Iceland: land of elves, lesbian prime ministers, and accidentally getting to third base with your brother. Okay, the last bit is probably not true, but apparently dating within such a small population does, in fact, pose the problem of unintentionally hooking up with a relative. Enter Íslendingabók — which means "the Book of Icelanders — a site that uses genealogical records to let you know just how related you are to the new honey you're seeing. (Or if you're related to Bjork. And that's not just an easy Iceland joke — people legit use the site to do that. I know I would.) This kind of sounds made-up, because in general you kind of… know your family members, but here's an actual Icelander who insists it's a real issue:
Elin Edda says it happened to her friend. “She really liked this guy and then found out they had the same great-grandparents,” she says. “It really freaked her out and she broke it off. It was just too weird.”
Edda clarifies, however, that such mishaps only happen in families that aren’t close-knit. “It could never happen in my family. I know everybody,” she says.
When she meets an Icelander she doesn’t know, she asks the same question every else here does: “Hverra manna ert þú?” (Who are your people?)
Breaking up with someone because you share a pair of great-grandparents seems a bit extreme, but I guess maybe I have weird standards/was raised in a royal European family? I guess to each their own. (Pun completely intended.)
The site's been around for just over a decade, and it's still widely used. Of course, sometimes there are things you don't want to know, like the revelation that you're related to every person you've ever dated. (This has happened to, for instance, Alli Thorgrimsson, whose last name is the best thing I've ever heard.) The service sounds useful, but maybe instead you could just call your aunt and uncle every now and then and ask how their kids are doing. It feels like the smarter plan.