ICC of BC - Genealogy Centre

By Gerri McDonald

Our newest feature is the ICC of BC Genealogy Centre. We have purchased a new computer (with ADSL Internet access) and are accumulating reference material for your use.

Most of us, at one point or another, want to know about our family history. Maybe it is because we look like a great grandparent or share a name with others. Family history contributes to who we are and where we are today. Often the questions that could have been so easily answered by our elders are not being answered because we've started asking too late. Many of our grandparents or great grandparents were ættfróð that is, they were knowledgeable about their family tree and those of others. While today few of us easily repeat family histories, there are accessible records and many secondary sources to answer those questions. Some people refer to genealogy as a hobby but it is more than that, it is mental exercise, entertainment and an important part of our cultural heritage.

For more than 30 years I have had an interest in genealogy. I started out looking up information about my own grandparents and great grandparents. After a brief introduction to the National Archives of Iceland while a tourist, I returned to the archives with regularity when I became a student at the University of Iceland. In those days, working from the original records, I got my first real taste of putting together the family puzzle. Publications of genealogies, of census records and other resource material have made it possible to use these secondary resources to find information needed to identify one's ancestors. We have some good secondary source materials in the Genealogy Centre like the Icelandic Genealogy Society's census publications.

Today, with the advent of computerized records and the Internet, genealogy has taken a new spin. As a method of storing and searching databases, the computer is an amazing tool. For the past few years Internet genealogy has been expanding unbelievably with this year's introduction of the Íslendingabók (www.islendingabok.is), a searchable database of nearly every Icelander that ever lived. Currently, this tool is only available to those living in Iceland but ultimately links to people of Icelandic extraction will be made. Hálfdan Helgason has a very useful website -www.IcelandAncestry.comor www.IcelandicRoots.com

Other sites such as http://genforum.genealogy.com/iceland/ or the popular www.familysearch.org site of the Mormons.

Our club's new Genealogy Centre is established to encourage people of Icelandic heritage to find out about their forebears. The Icelandic Heritage Library also holds reference materials for those interested in their family history. Most of these books are in Icelandic but with a little help they can be useful to those who don't read Icelandic.

This centre is established for you to use whether you are a novice or experienced researcher. I will be happy to provide assistance to novices as they start out. Come check it out.

For access: Contact Gerri at or icc_of_bc@hotmail.com

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