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Ireland Reaching Out

Have you checked Ireland Reaching Out or as it's known online, Ireland XO? The idea behind this website is to connect the Irish Diaspora to their place of origin in Ireland. It is a volunteer network and another place to make a connection to people living in the place where your ancestor was born. According to their website, "The programme is based on a simple idea; reverse genealogy. Instead of waiting for people of Irish descent to trace their roots, Ireland XO volunteers worldwide are networking with people of Irish descent in their local areas, helping to build bridges between the present and the past by connecting people with the home parishes of their ancestors."

You do need to "join" the site (free) in order to be able to share information. Why do you want to do this? It's another social networking place to connect to the locality in Ireland where you may have relatives still living. It's also a place where you may meet cousins, who like you, are looking for that connection back to Ireland. Even if you don't find a cousin, you may be able to begin a conversation with a volunteer from the area with local knowledge, an important aspect of Irish research. Also, once you're logged in, by clicking on "My Ireland XO" you'll be able to quickly access information you have uploaded to the site. You'll also find links to new information for the counties and parishes you have joined (i.e., places where you had ancestors).

There are multiple parts to the website. You may decide to begin by checking out the Message Boards. You can search by surname, but unless you have an unusual name, you should begin by filtering the information by County and Parish. There are 230 Daly posts, but only one in Kilvine parish of Mayo (the one I entered). Like all volunteer sites, some locations are more active than others. Placing your query might begin a conversation with a local person to help move your research along.

You can do the same by clicking on Ancestors. These are profiles that have been uploaded by other members. You can search by name or by locality (same caveat as above). Again, I like the locality search so when reading you might find your ancestor listed as a collateral...perhaps a brother or sister of the person being profiled. If you've done cluster research on your family, you might recognize another surname.

I'd encourage you to put up a profile for your ancestors. Genealogy is all about making connections, whether it be by letter, email, Facebook, DNA or other social media such as Ireland XO. I've mentioned in the past how, after blogging about a female line which was giving me a problem, I was contacted by a person from Dublin who had come across my blog and knew the family back in Mayo. He put me in touch with my husband's third cousin who has been a great help to me. When visiting Ireland, he's also taken me around the area and introduced me to other cousins still living there. That is priceless. If I hadn't put the information out there, it never would have happened. I have added my John Daly to the site, but this is a reminder to me, to add my other ancestors.

Are you planning to travel to Ireland (after COVID)? If so, you might be interested in two different parts of the website. Ireland XO offers a Meet and Greet where a local person might be available to take you around the area. Take my word for it, unless you are used to driving on the left, having someone else do the driving so you can see the area is a big benefit! As you begin your planning, reach out on the message boards to the local people and check out the Connections page. Another place to check is the Local Guides. These are created locally and you may be lucky and find some information.

Ireland XO has recently updated their site and created a video to help you get started. The one thing I would warn you about is the amount of advertising on the site (remember the site is free so they have to make money somehow). Make sure when you click, you're staying on the Ireland XO site and not moving off someplace else. Notice on the Ancestors page above, there is a "Public Records Search" box. That's an ad and it's going to take you off to another site (which likely is a pay site).

Happy Hunting and Stay Safe!

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