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What About Your Family?

Updated: Dec 28, 2019

Dear friends,

This newsletter is for all people with Icelandic connections in North America. There are two projects started by our team in Iceland - The Snorri Deaf project and The Children's Stories Documentary. We are asking you to please read about both projects. What about your family? Is there information you can send to help keep connections strong and preserve our shared family stories. Your participation is important and greatly appreciated.

#1) “Snorri Deaf,” the name chosen by those in Iceland involved with The Deaf Association. The inaugural tour is scheduled for September 2018 to Minnesota, North Dakota, and Manitoba. A reciprical tour will be to Iceland in the summer of 2019. More information is HERE. Please see the bolded section below.

We need connections with others who are deaf and hard of hearing all over North America. Please send an email to us with contact information. They could be eligible to visit Iceland next summer through Snorri Deaf. We also need to add all Icelandic people to the database so we can find the Snorri Program participant's cousins. If you have not filled out a 'Cousins' form yet, please do so at this link: Cousins Across the Ocean.


#2) The Children's Stories Documentary is an important project and we need more stories. Please see the letter from Bryndis below.

Kæru vinir í N-Ameríku- Dear friends in N-America.

Many of you already know that there is a small group of people in Reykjavík working at gathering information about the children who emigrated to N-America with their parents or without their parents. Some of you have already sent us stories of your families which we are very grateful for.

We do however, really need some more tales, anecdotes, stories of the every day life of the children who found themselves in a totally new environmnet. Below are some questions to help jog your memory and have you answer one, two, or all the following questions.

Have you e.g. heard any stories of:

  • Did they come with their family or alone? How old were they when they arrived?

  • Did they stay in one place or did they move around to other communities?

  • What happened to their family? Did some die in the Smallpox epidemic in New Iceland?

  • How was their health? Any stories about health-care, midwives, doctors in the area that assisted children? Illnesses they may have had?

  • Did they live in Markland? Were they on the train that crashed?

  • How many people lived in one house? What was their home like?

  • What was their reaction to trees? Tall trees belonged to the world of the hidden people (huldufólk) in the Icelandic mind.

  • What stories do you know of the interactions and the reaction of these children when they first saw darker skinned people?

  • Did the Icelandic children befriend children of the First Nation? Do any of you remember hearing any stories?

  • How did our Icelandic children play?

  • How about work? Were the children expected to do some chores? Did they help with the farming and the fishing? What about other occupations?

  • Were the parents strict or lenient?

  • How were their homes different than in Iceland?

  • Did their names change? To what and why? What naming traditions were kept to Icelandic in your family or did the names change to English?

  • Did they maintain their Icelandic Language or change to English immediately? What stories do you know about the language?

  • Did they attend school? Tell us about their education, the schools, and any stories related to education in the home or school.

Please help us by looking for information/stories of the children in your family. We want to preserve the story of our Icelandic children in N-America. Any story relating to the emigrating children, be it long or short, will be appreciated. Even if it is bullet points or incomplete sentences, this is fine. If you would rather someone take notes while we ask you questions, that is okay, too. Just let us know.

We are not looking for your writing style, we are not looking for literary master pieces, we are looking for stories of our children in order to keep their memory vividly alive in this documentary or for future podcasts. We are grateful for any tidbits of such stories/accounts of the Icelandic emigrant children.

Með góðum kveðjum, With good greetings,

Bryndís Víglundsdóttir (on the documentary team)

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

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