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Identified Icelandic "cousins" - now etiquette help, please?
Posted by: Camae Johnson Chittim (ID *****6760) Date: March 30, 2014 at 11:21:24
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I have happily managed to track down TONS of names of people directly descended from sister (Helga Joakimsdottir) of my great great grandmother (Sigurdur Joakimsdottir). They exchanged letters, which I have (so I feel like I have something to offer "cousins.")

I've found so many descendants, I might not even have time to try to track down descendants of other siblings (who also remained in Iceland).

But here's my delicate question: How do I contact these people, and let them know that if they're interested (and ONLY if they're interested) we could say hello when we're in Iceland for a week this summer?

One website suggested Facebook. And I have found many on Facebook. But I am a stranger contacting them - there's no getting around that. I know that my guard would probably be up, if a stranger contacted me. How do they know that I am who I say I am? Not everyone will be terrified - but enough could that I could get blocked on Facebook. (and that's kind of humiliating)

Is there a genealogy "club" in Iceland - I could contact, to see if any of these people are members (and therefore possibly interested in connecting with cousins overseas?) I realize many people in iceland only want to go back to the 800's.. but surely someone else out there has saved the letters from Sigridur Joakimsdottir (married name Sigurdsson) -- just as I have saved the letters of Helga Joakimsdottir?

I know of the center in Hofsos. Should I contact them and see if they might contact a few people, if I give them names and the family tree?

I am already feeling a little discouraged - because a few legitimate relatives have "flagged" me on Facebook. And I was really trying to come off in a non-creepy non-threatening way, giving them the option of not responding if not interested in genealogy.

Maybe I'm going about it all wrong? Are Icelanders very wary, unless introduced by another family member? Well, you could probably say that about people anywhere. But I'm sort of in trouble, if that's the case - because the one relative I've managed to get in contact with seems to either be a) put off b) computer challenged c) terrified d) very busy e) all of the above… and I will not bother him further. I don't blame them a bit. I would be wary, too. But right now, I don't know of many options. I'm not in Iceland, so I can't look people up in the phone book and send a non-threatening card of greetings (and right now, I'm doubting my ability to get even that right).

If my trip were 5 years from now, i could leisurely send an email or request here and there, letting months pass in between (to remove "scary stalker" impression). But we're leaving in August, my mother having given this trip to me and my children (and her) for Christmas. And you really need reservations in Iceland, so if I find out I have relatives who aren't going to flip out over a simple request for coffee in Isofjorder - I need to make reservations there, and the Wesfjords are like driving to Alaska. (not really much of an exaggeration. I'm in Seattle) So I need to get planning.

Ugh. Anyone done this recently? Any thoughts on how to contact and convey I truly don't want anything from them? (in a nice way)

Thanks for your help. This is new territory for me. As an ordinary, married, middle-class mother -- I'm used to my letters being received without a hint of trepidation. But Facebook is so random - I can't blame anyone for having their guard up.

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