Monday 14 November 2011

Certificate of Irish Heritage has struck a chord

It's just six weeks since the first Certificate of Irish Heritage was issued, and it seems the Government-approved project has struck a chord with the descendents of emigrants form Ireland.

"It's been going really well," Karl Elliston, product manager, Certificate of Irish Heritage, told Irish Genealogy News. "Most of the applicants have been from North America, Argentina, and Australia and New Zealand – in that order."

I was somewhat surprised that there had been more initial applications from South America than Australasia, but Karl says this was anticipated.

"The Irish-Argentinian community is very active, but it's often overlooked as a significant element of the diaspora because their first language is Spanish rather than English. We made sure there was a Spanish certificate option available from the start, as we expected them to be quick off the mark."

Mainland Europe has also generated some applications. One of the first received via the website came from Austria!

The project is administered by Fexco from offices in Killorglin, Co. Kerry. A small team has been trained in the types of documentation that applicants from different parts of the world are likely to present, and can validate the information provided. Once approved, a Certificate of Irish Heritage is issued, according to the style chosen by the purchaser.

In addition to a choice of document style, applicants also have the option of purchasing their Certificate ready-framed. Obviously, there's a premium attached to this service and Karl says this was carefully researched to ensure the offer represented good quality and value. So far, about one-third of all Certificate orders have included the full framing service.

Eligibility for a Certificate of Irish Heritage is open to those not born on the island of Ireland who can show an ancestral connection to a specific Irish ancestor. There is no genealogy service connected with the scheme; applicants have to research and produce their own documentation. Full details of accepted documents, and costs, can be found at