Australia with her husband and four young children. She is currently studying toward a certificate in Genealogical Studies online through the University of Toronto, Canada as well as splitting her time between writing historical timeline reports for a local Australian genealogical business called "Bygone Days" and writing her own family history stories on her blog: "On the Ancestral Trail."
Elin feels honoured to be a volunteer for Icelandic Roots.