Families of Irish descendants in the UK and USA will feature in an interesting TV documentary this weekend telling the story of how they discovered their County Mayo roots.
The Sanderson family from Yorkshire and the Feerick family from Virginia in the USA will be the stars of Tar Abhaile a bilingual series on TG4, this Sunday 22nd December at 9.30pm.
The programme tells the story of Pat Sanderson, a full-time carer from Yorkshire, who comes to Mayo for the first time to discover his County Mayo roots and gets to know both sides of her ancestors’ family.
The reunion is better than Pat could ever have expected as the locals bring her to relevant locations in Kiltimagh and Aghamore.
The second family to feature in the show is Chuck Feerick Senior from Virginia, Washington, who comes back to Mayo to introduce his son, Chuck Junior, to his Feerick family heritage in the Ballinrobe area – and to let his son meet and get to know his new Irish cousins.
Hosted by Evelyn O’Rourke the series features communities around the country as they track down and welcome home descendants of people who emigrated from their area over the last two decades and using local knowledge reveal the information they have been able to find out about their ancestors lives in the area
The premise is simple: reverse genealogy. Instead of waiting for people of Irish origin to trace their roots, groups of community volunteers work together under the auspices of Ireland Reaching Out (or: Ireland XO) to trace those individuals and families who left their local area throughout the 1800’s and 1900’s.
Once they have gathered enough tangible information, they then track down their living descendants and reach out, inviting them back to their spiritual home, to reveal local knowledge, walk the land of their ancestors, show them their final resting places and where possible, introduce them to long-lost living relatives.
Pictured above: Left to right are Mayo genealogist; Aiden Feerick; Pat Sanderson, Yorkshire; TG4 presenter, Evelyn O’Rourke; and Mayo man, Joe Byrne, who feature on Tar Abhaile, a bilingual series on TG4.