Thursday, July 24, 2014

Travel Thursday (July 24, 2014) -- Genealogy Heaven?

Molly, her sister Kathy, and I just returned from a wonderful trip to a land where everyone is said to be related and where they claim to have records on the families of about 720,000 individuals to "prove it."  And this in a country with only 320,000 citizens (about one half the population of the city of Washington, DC).

The Íslendingabók is the genealogical database for this country containing information on the inhabitants going back 1,200 years or more.  Its creation is a collaboration between a research company in the field of medical genetics and a software entrepreneur. The project goal is to trace all known family connections from the time of the settlement of the subject country to the present and to place all the genealogical data into an internet database.  Most of the genealogical information comes from record sources such as census documents, church records, inhabitant registers and other public records.

The country of which I am writing is, of course, Iceland.

Iceland not only has what is probably one of the most genealogically aware populations on the planet, it is also an amazingly beautiful, otherworldly country well worth a visit -- and I say this even though it rained all day almost every day we were there!  More photographic evidence of the natural beauty of Iceland is presented below.

Selfjalandfoss waterfall, which drops over 200 feet and is possible to walk behind
as can be seen in the photograph if you look closely.
The system of pipelines that bring hot geothermal water from the mountains outside Reykjavik to the homes in the city -- with a temperature loss of only 1 - 2 degrees Centigrade. 

Þingvellir where the parliament was established in 930 and remained until 1798.
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All photographs by the author, July 2014.

[1]  This title is technically misleading because it could mean the emigration of  of Icelanders to the western part of the island including the greater capital region of Reykjavik, where about 2/3 or more of the Icelandic population currently lives.  The North Atlantic Ridge, where the tectonic plates of North America and Europe meet, runs through the island of Iceland so that much of the western side of the island is actually already in North America.  The other, eastern, side of the ridge is on the European plate and so is technically in Europe.
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Copyright 2014, John D. Tew
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  1. Iceland is at the top of my bucket list - I've got 3 travel books on places to see there, plus maps, and plans... One day hopefully!

  2. All those shades of green, darling short rows of houses and the waterfall sure took my breath away. No wonder your old friend suggested you visit. It's breathtaking, even in the rain. What was the temperature? I only wish you had posted more photos, because I have a feeling you took quite a few. Did you see any ice? (Had to ask.)