2005 Venice Film Festival - Drawing Restraint 9 - Photocall

Birth Name: Björk Guðmundsdóttir

Place of Birth: Reykjavik, Iceland

Date of Birth: November 21, 1965

Ethnicity: Icelandic

Björk is an Icelandic singer and actress. She is the daughter of Guðmundur Gunnarsson, an electrician and union leader, and Hildur Rúna Hauksdóttir, an activist. She has a son with her former husband, Þór Eldon, and a daughter with her former partner, American artist Matthew Barney.

Aside from Icelandic, she has said that she has distant Irish ancestry. It is not clear if this Irish ancestry has been verified/documented.

Some people on the internet have said that Björk could be of indigenous Inuit or Sami ethnicity, but there is no evidence of this being the case. Inuit or Sami people are not common in Iceland.

Björk’s patrilineal ancestry can be traced back to her seventh great-grandfather, Jón “Eldri” Þorgilsson.

Björk’s paternal grandfather is Gunnar Guðmundsson (the son of Guðmundur Jóhannesson and Kristín Gunnarsdóttir). Björk’s great-grandfather Guðmundur was the son of Jóhannes Guðmundsson and Ingibjörg Eysteinsdóttir. Kristín was the daughter of Gunnar Kristófersson and Kristín Guðmundsdóttir.

Björk’s paternal grandmother was Hallfríður Guðmundsdóttir (the daughter of Guðmundur “Briskó” Jónsson and Rósa Bachmann Jónsdóttir). Björk’s great-grandfather Guðmundur was the son of Jón Jónsson and Vilborg Guðlaugsdóttir. Rósa was the daughter of Jón Bachmann Jósefsson and Hallfríður Einarsdóttir.

Björk’s maternal grandfather was Haukur Freygarð Guðjónsson (the son of Guðjón Guðjónsson and Sveinbjörg Jónsdóttir). Guðjón was the son of Guðjón. He was later put into the foster care of Sveinn Gestsson and Una Þórarinsdóttir. Sveinbjörg was the daughter of Jón Kristjánsson and Geirlaug Sveinsdóttir.

Björk’s maternal grandmother was Guðrún Ásmundsdóttir (born Helgudóttir, the daughter of an unknown father and Helga Guðbjörg Helgadóttir). Guðrún was adopted by Ásmundur Gestsson and Sigurlaug Pálsdóttir. Helga was the daughter of Helgi Andrésson and Helga Björnsdóttir.

Björk’s matrilineal ancestry can be traced back to her fifth great-grandmother, Olufa Nicolausdóttir.

Sources: Genealogy of Bjork –

Genealogies of Björk (focusing on her father’s side) –

Obituary of Björk’s maternal granduncle, Andrés Ásmundsson –

Björk’s maternal great-grandfather, Guðjón Guðjónsson, on the 1890 Icelandic census –

Björk’s maternal great-grandmother, Sveinbjörg Jónsdóttir, on the 1901 Icelandic census –

Photo by PrPhotos


Curious about ethnicity

121 Responses

  1. pookerella says:

    Icelandic people all have Asian ethnicity. (BTW, Iceland IS NOT SCANDINAVIA. Only Finland, Sweden and Norway are.) But all people who live in the Northern region, including Scandinavia, Greenland, Northern Russia, Siberia, the Baltic states, and to some extent, Poland, all have Asian ethnicity, even if it’s only a drop. DEAL WITH IT.

    • madman says:

      1. What does “have Asian ethnicity” mean? If it’s less than 1%, would you still say they are part Asian? It gets a little ridiculous at that point. If you go low enough, everybody is everything.
      2. Since you specified with “the Northern region”, I assume you’re talking about Samis. Their origin is disputed, and even if it is Asian, they are as Asian as Finnish people today (but I guess you’d consider them Asian too).
      3. Iceland has no indigenous population, and was not settled by Samis, so how they could have any Asian ancestry is beyond me.
      4. Finland is not part of Scandinavia, but Denmark is.
      5. Why do you think it would bother anybody to be part Asian? That’s some inferiority complex right there.

  2. madman says:

    In my opinion, “distant Irish” is redundant. Genetically, Icelandic people are a mix of Nordic and Celtic peoples. I’m sure that was what she was referring to, rather than to having a more recent Irish ancestor.

  3. neiltennant says:

    MOST PEOPLE think she is asian

    ethnicity is strange

    MY AUNT IS also afghan and from north afghanistan and somedays she is mistaken for russian and sometimes even for mixed chinese with russian

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