Unlocking the Life of an English Rose – Don’t Overlook Researching Your Immediate Family – Diane L. Richard


SPONSORED BY: Gen-Fed Alumni Association

By the time one is an adult, we often assume that we know all there is to know about, say a mother, father, or grandparents. How wrong we might be. As genealogists, we sometimes get so focused on researching the long-ago deceased that we kind of skip over the individuals we lived with or frequently visited. This talk shares my research into my mother, who died relatively young and before grandchildren were around to pry family stories out of her. It couldn’t be more personal. She did NOT share with her children about her childhood; it was a non-topic. Since her death, my search continues to learn more about who she was before she was a mom. Though I have learned a few fun and surprising tidbits over the years, I am insatiable in my desire to learn more. The research is a work in progress.

When you live in a different location from extended family, have infrequent communication due to geographic and emotional distance, only a handful of photos, purposefully tossed and also inadvertently lost records, lack of access to archives, retention schedule eligible destroyed records, and more, how do you reconstruct the life of a 20th-century ancestor? This talk shares an almost 30-year odyssey to learn about my mother, Margaret Joyce (Fountain) Acey, 1937-1990, an English- born rose. We’ll explore her childhood through the photos, documents, and other visuals collected during my journey. Join me. I suspect many others have also found themselves bereft of a sense of a close family member’s childhood, and yes, you too can research your loved one and fill in some of the blanks.

Two related sessions are NGS2104-REC-05, Journey Through Ledgers, Where Genealogical Gems Abound, which discusses a particular type of record where women are documented. Though women do not write most of the surviving “ledgers,” their inclusion is a form of “voice” that details their activities and allows us to infer attributes of their lives – invaluable! And NGS2104-WOM-01, In Her Own Words – Lives of Women Through Diaries, Journals, Correspondence, and More, where additional personal papers found in private collections (or similar) are explored. Women had “voices” in many ways; look for them in letters and diaries and beyond.

BIO: Diane L. Richard, a professional researcher, author, and lecturer since 2004, focuses on North Carolina, southern, and African American ancestors, and records. Since 2016, she has been the editor of the North Carolina Genealogical Society (NCGS) journal.


The Virtual NGS 2021 On-Demand! Viewing Starts 15 June

This lecture series is available to view from home on your computer or mobile device and offers you the opportunity to develop exceptional genealogy skills with a highly comprehensive set of on-demand webinars from NGS’s expert conference speakers. On-Demand! packages of audio-visual lectures are now available for purchase.

Select from the 20 or 40 On-Demand! lecture packages with over 85 sessions to choose from. Watch starting 15 June 2021 through 31 December 2021. Both packages come with access to two full days of NGS 2021 Live! from 19-20 May 2021, the virtual conference syllabus, and sponsored bonus sessions. Plus, view the sessions from NGS 2021 Live! and any sessions you did not choose from the breakouts (nine more) beginning 15 June. All sessions will be closed captioned.


To learn more about the NGS 2021 Virtual Family History Conference’s week-long events, 17-21 May, visit the conference and download a copy of the program brochure.