Ireland Reaching Out tracking the Irish diaspora can help your Irish-American research. Ireland Reaching Out is a Ireland-based genealogical project, designed to reach out to descendants from that country.

In a recent New York Times article, the project director, Mike Feerick, stated, “The project is based on a very simple idea: instead of waiting for people of Irish heritage to trace their roots, we go the other way.”

Ireland Reaching Out (Ireland XO) is a volunteer-based, non-profit initiative which builds vibrant, lasting links between the global Irish Diaspora and parishes of origin in Ireland.

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.

Since 2009, Ireland Reaching Out (Ireland XO) has helped thousands of Irish people discover the history of their families and reconnect with their parish of origin.    Whether you have emigrated recently or have never been to Ireland, we welcome Irish people from all over the world and those who share an affinity for our rich and varied cultural heritage.   We are a community with no geographical boundaries, connected first through bonds of people and place, and then developed through our shared celebration of culture and friendship, both online and offline.

Of the estimated 70 million people of Irish descent living outside of Ireland today, many are unsure of where in Ireland they originate from, or if there are any living relatives still there.  We aim to help these people discover the story of their family history and reconnect them with the Ireland of today.

I learned today that there’s a word in Gaelic for emigrants — deorai — which means exile or wanderer and those who left will always have an Irish identity regardless of location. That idea has made its way into Ireland Reaching Out and the Irish Diaspora. “I want Ireland to start thinking of itself not as a physical place, but as a people,” Mr. Feerick said, and he wants it to start acting like it, too, through local projects within Ireland Reaching Out to identify specific parishes.

Register here to participate in Ireland Reaching Out.

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