Sunday, October 6, 2013

Icelandic-American Genealogy

Icelandic-American Marriages

Islendiga-App -"App of Icelanders"
By now most genealogists researching their Icelandic-American ancestors have heard of the Islendiga Android App. This app is based on an online database of most of the 320,000 citizens of Iceland compiled in the Islendingabok - "Book of Icelanders." The Islendingabok  traces 1200 years of genealogy back to the 9th century Viking settlers. The Android app was actually designed for Icelanders to bump phones and verify relationships. The app includes an anti-incest feature for a country where practically everyone is related.  Its use as a genealogical tool to assist Icelandic-Americans too can be key to a successful genealogical search. The Islendiga App can be used to identify and trace Icelandic-American relatives. 

Tracing Icelandic-Americans
The migration of Icelanders began before 1910. About 5,000 United States residences reportedly spoke Icelandic in the home, even though many were enumerated as Danes. Many more Icelandic immigrants came to the United States after World War II

WWII Military in Iceland. a3Genealogy has been working on a large military project that included Icelandic marriages of US WWII soldiers and native women. The Icelandic government opposed the fraternizing of Icelandic women with US and British soldiers.  And the US Military imposed a ban on Icelandic marriages on 24 March 1942 - 22 May 1944. Large military troops were stationed in Iceland, including the 5th Infantry, the 29th, 115th, and more, and morerelationships were formed. By 1 Dec 1945 122 marriage applications to Icelandic girls were approved by the Army; most were privates and sergeants, but officers, too, were included (2 majors, 6 captains, 16 lieutenants). Some of the soldiers returned to Iceland to marry their bride, other single women joined their mate in the USA after the war.

At the end of the war, the US military provided transportation for the Icelandic-American family units. The British and American soldiers fathered hundreds of children, many with the surname Hansson.  Hans translates in Icelandic as "his" stating Hansson, was the offspring of an unknown father (his son/child).  By Oct 1945 sixty-five wives and children traveled to the USA and joined their husbands. 

5 Other Resources
  1. Service Records. Be sure to pull your veterans military records to prove his service in Iceland
  2. Fold3. Digitzed American service men information in Iceland (keyword) is available. 
  3. Morning Reports. You may find where your veteran ancestor was reprimanded for fraternizing with the Iceland women.
  4. Passport Records. More than once a3Gen has verified American Icelandic women to their Iceland heritage via Passports. This may also assist in uncovering the family name of your Icelandic ancestors. 
  5. Social Security Applications. Researchers may also provide additional genealogical information to include parents names. 
Be sure to review the Major Genealogical Record Sources in Iceland. For an excellent case study and uses of various sources, read The War Bride: Icelandic Woman

Kathleen Brandt
Accurate, accessible answers

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