Meet the Icelandic Roots Genealogy Database Team – Part 2


Meet three more fabulous volunteers on the Icelandic Roots Genealogy Database team. These three live in Iceland. Besides helping with genealogy, they also assist with translations, Icelandic Places, Icelandic Cemeteries, Photographs, and more.

We are working together to make the genealogy online resource better every day. There is the very fun "Relationship Calculator." See how you are related to "Famous Ancestors." Discover Family Farms, Ancestors, and Cousins. See interesting Histories, Documents, Photos, Maps, Reports, and much more. There are Cemetery Links and Emigration Reports -- so many awesome features. It is much more than names and dates.

So -- to learn about three more of our volunteers - read about them below.

Cathy Josephson, Vopnafjörður


Cathy Josephson and Sunna Olafson Furstenau

in front of the East Iceland Emigration Center at Vopnafjörður.

Photo by Josep H Josepsson

I was born and grew up in the old "Minnesotabyggð", 10 days in college was quite enough. I asked my Southern grandmother about her family (I still have the pages she wrote) and my Icelandic "Avi" about his people, left home for the San Joaquin Valley, back to Thief River Falls, then stints in Minneota-Clintonville-Green Bay-Richmond-Smyrna-Nashville-Minneapolis- ICELAND ICELAND ICELAND!! Collected cousins together and traveled around Iceland in 1994. After six months, I returned and have lived in Vopnafjörður since March, 1995 - and since 2004 on the same farm where a great-grandmother was born.

Armed with borrowed paper and pastel charcoal colors, I joined a group of local hobby-artists and have been finger-painting since! Several art shows, both in Minneota and in Vopnafjörður, and now trying to expand into watercolor and other media. - Provides a wonderful break from the sometimes-dry work of genealogical research!

In 2002, the East Iceland Emigration Center was formed, and I was literally assigned to be a member of the governing committee. No office, no desk but my own, no telephone, no money - but we began collecting photos of emigrants from Vopnafjörður and information about them and their descendants, where they went, etc. Over the years, our database - and other resources - have greatly improved, and our small group of volunteers are doing wonderful things. My own memories of growing up in the Minneota Icelandic community - kept largely in a mental shoebox for longer than I care to count - were a great help as I began to learn the ins and outs of genealogical research. Nearly all the Icelanders who went to Southwest Minnesota were from East Iceland, and easily half were from Hofssókn - which is now Vopnafjarðarhreppur.

Having sharpened my genealogical teeth on my own people, I am ready to tackle YOUR people!

Davíð Kristjánsson, Selfoss


I was born in Selfoss on May 20, 1964 and raised on Skógsnes farm in Gaulverjabæjarhreppur. I have four older brothers and one sister. My wife is Drífa Eysteinsdóttir and we have five children and eight grandchildren.

The Skógsnes farm is located in the centre of the Southern lowlands of Iceland, with a beautiful view of surrounding hills and mountains. Now I live in Selfoss. I studied mechanical engineering and computer programming.

I have worked as a farmhand, metalworker, plumber, a shop assistant, in web design, programming and as an assistant to people with disabilities. Presently, I work at one of the largest public utility companies in the country, Orkuveita Reykjavíkur – Reykjavik Energy, supplying clean, environmentally safe energy to its customers.

My hobbies include literature, theater, music, the art of photography, astronomy, history and genealogy.

Valdimar Gunnarsson, Akureyri


My name is Valdimar Gunnarsson. I am a retired high school teacher (after 40 years of teaching). My parents were farmers in north Iceland – Eyjafjarðarsýsla, near Akureyri. I grew up learning that you have to work to achieve what you want, but you should use your free hours to learn something, preferably reading books. Both my parents enjoyed music and sang in the church choir. I remember myself singing all my life and I enjoy most kind of music, although I cannot play any instrument.

I finished Akureyri Junior High School and earned a BA in Icelandic (grammar and literature) and History in 1971. I wanted to be a farmer like my father but ended as a teacher in my old school. I do not regret teaching and working with young people. It is a wonderful job and keeps one younger than the years tell. My wife worked at the school for the last 20- 25 years and we dealt in the interest of the young and their well-being. My wife passed away last spring (2014). I have three daughters, two granddaughters, six grandsons and one great-granddaughter. I am a rich man. I have a loving family and some very good friends.

My interests are connected to the history of the Icelandic people and therefore the decades when so many Icelanders decided to leave their homeland and begin a new life in a quite different country. I am also very much interested in genealogy as it so often can shed light on the history of a family or a single person. I work as an archivist and was part of the update to the information on the Eyjafjarðarsýsla community. These are the main reasons for my connection to the Icelandic Roots program. Someday I must visit ‘Vesturheim’, the homeland of so many Icelanders.

Our main genealogist in Iceland is Hálfdan Helgason - the previous owner of the Icelandic Roots Database. Hálfdan remains on our board of directors. You can read more about him HERE.

Sunna Olafson Furstenau is the main genealogist in North America and you can read about me HERE.

Come and join the fun at www.IcelandicRootsDatabase.com


Icelandic Roots is a non-profit, educational, heritage organization specializing in genealogy, history & traditions of our Icelandic ancestors.

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