Cousins in Our Own Backyard


A coincidental meeting or something more? I often ask myself that question when people’s paths cross and they discover something deeper that connects them.

Icelandic Roots member, Jan Sigurdson, lives in Tacoma, Washington. For years, she has worked as a high school counselor. It was at a work meeting that she met a lady named Karen Brown who had spotted the Icelandic flag decal on Jan’s car. Now after 10 years, they are friends, work colleagues, and can see through recent additions to the Icelandic Roots Database how they are related.


But wait, there’s more! Jan retired from her work at the high school last year, but was invited back to be a substitute in a different high school in the area. Jan was introduced to a young man by the name Kevin Nishimoto. Would anyone immediately think a Nishimoto and a Sigurdson shared Icelandic ancestry? But cousins in our own backyard are not always obvious. Kevin mentioned that his grandfather shared Jan’s last name — Sigurdson. So when Kevin brought Jan some information about his great-grandfather who emigrated from Iceland in 1893, Jan was able to help Kevin learn about his ancestry and how they were connected through Icelandic Roots.

But wait, there’s even more!! Lo and behold, using the Icelandic Roots Relationship Calculator, Kevin and Karen could see they were much more closely related cousins…so another bridge between generations and families was created by Jan’s curiosity and clever use of the Icelandic Roots database.

The moral of this story is that our “Cousins Across the Ocean” project is fabulous, but “Cousins in Our Own Backyard,” often hidden in plain sight, are also valuable gems we can uncover through the Icelandic Roots Database.


With almost 600,000 names and an awesome team of genealogists, we continue to add more information every day on people living in Iceland, Canada, USA, and other places in the world where people of Icelandic descent live. Anyone can join as a member to the site. Even if you do not want a membership, we want to connect you to the “Cousins Project.” Just fill in this FORM.

You can find so much on this very unique and special online community connecting Icelanders from all over the world with their living cousins. With genealogy, maps, photos, cemeteries, biographies, obituaries, and histories, you can find the information on your ancestors and on your living cousins.

To join as a member: Iceland Ancestry then choose a plan. With this, you have access to the entire site plus you will be connected to the “Cousins” project. Icelandic Roots is a nonprofit organization. All the genealogists are volunteers and we are here to help you with your search and preserve your family information for the generations to come after us.

Join in the fun today and become a member!


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

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