Genealogy services

Influential New York professor honored in his parents’ native Mayo

Professor John Feerick, New York.

Mayo County Council honored Professor John Feerick, New York, for his contribution to the welfare and engagement of the diaspora in his parents’ home county.

Mr Feerick, whose father and mother are from Foxford and Ballinrobe, was named the winner at the council’s first Cathaoirleach Awards.

The judges said they were particularly struck by his appointment.

Their citation read: “John was primarily responsible for the composition of the 25th Amendment to the United States Constitution.

“This amendment clarifies how a President can temporarily step down from office or be removed from office by the Vice President in a Cabinet Majority. He was 25 at the time.

“John is a two-term dean of law school at Fordham University and has received numerous awards throughout his life.

“He was involved in the Northern Ireland peace process with John Hume and in 1999 developed the Fordham Belfast/Dublin program with Queen’s University and UCD which brought hundreds of law students to Ireland to attend conflict resolution courses as well as to work as trainees.

“He was also founding director of Feerick’s Center for Social Justice at Fordham University, which helps members of the Irish diaspora, undocumented, marginalized and homeless people in New York City with free legal advice.”

Members of the Mayo Genealogy Group also received a Diaspora Wellbeing and Engagement Award for their work.

The judges noted that during Covid more and more people were searching for their Irish roots, a sense of belonging, and that the lockdown gave them time to reflect and research.

The citation read: “Some reports suggest that there was up to a 25% increase in searches in genealogy services between March 2020 and March 2021.

“Mayo Genealogy Group was one of those free, volunteer-run services. They answered questions, helped with searches, and were there every Wednesday online to help their 9,000 members find their Mayo ancestors.

“It got people making concrete arrangements to visit Mayo in 2022 for Home To Mayo.

“Lead by Dympna Joyce, this group is based at the National Museum Of Country Life, Turlough, and meets there once a month (pre-Covid), and their aim is to provide information on genealogy sources based on the member experiences for those looking for their Mayo heritage.”