William "Willie" Engelson
North Carolina, USA
Willie joined Icelandic Roots to help flesh out the database with information about the Icelandic residents of Washington Island, Wisconsin.
Born in Hillsdale, Michigan in 1941, Willie made his first trip to Washington Island later that year. Willie’s Icelandic ancestors emigrated from the Vestur-Skaftafellssýsla area in 1887. They settled on Washington Island, where his dad and maternal grandmother were also born.
Willie is a self-trained genealogist, having spent the past 50 years documenting his family’s Icelandic and Norwegian ancestry back to the 8th century and beyond. Willie has made several visits to Norway and Iceland and is in constant contact with cousins in both countries.
When his father returned from WWII, Willie moved to Washington Island, staying until 1952. He spent his summers there until graduating from high school, then returned for a while before leaving again in 1961 to start a career in the U.S. Coast Guard. Since retiring in 1983, he has lived in Virginia and North Carolina. He and his wife have four children and 15 grandchildren.