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Why I Belong to Icelandic Roots

By Robert Isleifson

Robert ISleifson IR# 588912

I was born in the early thirties in the town of Glenboro in southern Manitoba, another “Goolie” joining the community. I’ve heard many stories about the origin and meaning of this term, but I still don’t know why those of us with Icelandic names were called Goolies. If anyone has the answer, please enlighten me!

The one regret I have about my childhood is that I didn’t become fluent in Icelandic. Such an opportunity wasted. But when you’re young and there are games to be played, who wants to be labeled as just another Goolie? Still, I felt there was something special about having a father who’d come from Iceland.

When I heard my Uncle Stone (Steini) and my dad talk about coming to Canada from Iceland, I developed a keen interest in my Icelandic heritage. Joining the Icelandic Canadian Club of Western Manitoba and the INLNA and receiving Hálfdan Helgason’s newsletters helped keep the interest alive. A trip to Iceland where I got to visit some

cousins fanned the flames of my fascination. Then there was some online research and a family tree report put together by Nelson Gerrard that one of my cousins shared with me – pure gold. Using all this information I had at my disposal, I put together a family tree website that went back to the 1500s. I was content to just sit back and make the necessary changes as births and deaths occurred. Then Icelandic Roots entered the scene and altered my life. Suddenly, all this information was available with just a couple clicks on the old keyboard. The database has so much information and is so very easy to use, and if you do run into a problem, help is just a click away. But I must warn you, once you try using the relationship button you’ll be hooked! 

When someone asks where afi is, my good wife is likely to say, “oh, he’s probably in his cave rooted to Icelandic Roots.” I’ve been a member for two years and spend lots of time on the site (too much, I’ve been told!) and still have not explored everything the database has to offer, but I’ll keep trying.

Thank you to Icelandic Roots and all the good people that make it happen!

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