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Finding Point Roberts, Washington, U.S.A.

Updated: Aug 21, 2022

Point Roberts is a geo-political oddity. The western United States-Canadian border follows the 49th parallel because of the Oregon Treaty signed on 15 Jun 1846. The treaty ended a dispute between Britain and the US for claims to the area now known as the Rocky Mountains of Oregon Country. The little piece of the Point Roberts peninsula was south of the 49th parallel and thus was placed in the United States but is not connected by any land.

A small group of early settlers to Point Roberts, Washington were Icelandic immigrants. They first lived in the areas of Bellingham and Victora. There was a depression in Victoria and many were unemployed and Point Roberts had jobs in the fishing cannery. Departures from Victoria, BC for Point Roberts began in 1893.

By 1900, the Icelandic population of Point Roberts grew to about half of all people living there. In 1908, President Roosevelt opened the Point Roberts area up to homesteaders and many were able to file official papers to claim their homesteads. The photo below was taken about 1918 of the Alaska Packers Association Point Roberts cannery.

Alaska Packers Association Pt. Roberts cannery
Alaska Packers Association Pt. Roberts cannery

Today, Icelanders still comprise about one-seventh of the residents. The population in 2020 was 1,100 people. Point Roberts, Washington is a small peninsula of less than 5 square miles surrounded by water on three sides. It is a US/Canadian border town. It is located just south of Vancouver, British Columbia's metro area, and though a city in the state of Washington, USA, can only be reached by boat, small planes, or by driving 23 miles through British Columbia.

Dagbjört Dagbjartsdóttir was born in Iceland and emigrated in 1887. There is much information on this untrained Midwife, who lived in Point Roberts, in the Icelandic Roots Database. She is IR I396679 where you can read the Women and Children's Stories, Midwife Story, Obituary, and much more.

To find all those connected to Point Roberts and to watch a short 2-minute video on how to find your own special places in the world, go to this link on the Icelandic Roots YouTube channel.

You can also read a previous article on the Point Roberts Church built by the Icelandic pioneers of the area.

Two IR Volunteers have ancestors that lived in Point Roberts.


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