Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Bump into your Icelandic relatives and ancestors using this new app

Iceland has a small population of around 320,000, most of which are descended from the 9th century Viking settlers. The size of the population and availability of records has enabled the genealogy of the country to be captured in a most extraordinarily detailed way

Iceland has a long history of record keeping and it is this that helped in the creation of a database, which was compiled using  variety of resources such as church records, census data, family archives. All of this geneaology information has been captured on 'Islendingabok', or 'Book of Icelanders'. This is an online database, which was set up in 1997. It holds a large proportion of the whole country's  genealogical information going back 1,200 years and includes information on a staggering 95% of the population from the last 300 years.


Ref: AWNS-19410716-29-5, Iceland, Sir George Grey Special Collections
Building on this achievement, software engineering students from the University of Iceland  have created an Android app as part of a competition for new and creative uses of the database.

The app has been very successful but has also raised media interest because of one of its functions. This is the 'Incest Prevention Alarm', which allows people to literally bump mobiles and tell if the new object of their desires is too closely related for comfort. Other less controversial features include a birthday calendar. The ease of accessing the geneaological information on the go through a mobile is however the main benefit of this development.

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