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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.




Nelson Gerrard: An Interview with a Historian on Icelandic Heritage

Recorded within the historic walls of Éngimýri, this podcast is a kaffi-fueled discourse with the great Nelson Gerrard, a Manitoba-based historian, genealogist, and author of Icelandic River Saga and The Icelandic Heritage. Our conversation delves into the Icelandic immigrant experience in North America, weaving together genealogy, language, and the allure of myth in a captivating exploration of our roots. In Part 1, Nelson discusses the restoration of historic houses with the Icelandic River Heritage Sites and shares insights from his time living and working at the Emigration Centre in Hofsós, Iceland. Nelson illuminates his lifelong dedication to genealogy - a fascination that first gripped him at the tender age of 12. Listen in to find out what sparked his interest in Icelandic history and learn the role pride has in understanding one's heritage. We also glean insights into his book-writing process and so much more - be sure to tune in for Part 2. Explore further at And for additional learnings check out our blog


The Genealogist’s Bookshelf: Unveiling Family Tales & Icelandic Roots with Heather Lytwyn

Heather Lytwyn is a dedicated genealogy enthusiast who uncovers the fascinating history of her family in what she calls 'Virtual Family Reunion.' Heather, with over 30 years of teaching English, now leads the Icelandic Roots Book Club. The Book Club has featured noteworthy authors like first lady Eliza Reid, Alfreda Jonsdottir, Nancy Marie Brown, and translator Philip Roughton. And has covered works by Halldór Laxness, Hannah Kent, and Bill Holm. Tune in for a captivating discussion on Icelandic literature, community building, and the future of Icelandic Roots. Follow this link for more on our Book Club:


Viking Saga: Zachary Sigurdson on History, Reenactment, and Writing Books

In an engaging rendezvous, Owen Roberts reconnects with his fellow Snorri Alumni, Zach Sigurdson. In their conversation they discuss Viking History and the reaching of North America (Vinland) along with personal tales of family history. Zach is an author & Viking reenactment enthusiast from Winnipeg, Manitoba. His passion for Viking culture and history shines through, making this episode a riveting journey through time and heritage. For more about Zach and to explore his work, visit his website at


Mallory Swanson on Emigration, Horses, and Heritage

In this episode, Jack welcomes Mallory Swanson from the Emigration Centre, Vesturfararsetrið, to share her personal journey of connecting to her Icelandic Roots, leading her to make Iceland her home. Together, Jack and Mallory explore the origins and historical significance of the Emigration Centre, uncovering its profound ties in the picturesque town of Hofsós. The podcast also takes an enchanting detour into the world of Icelandic horses, celebrating their importance in the Skagafjörður region. Dive into the natural beauty of this stunning fjord, often regarded as the jewel of Iceland's fjords. Discover the magic of helping individuals connect with their Icelandic heritage through genealogy at the museum, as Jack and Mallory share heartwarming stories. Lastly, the episode offers a forward-looking perspective on genealogy, discussing how future generations will continue to embrace their family history and the vital 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 Report by Jack Plumley

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:


Icelandic Festival Of Manitoba - Islendingadagurinn with Marilyn Valgardson

In this special episode, we delve 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 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 people of all ages, backgrounds, and nationalities together to experience the spirit of Iceland right here in Manitoba, featuring lively music, dancing, traditional Viking-inspired games, and something for everyone to enjoy. Dating back to 1890, the festival is one of North America's oldest ethnic celebrations. It began with Icelandic settlers in Gimli, Manitoba, seeking to preserve their cultural heritage while adapting to Canadian life. The festival was born out of their desire to celebrate their Icelandic roots and has evolved into an annual tradition attracting visitors from far and wide. Owen and Cass chat with Marilyn Valgardson, the President of the Icelandic Festival, to discuss the upcoming festival this weekend. Details of events, history, and what to expect are all on the agenda. Join us and discover one of Manitoba's longest-running festivals and one of the biggest Icelandic celebrations outside of Iceland!


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

Join Jack & Sierra Jenson 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:


Iceland Geology with Erik Schoonover: From Hotdogs to Basalt 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). 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

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


Julianna Gudbjartsson (Roberts) on New Iceland Heritage Museum in Gimli Manitoba

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! Discover the legacy of New Iceland, where Icelandic settlers thrived despite challenges. Today, they celebrate 134 years of cultural heritage through events like the Icelandic festival. Julianna Roberts, with her lifelong involvement in the Icelandic community, now manages the New Iceland Heritage Museum in Gimli, MB.


Sunna Furstenau - 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 - The Saga Project: Maps, Stories, and Icelandic Heritage

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”.


Introduction to the Icelandic Roots Podcast with Sunna Furstenau

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!