West Icelanders on Ancestors’ Trail Skip to content

West Icelanders on Ancestors’ Trail

Twelve people from Canada and the United States are currently in Iceland participating in the Snorri Program. The program is intended to strengthen bonds between Icelanders and descendants of Icelandic emigrants to North-America. The participants all have ancestors in Iceland.


Sculpture Sólfarid. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.

“These are 12 youngsters, aged 18-30, most of them from Canada but a few from the US,” project manager Alexía Björg Jóhannesdóttir told visir.is.

They will be staying in Iceland for six weeks. “They will spend the first two weeks in Reykjavík, attending a number of lectures, learning Icelandic and going on various visits.

With the help of a genealogist, we traced their origins and found their distant relatives in Iceland. This Friday, they will go their separate ways, staying with these relatives all across Iceland for the next three weeks. Some will stay and work at farms whereas others have found jobs in the towns where they will be staying.”

According to Jóhannesdóttir, most of them are headed towards their ancestors’ places of origin, which is very important to them.

After their stay with relatives, they will reunite and go on a weeklong tour around Iceland to visit some of the main natural attractions.

“This is such a beautiful assignment and the Icelanders’ great reception is heartwarming. Icelanders are proud of their origins and it was remarkably easy to call people and inform them that we have found their Canadian cousins. Everyone was more than willing to open their homes. I often felt that I was giving these people a gift by making this connection. In those cases, people had completely lost connection with the people who moved west. Regaining it was a joyous event.”

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