Irish Roots

December 27th, 2010

John Grenham

As we get older, our perspective on the past changes. Decades of seeing people change, age or die sharpens our awareness of mutability, and of our own position in the chain of generations. And we become more interested in preserving what we know about our family as the fragility of that knowledge becomes clearer. It is no mystery, then, that genealogy is largely the preserve of the middle-aged and older.

There are still very good reasons for attempting to share the insights of family history with younger people: for one thing, the deep interconnectedness revealed by family research sustains the sense of belonging that underlies all social responsibility. But any younger people currently involved with such research have arrived at it by accident. Genealogy plays no part in the study of history or society, even at primary level.

A very welcome recent initiative in Clare might help to change that. Clare Education Centre in association with the Dept. of Tourism, Culture and Sport, along with Clare Roots Society, has organised the collection of mortuary cards across Co. Clare primary schools, in a project called “The Junior Genealogist”, with the aim of documenting deceased Clare people before memory of them fades. The schools copy the memorial cards, returning them immediately to their owners, and then send the copies to Clare Education Centre in Ennis, where the information is to be collated, and recorded. Clare County Library will then preserve the results for future research.

The initiative is being run through the schools with the explicit objective of encouraging young people to value the memory of their own families and community and to help preserve it. The project is a pilot, to be extended to other counties if judged successful in Clare. The closing date is January 17th and there are more details at the Clare Education Centre website, http://tinyurl.ie/2pd.


Comments and suggestions are welcome, to irishrootsatirishtimes.com.


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