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2022--What a Year It Has Been!

-This is what a team effort looks like!

By Rob Olason, Newsletter Coordinator

As 2022 wraps up and we turn to the new year, I wanted to share what a remarkable year this has been for the Icelandic Roots newsletter.

For starters, Sunna Furstenau, in addition to keeping the ever expanding Icelandic Roots organization humming along, had also been pulling "all-nighters" every week or so, to put out a newsletter. She knew she couldn't keep up the pace and needed some help fast.

She found a solution in drafting a new genealogy volunteer who mentioned they had some experience writing and working on newsletters. While not realizing she didn't really need an assistant, Rob Olason/I volunteered to delay that genealogist career to "assist" with the newsletter. It was a steep learning curve. When Rob/I finally thought I had a handle on all the steps for putting out a newsletter, I took a look at the newly revised volunteer chart and discovered the chart listed me as the "Newsletter Lead."

Relishing this newly discovered status, and ready to flex editorial muscles I never knew I had, I realized we didn’t have a “real name” for our newsletter at the beginning of 2022. Sunna had been trying out different names but nothing really "stuck." We decided to hold a naming contest, and by March 31, we had a winning name for our publication: "Rætur Fréttir - Roots News."

Another important task Sunna accomplished was bringing Becky Byerly-Adams onto the newsletter team. Becky focuses on developing the newsletter content by working closely with our growing number of volunteer writers and photographers. And what an amazing job she has done, by planning out our issues months in advance, contacting writers, collecting, and editing the stories for each issue. I’ve been amazed at her ability to create all the wonderful graphics we have been able to include in the newsletters. If we ever start giving out “Golden Vínarterta” awards to Icelandic Roots volunteers, I’m nominating Becky.

These changes have made it possible to bring our newsletter, Rætur Fréttir - Roots News, to your email inbox every two weeks this year—26 issues filled with stories about Iceland, and Icelandic Roots events and activities. We work hard to keep you up to date on all the offerings of Icelandic Roots because there are so many wheels spinning in this volunteer organization. Webinars, training events, Samtal Hour conversations, the monthly book club. In fact, there are so many events on the IR schedule, you might even forget that Icelandic genealogy is the heart of this amazing project.

Dec. 15 issue
The Dec. 15 issue

Our first issue 2022
Our first issue 2022

So as our last issue for 2022 has arrived in your inbox, I would like to thank all of the volunteers who do so much to make Icelandic Roots the truly remarkable, dynamic project that it is.

Rætur Fréttir - Roots News is like a microcosm of the larger Icelandic Roots that it reports on.

I would like to thank all the writers and photographers who contributed to the newsletter this year.

There are over seventy volunteers in the Icelandic Roots family. The newsletter didn’t involve all the IR volunteers, but the list below shows how many contributed to make our newsletter interesting, informative, and (I hope) a delightful Icelandic excursion every two weeks.

I apologize if I missed any of our contributors, but this is the list of writers and photographers who contributed to your newsletter in 2022:

Aimee O’Connell, Alfreda Erickson Duffy, Angela Beaton, Arden Jackson, Becky Byerly-Adams, Beth Finnson, Brian Borgford, Bryndís Víglundsdóttir, C.R. (Rus) Magnusson, Christal Speer, Dave Jonasson, Davíð Kristjánsson, Doreen (Borgfjord) McFarlane, Doreen Kristjanson Marston, Doug Hanson, Elaine Forbes, Elin de Ruyter, Gay Strandemo, Heather Lytwyn, Hjördís Hilmarsdóttir, Jason Doctor, Jody Arman-Jones, Judy Dickson, Karrah Parke, Kathy Thorlakson, Kent Lárus Björnsson, Loretta Thorfinnson Bernhoft, Mallory Swanson, Natalie Guttormson, Owen Roberts, Peter Fell, Rachel Fell McDermott, Rob Olason, Sam Hodge, Sandy Matthiason Wright, Sharon Laxdal, Sharron Arksey, Sigfús Haukur Sigfússon, Sunna Furstenau, Susan Atwood, Sverrir Sigurdsson, Tess Hallgrimson, Þórdís Edda Guðjónsdóttir, W. D. Valgardson.

Now 2023 is a whole new year.

We hope to bring you another 26 newsletters every second week filled with interesting articles and must attend events.

We are always on the hunt to find that interesting story about Icelandic heritage. So I have to ask. “Got any good stories you’d like to share?”

Becky, Sunna, and I are anxiously hoping to hear from you!

And if you have a knack for putting together newsletters, or would just to like to be part of the fun, let's talk!

We can always be reached at

-And if you've read this far, I promise to get "exclamation point" intervention.


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

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