2023 Speaker Spotlight—Diane L. Richard

March 2nd, 2023 by Teresa Kelley


Diane L. Richard has been doing genealogy research since 1987 and since 2004 she has professionally focused on the records of North Carolina and other southern states. She regularly contributes to Internet Genealogy and has authored over 500 articles on genealogy topics. Since 2016 she has been the editor of the North Carolina Genealogical Society (NCGS) Journal

As a speaker, she has delivered webinars and in-person talks about the availability and richness of records documenting southerners; researching formerly enslaved ancestors and their descendants; genealogical research tips, techniques, tools and strategies; under-utilized resource collections (online and on-the-ground); and much more.

She is a board member of NC Historical Records Online (NCHRO), a non-profit organization dedicated to providing public access to high-quality images of original records and other related information useful to researching North Carolina history and genealogy.

Session Number: S357
Title: Many Arrive – Early Migration In, Across, and Out of North Carolina
Understanding North Carolina and its unique immigration and migration history increases your chances of successfully locating your North Carolinian ancestors.

Many individuals and families migrated to North Carolina, especially in the colonial and pre-Civil War periods. Families spent a few years, a few decades, or one or more generations in North Carolina. They often hopscotched across the state before migrating to adjoining states and beyond. Many have North Carolina roots to be discovered in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Depending on who was immigrating and when, different locales in North Carolina were hot spots for emigrants from abroad either directly or via Virginia, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, and beyond. As the state developed, resources were depleted, and productive land became scarce causing settlers to feel crowded. The state was not progressive in terms of education, roads, and other infrastructure needs, etc. Thus, a pattern of westward migration ensued. This migration often did not end at the state’s borders.

Diane will explore migrating North Carolinians – the history of the times and the documentary trail left behind.  She will focus on who initially came, various immigrant/religious groups, historical context, impediments to travel, how available infrastructure assisted or hindered migration, efforts to encourage immigration, western North Carolina unique attributes, enslaved and Free Persons of Color, and more. Overviews of when, where, and who, including surviving records and how to access them will be shared. Diane will also discuss when various records created by the government came into existence, extant naturalization records, and more. 


Registration is now open at https://grip.ngsgenealogy.org/.