The Deuce of August and Islendingadagurinn

Updated: Jan 16

Icelandic Roots will be busy at the upcoming Icelandic celebrations and are offering many FREE opportunities. We will be in Mountain, North Dakota for the 120th annual Deuce of August and in Gimli, Manitoba for the 130th Íslendingadagurinn.



Thursday in Mountain 1-4 pm: IR Seminar and open house 1-1:30 pm: Tips and Tricks of using the IR Database. Find your famous ancestors including Vikings, cousins in Iceland and anywhere in the world, interactive maps, and more.

1:30-4 pm: Free access to the site with help from the IR Team. Bring your own Wi-Fi capable device or follow along as the IR Team shows the very fun ‘Cousins Across the Ocean’ features. Come anytime during these hours – open house atmosphere


Friday in Mountain 1-4:30 pm: Open House and East Iceland Emigration Center Presentation 1-4 pm: Open House – come visit with a genealogist, ask questions, connect with the database, have fun in an open house atmosphere

4-4:30 pm: ‘Sails, Rails, Rivers, and Trails’ This is a special presentation by Cathy Josephson, Director of the East Iceland Emigration Center in Vopnafjörður. Don´t miss out on this fascinating presentation!


Saturday in Mountain 11-4: Open House Genealogy Center Come visit with a genealogist and ask questions.


Sunday in Gimli 1-5 pm: Special presentation from Vopnafjörður and IR seminar 1-1:30 pm: ‘Sails, Rails, Rivers, and Trails’ This is a special presentation by Cathy Josephson, Director of the East Iceland Emigration Center in Vopnafjörður. Don´t miss out on this fascinating presentation!

1:30-2 pm: Tips and Tricks of using the IR Database. Find your famous ancestors including Vikings, cousins in Iceland and anywhere in the world, interactive maps, and more.

2-4 pm: IR Open House – Free access to the Database and Genealogy Assistance from the IR Volunteer Team who will be here from Iceland, Canada, and the USA. Bring your own Wi-Fi capable device or follow along as the IR Team shows the very fun ‘Cousins Across the Ocean’ features. Come anytime during these hours – open house atmosphere.


This will be the 17th year of a Genealogy Center at The Deuce with many thanks to the Icelandic Communities Association in Mountain, North Dakota.


This will be the 1st year IR will have a seminar during Íslendingadagurinn. Thanks to the New Iceland Heritage Museum and the director, Juliana, for hosting the IR team and giving this special gift to those in Gimli on Sunday.



Icelanders from all over North America and Iceland attend these two important events during the ''2nd of August Icelandic weekend.'' Do you know WHY we celebrate?


By 1874, Iceland had been under harsh Danish rule for hundreds of years and the people wanted their freedom. Jón Sigurðsson was determined to make this happen. The following is excerpted from a booklet called “Solving the Mystery of the 2nd of August” by Sir Magnus Olafson. He discovered the information in a book, Reflections by the Quill. That article was by Oscar G Johnson and published by the Quill Historical Society of Wynyard, Saskatchewan, researched and edited by Lillian Thorsteinsson Thorlacius.


“Jón Sigurðsson wanted freedom for Iceland from Denmark. He wanted schools in Iceland-a medical college, an agricultural college and other schools. Up to this time, little consideration had been given the people of Iceland by the Danish government. Jón Sigurðsson had moved to Denmark around the year 1830 where he was educated and became a librarian at the King’s Library. He became a member of the Parliament in Iceland. There he became President of the assembly. **(See below)** He hammered away at the Danish government until finally, in January 1874, King Christian IX made the announcement that he would visit Iceland during the summer of 1874, and that he would bring a new constitution for Iceland. For that purpose, the King decreed that the Icelandic Parliament should be called into session from August the first to the seventh.
On August the Second, he asked the Icelandic clergy to have services in every church in the land. On that day, he would hand over the New Constitution to Parliament. Jón Sigurðsson did not attend that session of Parliament but he advised the leaders to accept the constitution, even though it was inadequate, because it was a step in the right direction. But he cautioned the people never to down their desire for independence. His by word was “Aldrei ad vikja” (Never let down). It is known that a small group of Icelandic people who immigrated to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA in the early 1870s held a celebration on August 2, 1874, to celebrate this event. It is also known that the Icelandic community of Winnipeg held the first celebration on the second of August in the year 1890 and called it, “The Day of the Icelanders.” While August the second was never declared a legal national holiday in Iceland, this day was celebrated whenever and however small the settlement was, whether in Canada or the United States by the Icelandic settlers who called the second of August, 'The Day of the Icelanders.' Iceland officially declared its independence from Denmark on June 17, 1944 and became a republic.”

** Jón served as a member of parliament most of the years between 1845-1879. He was president of the Althingi in 1849, 1853, short time in 1857, and 1865-1877. However, he was named 'forseti' - which means 'President' because he was President of the Literary Society in Copenhagen, where he lived for most of his adult life. **


To read more about the celebrations: www.thedeuce.org www.icelandicfestival.com


Hope to see you soon!

Icelandic Roots is a non-profit, educational, heritage organization specializing in genealogy, history & traditions of our Icelandic ancestors.

Icelandic Roots
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