WITH almost everyone currently in lockdown there is no better time for families to start researching their Irish heritage together.
That’s according to an organisation which specialises in connecting people of Irish descent with their Irish origins and has launched a new initiative encouraging young people to research their family tree.
The Irish Government’s Ireland Reaching Out (Ireland XO) network announced their Children’s Family Tree initiative earlier this month.
The free service offers a template, with tips and resources to help young people and their families research their heritage while in lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Diaspora Minister Ciarán Cannon is encouraging as many people as possible to give it a go, particularly at a time where there is so much worry and anxiety within homes.
“I know that, in particular, many children in our communities around the world have been affected by the crisis and are confined to home,” he explained.
“I would like to recommend an initiative that Ireland Reaching Out have developed, a Children’s Family Tree.
“This allows children to connect with their Irish heritage and understand their history.
“It provides an opportunity for families self-isolating at home to explore their genealogy and bring them into contact with their extended family members in Ireland.”
The Ireland Reaching Out programme, which offers free online genealogy services, has now made a Children’s Family Tree Template available on their website - which you can print off and have fun filling in using their resources.
They explain: “A family tree template is a great way to teach kids about the fun of family history and the way that different generations of the family are connected to each other, especially over a long period of time.
“With many families looking for new and interesting activities that can be done from home, [we have] created a Family Tree Template aimed at introducing younger household members to their family history.
“It outlines basic research techniques and recommends collaborating with older generations of the family, through the internet or over the phone, if they cannot be together at this time.”
For those who feel like they don’t know where to start, the organisation has also included a selection of tips that will help children, and adults, along the way.
They state: “Filling in your family tree is a bit like solving a big puzzle – and each puzzle is different for every family. You will have to do some detective work, so remember to take notes and keep your eyes and ears open for clues that well help you discover the names that you are looking for.
“Remember, don’t expect to be able to fill in your tree straight away – but every time you find a new name, it will lead you to discovering more about your family and where you come from.”
Find the Children’s Family Tree template and research resources here.