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Whether you are new to Ireland Reaching Out or returning to research another Irish ancestor or place of origin, your County and/or Parish Message Board is where all the connection magic happens. Someone on the other side may hold the key to unraveling that mystery that had you caught in the traps.  So, here are a few tips to help you get the most out of our Message Board and to ensure that your message is noticed by people living in the local community, who can answer your questions and point you in the right direction! Or CLICK HERE if you want to start searching right away!


Ireland Reaching Out - Free Message Board

How does it work?

The Message Board exists to keep you in touch with any local community, that you or your ancestors may have once lived or worked in. Each of our 2,500+ community message boards on IrelandXO represents a local parish community. When a message is created or replied to, all members of that community will receive a notification of the latest addition(s). 

  • When the parish is unknown, you can also opt to post to the county message board. A message added to any parish, will also automatically appear in the county, so there's no need to re-post to widen your range. 
  • To receive updates about new messages and replies in your selected message boards, make sure you have notifications turned ON

Remember you don't have to have been born in a county or parish to feel connected... everyone's welcome!

What's possible?

Our local volunteers get asked all sorts of research questions on the message board; anything from requests for pictures of a particular holy well, to finding out the local GAA results! 

Check out some past Message Board Spark Joy moments...

How much should I post?

The following guide will help you get the most out of the Message Board, especially with family history queries:

1. Title: Who? When? Where?

Did you know that, in addition to responses from our local volunteers, your Message Board post has the potential to be discovered by anyone searching for the same name or place? Our Message Board titles are searchable by keyword, so be sure to include a surname and placename (if known) in the title. 

Visiting Ireland? If posting about an intended visit* to Ireland in search of your ancestors, keywords such as "visiting" in the title are also helpful. 

If you have difficulty identifying the parish or place, don't worry, a local volunteer can point you in the right direction – just ask for help in the body of your message...

2. Body: 

To get the best response, it helps to begin with the following (where known):

(i) your ancestor's full name, year of birth, gender; religion; occupation while in Ireland

(ii) place of birth: county of birth and anything more specific on record (town, townland or parish)

(iii) if married in Ireland: name of spouse(s); rough year of marriage;

(iv) if had children born in Ireland: names of children and year of birth

(v) your ancestor's parents' names; especially mother's maiden surname if known

(vi) alternative spelling variations of surnames and given names/nicknames

(vii) link to your Ireland Reaching Out Ancestor Profile or public family tree.

QUICKEST: John Grenham's Wizard will collate most of the above work for you (so all you have to do is copy and paste).  

SUPER-BOOST: This approach automatically doubles your chances of discovery by someone searching for the same people:  Create an Ancestor Profile first, then all you have to do is copy and paste the URL link into your message and simply get on with asking questions! 

Remember the content of the body of your message is discoverable by anyone searching the net for matching details

*If posting regarding research before a visit, remember the message board is a public platform (don't post personal contact details or your itinerary). To arrange a Meet & Greet with a local volunteer, email: directly. 

3. Upload a file:

Having difficulty deciphering the handwriting or spelling of a placename on an old record? You can upload an image here and it will be visible to anyone reading your post. 

3. Link a CIVIL PARISH OR COUNTY to this Message Board Post

In an ideal world, we would all know our ancestral parish of origin, but if all you know is your ancestor's county of origin be sure to link it to your message. Why? So our local volunteers and members who search by county can spot your message immediately. 

5. Add another COUNTY or CIVIL PARISH

If you are researching a number of possible places of origin, there is no need to create a new/duplicate message for each parish or county. Simply click on the orange "Add another item" button and link to as many as you need. 

FAQ: What is a "parish"?

FAQ: How do I locate a Parish?

Remember to make sure you have notifications switched ON as new replies can keep coming when a new volunteer or member joins the community. You can edit your notifcation settings by clicking on the My Account button at the top right of the screen and choosing to "edit". Your notification settings are at the bottom of the page and if you make any changes, remember to click on the save button.

As you discover more about this ancestor, you can post additional messages and questions to the same thread so that volunteers can see what came before. 

What next?

1. ADD ANCESTORS to our database

2. POST A QUERY to our Message Board Forum (adding your ancestor's URL as a reference)

3. DISCOVER MORE Tips & Insights

To SHARE this post with anyone you think would find our Ireland Reaching Out Message Board helpful, click on the social media icons in the green floating menu to the left.

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We hope you have found the information we have shared helpful. While you are here, we have a small favour to ask. Ireland Reaching Out is a non-profit organisation that relies on public funding and donations to ensure a completely free family history advisory service to anyone of Irish heritage who needs help connecting with their Irish place of origin. If you would like to support our mission, please click on the donate button and make a contribution. Any amount, big or small, is appreciated and makes a difference. 

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