Initiative that helps Longford people to reach out to descendants

An exciting new initiative in genealogy is being launched at Longford Library on March 5 next by Henry Healy, a relative of American President, Barack Obama.

An exciting new initiative in genealogy is being launched at Longford Library on March 5 next by Henry Healy, a relative of American President, Barack Obama.

The new initiative, entitled ‘Longford Reaching Out’ aims to enable local communities to connect with descendants of emigrants who left their localities in times gone by.

Speaking to the Leader, Ray Hogan, Chairperson, Longford Reaching Out Steering Group explained that the new initiative was part of the “broader ‘Ireland Reaching Out’ project”, a notion, he added, that was based on “reverse genealogy”.

“This involves people conducting research to identify those individuals or families who left the county,” he added. “In that way contact can be made with the descendants of many, using online genealogy message boards and networks such as county associations. The project is parish-based and the ultimate aim is to encourage people to visit their ancestral home and to develop links with it.”

A key element to the project includes training a number of people in genealogy in each parish. “They will deal with genealogical enquiries and ‘meet and greet’ visitors,” Mr Horgan continued. “In that sense, Longford Reaching Out is very much a community-based project and it can be seen as an extension of existing community activities.”

The project will be run under the auspices of the County Longford Community and Voluntary Forum and the steering group includes representatives of the County Longford Community and Voluntary Forum; Longford Genealogy Centre; County Longford Historical Society; Longford Community Resources Ltd (LCRL) and Longford County Council.

“We have the necessary expertise to lead this project and will organise a training programme in genealogy and local history, with a pilot beginning after Easter,” Mr Hogan added. “It is our objective that later in the year, there will be a parish administrator in each parish who will put up a parish profile and other information on the page. That way those with links to the area will get a feel for it. This will give the diaspora an opportunity to re-connect with their parish of origin and will help to boost tourism and bring economic benefits to the parish.”

The launch kicks off at 7:30pm – more information can be obtained by logging onto www.irelandxo.com,