In a country with only 300,000 people, the risk of two people who like each other being related is quite high. Throw in the absence of last names, and the confusion only increases. This is precisely the case in Iceland today. Luckily, they have a website that keeps them from committing incest.
So when a man and a woman begin dating in Iceland, the first thing they ask each other is, “Hverra manna ert þú?” which means, “Who are your people?” Obviously, none of them want to end up marrying their cousin. Even so, widespread rumors do the rounds about someone who knows someone who found out too late that the object of their interest was in fact, a long-lost cousin. Fortunately, a website called Íslendingabók exists to help Icelanders with the situation that almost seems unique to the isolated country. Íslendingabók, which means the Book of Icelanders, is a genealogical website that carries a huge database of the people of Iceland and has been around for almost over a decade. When it was first launched, it turned out to be an instant hit.
So to avoid the uncomfortable possibility of incest, all Icelanders have to do is put in their name in along with the name of a prospective partner. The database will promptly return information of the family ties between the two people. The service is especially relevant in modern times when many people have moved out of villages and settled in cities and urban dwellings, making the possibility of recollecting a long list of ancestors all the more difficult.
Photo © Delgoff
Íslendingabók carries information about almost every single Icelander since the 18th century and is completely free to use. Not only can people check out their relationships with each other, they can also retrieve complete information of anybody who shares a grandparent with them. Needless to say, people have found several innovative uses for this website, apart from dating. The most popular, is finding out if they are related to celebrities. It turns out that a lot of Icelanders are related to Björk, the hugely popular Icelandic singer.
via Global Post