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The Icelandic Roots Podcast

Storytelling Podcasts

Showcasing Icelandic heritage and culture from the past and present through folklore, language, food, literature, and music. Created by volunteers of the non-profit organization, Icelandic Roots.


United States


Showcasing Icelandic heritage and culture from the past and present through folklore, language, food, literature, and music. Created by volunteers of the non-profit organization, Icelandic Roots.




Conversation with Mallory Swanson from the Emigration Centre on Living in Iceland, Icelandic Horses, Skagafjörður’s Nature & Hofsós Stories

Mallory Swanson from the Emigration Centre, Vesturfararsetrið, sits down with Jack for a wide-ranging conversation sharing her journey of connecting with her Icelandic Roots and how these connections led her to living in Iceland full-time. Jack and Mallory delve into the origins and historical significance of the Emigration Centre, uncovering the deep-rooted ties in the charming town of Hofsós. The podcast takes a detour to discuss Icelandic horses and their significance in the Skagafjörður region; along with all the natural beauty of this fjord - which might be the best fjord in all of Iceland. They share stories of helping others discover their Icelandic roots through genealogy at the museum - the magic of connecting individuals with their heritage. The podcast concludes with a forward-looking perspective on genealogy, how future generations will embrace and continue their family history, and the role of genealogy in preserving cultural heritage. Checkout the brand new website for the Emigration Centre: And follow our Blog for more stories of Icelandic History and Culture:


Saga of a Snorri Intern, an Iceland Odyssey - Icelandic Roots Blog Report

In this special bonus episode, Jack shares excerpts from an article he wrote for the Icelandic Roots Blog. The story delves into his captivating journey back to Iceland for the Snorri Internship, unveiling anecdotes of earthquakes, encounters with walruses, and his work with the Emigration Centre at Hofsós. He also narrates fascinating adventures of driving north with Kent Björnsson and chronicles his time under the guidance of Valgeir Þorvaldsson and Mallory Swanson at Vesturfarasetrið. The episode delves into the unique environment of Brimnes, late author Bill Holm's legendary residence, which has ignited Jack's creativity and is inspiring his own writing project in Iceland. Subscribe to our Newsletter to receive compelling stories like these, along with a wealth of historical insights and captivating content from our diverse team of artists, genealogists, and enthusiastic individuals. Visit our Blog to explore the depths of one of the most comprehensive repositories of Icelandic culture available online - follow this link to access our vast collection of stories and articles:


Episode 5 - Icelandic Festival Of Manitoba - Islendingadagurinn

Icelandic Festival Of Manitoba - Islendingadagurinn In this special episode, we dive into the heart of one of North America's oldest and most vibrant ethnic celebrations. The Icelandic Festival of Manitoba, held in the picturesque town of Gimli, Canada. Join us as we take you on a cultural journey through time, exploring the rich history and traditions that make this festival a cherished annual event.It's a gathering that brings together people of all ages, backgrounds, and nationalities to experience the spirit of Iceland right here in Manitoba. From lively music and dancing to traditional Viking-inspired games, there's something for everyone to enjoy. The festival has a long and storied history dating back to 1890, making it one of the oldest ethnic festivals in North America. It all began with the arrival of Icelandic settlers in Gimli, Manitoba, who sought to preserve their cultural heritage while adapting to the Canadian way of life. The festival was born out of a desire to celebrate their Icelandic roots and has since evolved into an annual tradition that attracts visitors from far and wide. Owen and Cass sit down with Marilyn Valgardson, the President of the Icelandic Festival to discuss the upcoming festival this weekend! Details of events, the history, and what to expect are all on the docket! Come and learn about one of Manitobas longest running festivals and one of the biggest Icelandic celebrations outside of Iceland!


Reflections at Brimnes: Emigration Center Stories, Bill Holm’s Legacy, and Icelandic Adventures with Walruses & Earthquakes

Join Jack & Sierra on their Snorri Internship in Hofsos as they reflect on their enchanting time at Brimnes, the summer home of esteemed Western Icelander, Bill Holm. Sierra illuminates the rich tapestry of humanity at the Emigration Center Museum (Vesturfararsetrið), while Jack delves into the profound impact of Bill Holm's writings. Together, they embrace the essence of the Icelandic diaspora, sharing Icelandic connections Rooted within a global community. Further yet, they recount their encounter with a rogue Walrus in Sauðárkrókur and first-hand experience of the Reykjavik earthquakes which led to the recent volcanic eruption. To learn more about Bill Holm, click the links below: Information on the Icelandic Emigration Centre: And discover more Icelandic history & culture with our public newsletter:


Exploring Iceland’s Geology with Erik Schoonover: From Hotdogs to Basalt Igneous Rocks in the Anthropocene Epoch

Interview with PhD Candidate Erik Schoonover discussing all things related to Icelandic geology. Erik was a fellow member of the Snorri program with our cohort in summer 2022. His grandma emigrated to the US from Iceland as part of the Post-WW2 1960’s wave. Listen and learn all about geology (and geological puns), hotdogs in Iceland, more Snorri stories, and an overall enlightening discussion on the natural sciences of Iceland and beyond. From the Holocene Epoch to the Anthropocene, to the Basalt Igneous rocks, this episode is sure to be ground-breaking (there's a geology pun somewhere). Takk fyrir! Erik’s Geology Podcast Recommendation: Planet Geo Podcast Icelandic history, heritage, & culture: Sign up for the Icelandic Roots newsletter: See all of the fun upcoming events on our calendar here:


We Three Snorri’s - Meet Your Hosts: Owen, Jack & Cass share the story of their Icelandic Roots

Get to know your hosts Owen, Jack, and Cass as we dive into the history of Icelandic immigration to North America and discuss what we hope to achieve with this podcast going forward. Join us and discover the life-changing cultural exchange program that brought us together - the Snorri Program - where young people of Icelandic descent from North America and Iceland explore their shared heritage. Whether you're a fellow Snorri alum or simply interested in learning more about Iceland and its people, this episode is a must-listen. Takk fyrir að hlusta, gaman að hitta þig! Sjáumst. Learn More: Icelandic Roots The Snorri Program info


Season 2 Epsiode 1 - Julianna Gudbjartsson (Roberts) and New Iceland

Join us as we dive into the exciting world of Gimli, MB with Julianna Roberts! The director of the New Iceland Heritage museum also happens to be Owen's Mom! New Iceland is the historical term used to describe the Icelandic settlement in Manitoba, (Gimli & Riverton) Canada in the late 19th century. A group of Icelandic immigrants established a community and government in the area now known as Gimli, which became the center of Icelandic culture and heritage in Canada. They faced many challenges including a smallpox epidemic but were able to establish a thriving community based on their shared Icelandic heritage and culture. Today, the community is still active and vibrant, and it continues to celebrate its rich cultural heritage through the now 134th year at the Icelandic festival and other community events throughout the year. New Iceland's relationship with the Canadian government and other neighboring communities developed over time and they did join the province of Manitoba. Julianna Roberts (Gudbjartsson) has been involved in the Icelandic community for her entire life, taking university classes at the University of Manitoba when she was younger, attending the Icelandic festival in Gimli every summer, speaking Icelandic, her passion and knowledge of the culture has spurred her to be a leader in the community, managing the New Iceland Heritage Museum in Gimli, MB.


Sunna Furstenau Intro to Podcast Season 2 - Embarking on a New Journey into Icelandic Heritage

Your three new hosts: Owen Roberts, Jack Plumley and Cass Heigaard, are joined by Sunna Furstenau for a quick introduction to Icelandic Roots and our focus for the new Season of this Podcast. Sunna is a prominent figure in promoting cultural exchange between Icelanders and North Americans. She grew up in Eyford in Thingvalla Township, North Dakota, and always had an interest in family history. In 2003, she connected with Icelandic genealogist Hálfdan Helgason and started helping George Freeman with the genealogy center at the Deuce of August celebration. In 2012, she traveled around Iceland as the INLNA guest speaker and started a blog to document the journey, calling it Icelandic Roots. The following year, Sunna and her husband founded the nonprofit Icelandic Roots, centered around the genealogy database that Hálfdan Helgason had started. Sunna remains deeply involved in various projects, with the goal of preserving and promoting our shared Icelandic heritage. Stay tuned for lots of fun and educational podcast episodes dedicated to preserving and sharing the stories of Icelandic heritage. Visit the Icelandic Roots Website for more


Emigration Investigations with Dave Jonasson and David Johnson

Volunteer Icelandic Roots genealogists Dave & David share their journey in helping to build an impressive database of Icelandic emigration records that tell the stories of thousands of families who left the island.


Jason Doctor - IR Volunteer: The Saga Project

Jason tells us about how the Saga Project is making it easier for Icelandic descendants to connect to the lands of their ancestors through maps and stories in the Icelandic Roots genealogy database. Plus, Natalie gives a PSA on how to watch the new Viking Valhalla series on Netflix. Non-Icelanders can view the Saga Map at: Learn more about Icelandic history, heritage, and culture with our public newsletter: Find the Fitness Challenge details + upcoming events on our calendar: Learn more about the sagas: What is a saga? Flóamanna Saga Fljótsdalur Saga The Saga of Þorsteinn Staff Struck The Saga of the Vopnafjörður Tracing Njáll’s Saga Saga Thing Podcast


Jodi Dunlop (Mise en Scene) - Artist / Musician

Jodi Dunlop is an artist and musician from Gimli/Winnipeg, Manitoba. She shares her experiences growing up in Gimli - the heart of New Iceland, working for the New Iceland Heritage Museum and the Lögberg-Heimskringla (Canada's oldest ethnic newspaper still printing) as well as her journey into music. Her band, Mise en Scene, was named Rock Artist of the Year in 2021 at the Western Canadian Music Awards. Their new music and upcoming shows can be found on their website: Learn more about Icelandic culture, heritage, history, and language on our website Find upcoming events on our calendar:


Volcano - Anniversary Episode

March 19th, 2022 is the one-year anniversary of the Geldingadalsgos volcanic eruption on the Reykjanes Peninsula in Iceland. This capricious volcano captivated a global audience around the world as 24-hour webcams captured the changing nature of the fissures and lava flow. This episode features interviews from some of our friends, family, and volunteers who had the opportunity to see the volcano up close with their own eyes. Join us as we hear them describe their experiences and impressions. Read more about the volcano: Learn more about Icelandic history, heritage, and culture with our public newsletter: Find upcoming events on our calendar:


Nancy Marie Brown - American Author

In this episode, Will interviews American Author, Nancy Marie Brown, author of numerous books about Viking history and culture, including her most recent novel, The Real Valkyrie: The Hidden History of Viking Warrior Women. This episode's featured song is "Love and War" by Mise en Scene. Learn more about Icelandic culture, heritage, history, and language on our website Find upcoming events on our calendar:


Wayne Gudmundson - American Photographer / Author

In this episode, Will interviews renowned North Dakota photographer retired professor, and author, Wayne Gudmundson. Together they discuss the jigsaw puzzle that is Iceland's history and the complex story of immigration to North America. Hear excerpts from Wayne's new book, "A Song for Liv", where he chronicles his Icelandic family's journey to North Dakota. Wayne's book, Song for Liv, is available for purchase from the North Dakota State University: Learn more about Icelandic heritage, history, culture, and language on our website: Find upcoming Icelandic events on our calendar:


Bill Holm - Icelandic-American Poet and Essayist

In this episode, we look at the works of Bill Holm, a poet and essayist born on a farm north of Minneota, Minnesota. Holm is the author of twelve books of poems and essays covering topics about life in rural Minnesota, American society, and Iceland. For more information on Icelandic heritage, culture, and genealogy, connect with us on our website and find us on social media as “Icelandic Roots”.


Káinn - The Poet Born to Keep Tears at Bay

In this episode, we are looking at the life and legacy of the Icelandic-American poet Kristján Níels Júlíus Jónsson, aka K.N. Júlíus or Káinn (pronounced cow-en). Podcast hosts Will and Natalie discuss the timeline of his life and discuss the interesting stories that have lingered about him. We also talk to Icelandic musician, writer, and actor, Bragi Valdimar Skúlason, about his connection to Káinn’s poetry and his band, Baggalútur’s latest album, which features a full list of Kaínn’s poems turned to song. Listen to the end to hear “Sólskinið í Dakota” at the end. For more information on Icelandic heritage, culture, and genealogy, connect with us on our website and find us on social media as “Icelandic Roots”.


Let us introduce ourselves..

In this episode, we introduce you to Icelandic Roots: who we are, what we do, and why we started a podcast. Volunteers Jackie and Natalie take turns interviewing Icelandic Roots founder and director, Sunna Furstenau about her love of her Icelandic heritage, how she turned her hobby of genealogy into a thriving non-profit, and her vision for the future of the organization. The featured song of this episode is "So Cold" by Sigrun Stella, so listen to the end!