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Working Together is the Secret

Updated: Jan 29, 2020

Hálfdan Helgason and Sunna Furstenau have worked on genealogy together for many years. Each fall, since 2010, they have met for 4-6 hours in person. Today, they met once again to connect, to celebrate Icelandic Roots, and to share family and genealogy stories.

Beginning in 2003, George Freeman, Sunna, and Hálfdan worked cooperatively on genealogy. One of their volunteer projects was called, “Cousins Across the Ocean.” Together, they connected living people from Iceland and North America to their living cousins and their family history. Click here to learn more about the Cousins Project that still lives on through Icelandic Roots today.

Icelandic Roots (IR) was born in 2012 as a spin-off to Sunna’s website, “Roots to Trees,” started in 2003. She completed several family history books over the next few years: “Roots to Trees - Hungary and France” for her husband’s maternal family and “Roots to Trees – Scotland and Norway” for her own mother’s family. The purpose of the new IR website was to honor her Icelandic ancestors and to blog about her upcoming 2012 trip around Iceland.

In October of 2013, Sunna and Hálfdan legally merged their genealogy databases into the new cutting-edge technology of the Icelandic Roots Database. IR is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit and charitable organization. There are 25 volunteers who have joined the mission of “paying it forward” with their knowledge, expertise, and amazing dedication. To learn about our multi-generational and devoted volunteers from Canada, Iceland, the USA, and Australia - click HERE.

Next month, the nonprofit genealogy database site at Icelandic Roots will be five years old. Statistics show that 20% of small businesses fail in the first year and 50% fail before the five-year mark. Our goal, from the beginning, was to “pay it forward” with scholarships for Icelandic Language and the Snorri Programs, Heritage Grants, and Education. None of the genealogists, IT, or Social Media team members are paid. With a robust, dedicated, and knowledgeable team, IR has surpassed all expectations in these five years. The team continues to grow, improve, and increase the features at IR. The volunteer team continues to solve decade long puzzles, connect lost family members, educate, and preserve the information for the future.

The main team members (who can) meet weekly via a video-conferencing system called ZOOM. Most of the time, the IR team works independently but with the IR Zoom Room, the team can connect to collaborate anytime. However, having a good, in-person meeting is always treasured and very special.

Sunna and Hálfdan send each and every one of you their best wishes and many thanks for keeping our shared story alive and preserved at Icelandic Roots.

Make sure that your family is included in the database so we can preserve it for the next generations to come. Here are 5 easy things you can do:

  1. Complete the “Cousins Across the Ocean” form and/or Send us an update on your information – genealogy is never done as babies are born and the old pass away.

  2. Send us photos of your ancestors: great-grandparents and grandparents.

  3. Join the newsletter and share it with your family and friends

  4. Connect with your cousins, family, and others of Icelandic Ancestry

  5. Have fun with us preserving our shared story at Icelandic Roots

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

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