Iceland Emigration and Immigration

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Emigration and Immigration

Historical Background

Icelandic Emigration began later than other Scandinavian countries partly due to the isolated nature of the Island. Icelandic Emigration can be hard to trace as Iceland was a part of Denmark and counted among their citizens.

By the 19th century, some Icelanders were emigrating to the United States and tended to settle around the Great Lakes. At first attaching themselves to other Scandinavian settlements but eventually establishing their own communities mainly in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

The Emigration from Iceland to N-America page gives a list of settlements in North America as follows:

  • Utah: In and around the Salt Lake Valley.  Spanish Fork had a sizable settlement.
  • Minnesota
  • North Dakota
  • Ontario
  • Manitoba
  • Nova Scotia

Emigration Records (Útflytjendur)

Emigration records provide information about date of emigration, enable descendants to determine the village or farm where their ancestors originated. These include special lists of emigrants [Sérstakir Listar um Útflytjendur til Amerika] drawn up at each of the county offices [sýslumaður] from 1876 to 1893, entries and notations in church books, and copies of passenger contracts between emigrants and shipping agents.

100% of the names in these sources have been published in Júníus H. Kristinsson, Vesturfaraskrá 1870-1914. A Record of Emigrants from Iceland to America 1870-1914, Reykjavík : Sagnfrædistofnun Háskóla Íslands, 1983. The original source records have not been filmed.


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