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Icelandic Roots Celebrates 8 Years!

Icelandic Roots has experienced phenomenal growth and success over the past 8 years. We are thankful for all our volunteers and our All-Access Members who support the important IR Mission. We instituted Team Leaders in October of 2020 and it has been remarkable.

Our internal structures and communication have improved the collaboration and communication across our teams. Each Team Leader understands their roles and responsibilities and they are able to train new volunteers and keep connections strong with each volunteer. You can see that many of our volunteers wear many hats. To learn more, see their photos, and find out where they live, see OUR TEAM.


Below you can read some of the highlights from our past year. You will find a few statistics but what is most important is how we are engaged in something much bigger than ourselves. We are working together, building relationships, and have created an amazing community with a variety of educational and interesting opportunities.


Cathy Josephson - Iceland Genealogy Team and Memberships

If you are a member of Icelandic Roots, you have been in contact with our Membership Director, Cathy. She was born and raised in Minnesota and moved to Iceland in 1995. She is involved in many tasks with Icelandic Roots including leading all the genealogists who live in Iceland.


We have 11 genealogists who live in Iceland working on the IR Database. This dedicated and talented team is always working to improve and update family information for native-born Icelanders and connect them to the places where they lived and their final resting places.


We are also working to find and connect the many “orphaned” Icelanders with their parents, sibling, and descendants. Most of our work is done individually, but we meet regularly on Zoom to discuss new resources, new functions of the database, special reports on what’s done and what’s up next.

Doug Hanson - Treasurer, Administration, Mapping

We are always engaged in finance, education, and administration activities in support of our members and the Icelandic community. In 2021, Icelandic Roots continued to give generously to our Icelandic communities in the form of grants and scholarships. In 2021 Icelandic Roots awarded $12,000 USD in heritage/education/preservation grants and an additional $1,000 USD in Icelandic language scholarships. Our team also donates their time and talents to give presentations, create educational materials, and take part in local events.


In 2021, we increased the percentage of geotagged places in the Icelandic Roots Database from 78.6% to 91.8% (as of 11/3/2021). We also added 1,619 Saga Places to the database for the Saga Project (see information on Jason's Team below).


The Editor's Manual has been updated to its current version and is kept current by Team Member, Lorne Hallgrimson who also works on the Media and Genealogy teams.


Becky Byerly-Adamas - Fitness Challenge / Writers Group

Since before IR became an official nonprofit, we had a blog and website created by Sunna. Over the years, IR has gathered more writers. This year, we created a team for the writers and published 44 blog posts to make the total now over 440 posts! Our blogs are varied including emigration stories, found ancestors, folklore, sagas, important places in Iceland, and those famous or interesting ancestors. In addition, a newsletter was started in the second half of this year providing updates about events both public and private plus sharing relevant blog posts about particular subjects, events, places, people, and more.


Our volunteer team has a new group where they can help each other with writing, learn from each other, and meet within the special "Writers Corner." It will be interesting to see the evolution and changes of this new group. Bryndís Viglundsdóttir and Gay Strandemo have written and illustrated a new children's book, Guðríður's Saga, and coloring book about Guðríður Þorbjarnardóttir. She is our famous ancestor and is in the IR# I133852 in the database. The publications will be released in the new year.


Barnasaga has evolved over the years and is officially the "Women and Children's Stories" project. This is led by writer, Þórdís Edda Guðjónsdóttir, and genealogist, Kristy Marston.