It was the common man documenting his own history," said Kari Stefansson, chief executive of Icelandic biotech company de CODE Genetics, which ran the contest behind the app.The Book of Icelanders database was developed in 1997 by de CODE and software entrepreneur Fridrik Skulason.Compiled using census data, church records, family archives and a host of other information sources, it claims to have information on 95 per cent of all Icelanders who have lived in the last 300 years.

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"Everyone has heard the story of going to a family event and running into a girl you hooked up with some time ago," said Einar Magnusson, a graphic designer in Iceland's capital, Reykjavik.

"It's not a good feeling when you realize that girl is a second cousin.

People may think it's funny, but (the app) is a necessity." The Islendiga-App — "App of Icelanders" — is an idea that may only be possible in Iceland, where most of the population shares descent from a group of 9th-century Viking settlers, and where an online database holds genealogical details of almost the entire population.

You meet someone, there's chemistry, and then come the introductory questions: What's your name? A new smartphone app is on hand to help Icelanders avoid accidental incest.

In Iceland, a country with a population of 320,000 where most everyone is distantly related, inadvertently kissing cousins is a real risk.

The app lets users "bump" phones, and emits a warning alarm if they are closely related."Bump the app before you bump in bed," says the catchy slogan.The app was created by three University of Iceland software engineering students for a contest calling for "new creative uses" of the Islendingabok, or Book of Icelanders, an online database of residents and their family trees stretching back 1,200 years.Arnar Freyr Adalsteinsson, one of the trio, said it allows any two Icelanders to see how closely related they are, simply by touching phones."A small but much talked about feature is the loosely translated 'Incest Prevention Alarm' that users can enable through the options menu which notifies the user if the person he's bumping with is too closely related," Adalsteinsson said. Their descendants built a small, relatively homogenous and — crucially — well-organized country, home to the world's oldest parliament and devoted to thorough record-keeping.It's the latest twist on a long-standing passion for genealogy in Iceland, a volcanically active island in the North Atlantic that was largely unpopulated before Norse settlers arrived in A. "The Icelandic sagas, written about 1,000 years ago, all begin with page after page of genealogy.