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Discovering Your Past

Learning about and sharing our stories with Icelandic Roots

By Shaune Jonasson

Have you ever wondered what life was like back “when”? What were things like when your grandparents were young? Who were they as a kid? A teen? Or even a young parent? These are some of the questions many of us have pondered when we’ve delved into the story of their pasts through genealogy.

The stories of our ancestors are many, but a common thread links us all. From the many Samtal Hours I attended, as well as other interactive Icelandic Roots webinars, I’ve learned I am not alone in wanting to know more about my ancestors. We, as Western Icelanders, have a passion for connecting with them, to know their stories, and what force lay within them that compelled their immigration to North America, Brazil, and Australia. To persevere with such fervour, wanting simply to survive and have a better life here than they had experienced in Iceland. Maybe the Viking spirit remained strong within them.

Quebec Harbor - Photo courtesy of Cathy Josephson
Quebec Harbor - Photo courtesy of Cathy Josephson

Many stories are captured in the blog posts on the Icelandic Roots website, but even more detail is available in the members' database. If you want to know more, consider a membership to Icelandic Roots. Perhaps you were a previous member, and if so, you are aware of its benefits. Reinstating your membership will give you access to so much more. Teams of volunteers working diligently in the background ensure the continued growth of the database weekly.

Or, if you are planning on attending the INLNA Convention in Banff, Alberta next month, register for the Icelandic Roots free database access (see 12 May in the Event Calendar and click on the RSVP button). You will find a treasure of information: the family’s farm and possibly a current-day picture of that area, their parish, their neighbours, the ships that brought them to the new country, and many other aspects of their life. Learn about important events that might have been the catalyst for their move. Is your ancestor famous? Was he or she a literary person? Where is their final resting place? From birth to death, so much can be found in the Icelandic Roots database.

By sharing together, we will continue to build our community. We welcome you to contribute your family's stories. If you haven't yet completed the Cousin Across the Ocean Form, please do so. Or send your stories and photographs to

There is so much to discover. Join us at Icelandic Roots. Reconnect with your past.


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

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