People in Inver in south west Donegal are now taking part in the Ireland Reaching Out Project.
The concept is to trace and contact descendants and families around the world whose relatives left Donegal and to invite them back to reconnect with their roots.
As well as social and cultural benefits, organisers hope returning emigrants and their descendants will bring back much-needed economic benefit to Donegal.
James McDaid, one of the organisers of the Donegal branch of Ireland Reaching Out, says the project has huge potential.
“Over the last few years there has been an escalation of interest in genealogy here in Ireland, we hope to harness that interest with the power of volunteers in each parish using the latest online technology, communications, database tools and resources.
“At one time we waited for the emigrant to find their way back to the townland or parish of their forefathers. We plan to turn this on its head.
“By using local communities at townland, village and parish level to find out who was born in their area, where they went, and trace them and their living descendants, go looking for those who may have had connection with the parish in the past, invite them for an organised Week of Welcomes, where we would meet and greet them show them where there ancestors came from, where they lived and are buried,” he said.
The project aims to build a global network where individuals, townlands, villages and towns can interconnect using the power of the internet.
By extending the numbers of people committed to the Parish globally, we would increase local and regional tourism through the development of a global online network.
They also plan to build a database of “business advisors” to assist Irish exporting firms (influencers, advisers, entrepreneurs, purchasers etc.) and aim to provide local training programmes in genealogy, history, folklore and heritage as well as in tourism, media and IT.
A meeting to discuss all the ideas, plans and opportunities involved with Ireland Reaching out will be held in the Frosses Hall on Wednesday, February 15th.