Emmily grew up in a military family, living in Texas, Germany, and Hawaii before finally settling in Kansas. Her father is originally from North Dakota and has Icelandic and Norwegian ancestry, while her mother is of German and Alsatian descent.
At ten years old, while she was working on a school project, Emmily’s father showed her a copy of their Icelandic family tree. It dated back to the settlement age and included Viking chieftains and various kings, queens, and poets. She immediately wanted to know more about the people who came before her.
Emmily’s paternal great-grandparents emigrated from Iceland as young children with their parents and siblings in 1876 and 1879, landing first in Canada and then homesteading in Gardar, North Dakota. Over the last 30 years, Emmily has researched all branches of her family tree as far back as possible. Along the way, she has learned to navigate many different databases, read and decipher handwritten records in multiple languages, transcribe information, and discover forgotten information in old newspapers and books. One of the more rewarding aspects has been the many connections to cousins she has made in the process. She is also passionate about helping others research their family history.
Emmily graduated from Kansas State University with a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing. She and her husband Pietro have lived in and traveled to many different cities and countries with their four children and have also hosted high school exchange students from Italy, Iceland, Norway, and Spain. In 2019, they were fortunate to go to Iceland to visit their former exchange student and her family around Reykjavik. They look forward to another visit to Iceland in the near future.