Ireland Reaching Out (IrelandXO) is a non-profit organisation that has been helping people of Irish descent to reconnect with their ancestors’ place of origin since 2010.
The organisation is founded on a vast network of local volunteers, representing the 32 counties, who have a wealth of knowledge with regard to local records and who provide local genealogical expertise.
Tell us a little about the ideas behind Ireland Reaching Out.
Genealogy is one of the top hobbies in the world and Irish genealogy in particular is very popular as more than 70 million people worldwide are estimated to have Irish ancestry. Ireland Reaching Out has built up a robust reputation for helping people navigate the vast amount of family history information online and in doing so has developed a large body of expert advice for those interested in finding out more about their Irish ancestry.
How did you come across Alison, and why did you choose to publish with Alison?
Ireland Reaching Out have relied on Alison to upskill and train staff members in various Microsoft products, such as Excel. Alison is such an intuitive platform, and has such a wide variety of topics, we felt that it was the perfect platform for sharing our genealogy knowledge with a wider audience, and also providing a repository of guidance for our established members, should they feel the need to brush up on their family history skills.
What is the benefit of working with Alison?
Alison allows you to build a course with the content you have already developed, rather than have to create new content specifically for the purposes of online learning. Working with Alison also brings awareness of our IrelandXO.com platform to a wider audience, as well as providing our content for free, which is in keeping with our non-profit and volunteer-led policy of helping as many people as possible to reconnect with their Irish place of origin.
What advice do you have for prospective publishers on Alison?
Do a few Alison courses first. Each is unique and you may find a style that fits your particular type of content, which you can then learn from.
What advice do you have for Alison’s learners?
Focus on the individual topics and not the whole course. Each journey starts with a single step so enjoy the process and celebrate every new piece of knowledge and how it enables you to go further.
Tell us a bit about your forthcoming course, Introduction to Irish Genealogy.
Our content has been developed hand-in-hand with some of the top genealogy practitioners in Ireland. The course is designed to introduce key concepts and also to teach research strategies, so you can not only understand what to do but become hands on while you are completing the course. Ireland Reaching Out will assume that our learners know little or nothing about Irish family history, which is why we explain key concepts such as ‘parish’ and ‘townland’, which can often be overlooked by other genealogical learning sources. Not only does this course teach you the fundamentals about Irish family history, it also enables you to create and share profiles of your ancestors online, as well as providing you with a completely free forum for asking questions of the IrelandXO community.
Why was providing the course for free through Alison so important?
The more people who are skilled in researching their Irish family history, the more people within the diaspora can reconnect with their place of origin in Ireland and the community living there today.