Diane L. Richard

Expert Author

Diane L. Richard has been researching the genealogy of her family, her husband's family and client families for over 22 years. She has never lived where any of her family resided and so became adept, early on, at doing remote research into the records of the US, England, Finland and Poland. She has lived in Raleigh, North Carolina (home of the wonderful State Archives of North Carolina) for 15 years and is the principle of Mosaic Research and Project Management.

She is currently the Wake County Genealogical Society President, co-Program Chair for the North Carolina Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists, a member of the North Carolina Genealogical Society (NCGS) and had Blog and Exhibitor responsibilities for the 2009 National Genealogy Society Family History Conference. Since 2006 she has been a regular contributing author to Internet Genealogy, Discovering Family History and Family Chronicle and also participates in the annual NCGS Speakers Forum and gives talks locally.

Favorite Genealogy Quote

Those who do not look upon themselves as a link, connecting the past with the future, do not perform their duty to the world. - Daniel Webster

What are your specific genealogical interests?

My #1 interest is to support others in researching their ancestry -- whether it's helping to answer a question, gather some material or write "helpful" articles to help guide their own efforts. I think there is no greater legacy to leave than to give a "voice" to the long-gone ancestors that are an intrinsic part of who we are. Because of that and my own varied experiences, my interests include the following types of research: UK and Finnish, US coast-to-coast with a focus on emigrant and/or very migratory families, NC-focused, African-American, and supporting DNA results.

What got you into genealogy?

My first exposure was doing a high school project where we had to document our family -- since I didn't live near any family, I had to write to my grandmothers to get information. I still have that first tree which was created on onion-skin paper! Though, I really got started (and never looked back), after I was newly married, living in NJ, and found I had time on my hands. You see, my dad never knew his dad or most of his dad's or mom's family (except for an aunt) -- they almost all died when my dad was young and then the family moved when his mother remarried. So, I decided I wanted to learn about the 'Acey" family. I spent hours every week in the NYC library, the NARA facility that I think used to be on Staten Island and at the nearest Family History Center. If it wasn't for the nice Essex County MA clerk who told me that Acey was an aka for Kujanpää and sent me his naturalization paperwork -- my journey into ancestral research may have never gotten far!

Most surprising genealogical find:

My mother died at the relatively young age of 52 in 1990. I did not get around to researching her family until about 10 years later and it wasn't until 2002 that I focused on her. I learned that my mother had received awards as a youth for playing the piano and had appeared in local theatre productions. I NEVER knew any of that -- she never talked about herself and we didn't have a piano. I was so surprised to learn this and I was also surprised at the generosity and kindness of the many people that I contacted who knew her in the 1940s and 1950s who shared their memories, stories and newspaper clippings with me.

If you could find the family history of any historical great, who would it be and why?

That's not something that really appeals to me -- I love learning about everyday people! Most ancestors are just people trying to live their lives the best they can -- I find it's all the "little" minutia of life that make the most interesting stories!

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