Genealogy bringing generations together


A RECENT family history project in Fermanagh has helped bridge generational divides, introduce older people to the positive uses of modern technology, and helped younger people realise the vast knowledge the older generation have to offer them.
The Intergenerational Genealogy Project, run by Frank McHugh from Fermanagh Genealogy and FACT (Fermanagh and Armagh Connected Together), recently ended following a series of workshops in Lisnaskea.
“We brought together six adults and six children, who in some cases were related but not all,” explained Mr McHugh.
“For example, we had a great-grandmother and a great-grandson, while we had another pair who weren’t related but the older person knew the area where the younger person’s family were from, and remembered their family members too.”
Mr McHugh said the aim of the project, which received Big Lottery funding, was for the younger members to open up the world of technology in genealogy research to the older members, and as well as educating the younger participants on the vast knowledge they older participants could offer.
“The younger people know the technology, and the older people have the knowledge,” he said. “That was what we were trying to tap into.
“It helped breakdown barriers, and the young people could see the knowledge the older generation have.
“It was a shot in the dark, we didn’t know if it would work, but it did. The aim is to go back four generations, to the early part of the 19th century.”
Mr McHugh, who is a former school teacher and runs educational programmes at Enniskillen Castle, said the project had been “a bit of a pilot scheme” but had turned out to be a great success. One pair even found a family link to the Titanic, which they had been previously unaware of. It is now planned to host a similar project in Armagh.
For those interested in researching their own family history, Fermanagh Genealogy will be holding an event at Enniskillen Castle as part of European Heritage Open Days this weekend.
Running from 1.30pm to 4.30pm tomorrow, Saturday, September 10, at the castle visitor centre, people can find out how to trace their family history and fill out a family tree, and will have the chance to work with a genealogy volunteer to access their family records.
Volunteers will show participants how to access the 1901 and 1911 census, search their roots in Irish birth and death records, search the Griffiths Valuation and the Revised Books, showing a record of land ownership from 1859 to the late 1920s, research military records, find information on townlands, search church records online, access the National Library Catholic Registers, search newspaper archives, and much more.
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