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Icelandic Roots Genealogy Database Celebrates 2nd Anniversary

Updated: Jul 26, 2021

We are officially two years old! We have great news about updates, additions, and new features to our shared Icelandic heritage site. Every day, our volunteer genealogists are helping others to discover their Icelandic story and their “Cousins Across the Ocean.”

Now, to start year #3, we have another new feature. Two experts on the Icelandic pastors and churches in North America, Dr. Steve Guttormsson and Rev. Stefan Jonasson, will be working on connecting people, churches, clergy, and their stories to the database. Dr. Steve is working on the Lutheran Churches and Clergy. Rev. Stefan is working on the Unitarian Churches and Clergy. Here is more information and a request for their project below.

I am Steve Guttormsson, son of Rev. Steve Guttormsson and grandson of Rev. Guttormur Guttormsson.

At the last INLNA convention in Minneapolis, I gave a presentation on the life of my Afi. During the research, I became fascinated with the history of the Icelandic Evangelical Lutheran Synod. Sunna has invited me to share and add more information to the Icelandic Roots Database regarding this rich heritage.

Years ago, there was a TV show called “Connection”, which always clicked with me when thinking about all things Icelandic. It clicked again this fall when the Chicago Cubs, once again came up short in the MLB playoffs. What is this guy talking about! Let me explain.

My Afi graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Manitoba. In 1909, he went to Chicago where he attended the Maywood Seminary. Our family always thought he attended for two years, and then graduated early. Now my research shows that was not so.

He was ordained in Winnipeg in 1910, after only one year of Seminary; the Synod at that time was desperate for ministers, and sent him out into the mission field. He continued with one year of correspondence classes, while he served a mission church in Churchbridge, Saskatchewan. What does this have to do with baseball? Well Maywood Seminary was first located at the current site of Wrigley Field. It was torn down in 1910, to make way for the construction of this famous North Chicago landmark, Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs. They moved into the stadium in 1916. Despite winning the World Series twice in a row before the move, they have never won a series since moving into Wrigley Field. I guess the lesson here is don’t mess with those Lutherans and their Seminaries.

As we start our Clergy list to the database, you will see that many of the early ministers attended either Maywood I or II for their ministerial studies. If you have any family information on a minster who served in the Icelandic Synod, please contact me. I am eager to hear from you. I have some information on many, but several I have almost nothing, and we need more for the database. We are searching for photos, documents, histories, biographies, church information, and the descendants of these pastors to connect them to our project. email:

Hálfdan Helgason did a great job building up his knowledge base, working with all of us over the years, and teaching us more about our ancestors. We honor his work by continuing to assist people in their search for Icelandic Roots and make connections with their living cousins in Iceland, Canada, USA, or anywhere Icelanders may live. Our accomplishments in these past 2 years:

  • 60,000 new people added to the 512,601 people Hálfdan had documented

  • New photos, videos, documents, histories, biographies, obituaries, stories, and a timeline of important events in the lives of Icelandic people

  • Famous Icelanders information with the ability to see how you are related to each of them

  • Various reports such as Drowned to honor the many Icelanders who died of drowning

  • Also Known As report – many Icelanders changed their names when they emigrated

  • Interactive Maps with genealogists and historians mapping all the farms in Iceland including the abandoned farms. These place names are also connected to the people who lived there

  • A powerful Relationship Calculator so you can instantly see the connections between you and another person of Icelandic descent

  • 4 Snorri Scholarships (2 for Canadians and 2 for Americans) in 2015 with plans to give again next year to support this wonderful program

  • Continue the work on a future Emigration report to show all those who emigrated

  • Financial assistance and promotional work to many other organizations such as the Icelandic National League of Iceland, Icelandic National League of North America, Kids Icelandic Camp in Gimli, Hofsós Emigration Center, East Iceland Emigration Center, Lögberg-Heimskringla, Snorri West, International Visits Program, Icelandic Language Studies at the Árni Magnússon Institute, and other Icelandic cultural events and programs.

  • Translation work on documents and letters for members

  • Most of all - many happy connections and people learning about this unique and interesting Icelandic heritage and culture

During this month of November, we are offering a special discount for you to join as a member of the database. Even if you decide not to join as a member, we want to make sure YOUR family is entered into this site. We are helping the people of today discover their roots but also we are chronicling the lives of our Icelandic heritage for the people in the future. Please Contact Us for more information or the information we need to connect your family to the database.

Email us your questions or join the conversation on our Facebook Group.

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