Ireland Reaching Out has a volunteer network that covers the entire island of Ireland. Find out why we need volunteers, and what volunteering involves, with our list of Frequently Asked Questions. If you think that you would like to be involved, fill in the form at the bottom of the page and we will be in touch.
Why does Ireland Reaching Out need volunteers?
Ireland Reaching Out Volunteers form a local connection with people who may be descended from their area and need assistance in tracing their genealogical connections within the locality. They also represent a local link for diaspora who may no longer have any living relations in the area but are still interested in maintaining contact with the community of their ancestors.
Why should I volunteer for my local community?
Volunteers help establish links between your community and its global diaspora, living all over the world. This can provide long-term social, economic and cultural benefits for your local community, as well as being a great way to meet new people, some of whom you may even be related to! (This happens more often than you might think!)
What skills do I need to volunteer for Ireland Reaching Out?
The most important attribute of anyone who wishes to volunteer with Ireland Reaching Out is a genuine desire to reconnect diaspora with their place of origin in Ireland. Many of our volunteers are genealogy enthusiasts and have a love of local history. Others are passionate about their local community and love to welcome home descendants of the area and show them around.
Skills that come in handy are:
Basic computer skills (e.g. How to use email. How to use the internet)
Family history research skills
Historical research skills
Good written communication skills
Good general knowledge of the local community, or another community in Ireland
Familiarity with the local family history and heritage resources available in the community. E.g. the local library, a historical society.
Do I need to be an expert in Irish family history?
No, you don’t. An interest in genealogy is certainly an advantage, and there is lots of help on the IrelandXO website regarding family history. IrelandXO volunteers are not expected to conduct professional-level research when answering family history questions on the message board. Most queries are looking to connect with someone local to the area, who can possibly help them with information that can’t be found online.
What different roles exist for Ireland Reaching Out volunteers?
Family History Advisor: offers genealogical guidance to those with family history queries in the local area or county
Digital Content Contributor: shares family history and heritage information about the locality on the IrelandXO website
Meet and Greeter: is a local ambassador for the community, welcoming visiting diaspora to the area
What will I be expected to do, as an Ireland Reaching Out volunteer?
Depending on what role you prefer, (and you can perform all 3 roles) you can volunteer in the following ways:
Family History Advisor
Join your Civil Parish group on IrelandXO and answer queries on the local Message Board.
Most queries relate to family history connections with the local area but some can simply be a request for local information. Guidelines on how to answer queries are provided in the Volunteer Handbook.
Digital Content Contributor
Share any local knowledge you have, or local research you have conducted, by adding digital content to your community’s IrelandXO pages.
This can be information about your own ancestors, prominent historical figures of the area, local buildings or places, or events that happened in the locality’s history.
Perhaps you are a member of a local heritage or historical group that has produced research over the years. Sharing local historical information online can be great way to introduce it to a wider audience and to connect with those descended from the community, who no longer have any access to local information.
Meet and Greeter
Ireland Reaching Out Volunteers can welcome returning descendants to the local area, showing them the local graveyard where their ancestors may be buried and if possible, introducing them to living relatives. Ireland Reaching Out volunteers create a physical link between descendants of the locality and the community living there today. These can form lasting relationships at a local level and can create benefits for the community for years, and future generations, to come.
What training will I receive if I decide to register as a volunteer?
All training is conducted online. There are a number of user videos available and a volunteer handbook to get you started. There is also a free online genealogy course that we advise all new volunteers to take.
One-to-one training is available in the form of Zoom calls and these can be set up at your own convenience.
What support is provided to Ireland Reaching Out volunteers?
All Ireland Reaching Out Volunteers have a main point of contact that deals with any queries they may have. This contact is either the Volunteer Coordinator or a local Partner organisation.
Regular email communications are sent to volunteers with supporting information and advice.
How much time will I be expected to dedicate to my volunteer duties?
As much or as little as you have available. Generally speaking, current volunteers are volunteering between 1 and 3 hours per week. However, there is no obligation to spend a minimum amount of time, as it is dependent on how many queries or visits there are in a particular area.