I come from a supportive and loving family, the third of six children. My father, a primary school teacher, was born and raised on a farm in Kolbeinsstaðahreppur, Hnappadalssýsla, and my mother, the daughter of a priest and a genealogist, was born in Kvennabrekka, Dalasýsla but raised in Prestsbakki, Hrútafjörður, Strandasýsla. I was born in Reykjavík but, like most children of my age, spent most summers of my childhood on a farm in Borgarfjörður owned by my uncle and aunt.
I got married in 1968 and have two sons and one grandson. My husband, a teacher and high school counselor, passed away in 2015. My partner since 2017 is Valdimar Gunnarsson.
I earned a BA in Icelandic and English from the University of Iceland (HÍ) in 1979 after having worked as a secretary for several years. After graduation, I became a teacher and taught at several schools in Akureyri and Reykjavík. My main subjects were Icelandic, literature, and grammar, but I also spent a lot of time supporting students with dyslexia, which was very rewarding work. I continued my education with an MA in English from the University of Denver, where I lived with my husband and sons from 1983-1985. In 1999-2000 I spent my sabbatical year in Vancouver, BC, where I attended some courses in education at UBC. In 2017, I earned a BA in French from HÍ.
Genealogy has always been a subject of great interest in my maternal family as a legacy from my grandfather, who wrote several books and articles on the subject.