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Diane Rapaport, the principal consultant for Quill Pen Historical Consulting, is a genealogist, historian, attorney, award-winning author and popular speaker. She offers an unusual combination of expertise and experience—in history, genealogy and law—and she enjoys discovering and telling the stories of our past. Put her skills and enthusiasm to work for you.

  New England court records
As a former trial lawyer, Diane brings a unique insider’s perspective to court records research. She knows how to find and use legal resources from the 17th to the 21st centuries, and she authored the only comprehensive regional guide to the subject: New England Court Records: A Research Guide for Genealogists and Historians (Quill Pen Press, 2006), which won Benjamin Franklin Awards (Independent Book Publishers Association) for Best History Book, Best Reference Book, and finalist for Best New Voice in Nonfiction.


  Colonial New England history
Although Diane undertakes projects involving a variety of regions and time periods, her special interest is colonial New England,
and she writes frequently about her research. She is particularly interested in African Americans, Native Americans, and other non-English people (Scots, Irish, etc.) of early New England. Diane has served as a research consultant for the U.S. and U.K. TV series, “Who Do You Think You Are?” and was filmed with British celebrity Richard Madeley for one of the shows that appeared on the BBC.

Her latest book, The Naked Quaker: True Crimes and Controversies from the Courts of Colonial New England (Commonwealth Editions, 2007), was a finalist for ForeWord magazine’s Book of the Year Award for History.
For many years, Diane wrote the “Tales from the Courthouse” column in American Ancestors magazine, bringing colonial history to life with true stories from court records. Read more about Diane’s publications.

Lineage Society documentation
Diane enjoys helping families to trace their ancestry, and one of her specialties is assisting with lineage society applications, to organizations such as the Mayflower Society, Daughters of the American Revolution, and Sons of the American Revolution. Membership in lineage societies depends upon proving your ancestor’s qualification (early settler, soldier, etc.) and your direct relationship (verifying the births, marriages and deaths in each generation), which often requires research to find historical documents and other primary sources.

Early American handwriting
Old handwriting—penned with quill and homemade ink—can be difficult to decipher, especially archaic writing styles, abbreviations and legal terminology. Diane is a specialist at reading and transcribing early American documents.

Lectures and workshops
Diane is an experienced public speaker and has presented more than 150 lectures and workshops at a wide range of venues: colleges and universities, libraries, historical and genealogical organizations, museums, TV and radio.

Diane’s professional credentials and affiliations

  • J.D., magna cum laude (University of Minnesota Law School, 1978); B.A., History (Ohio State University, 1975). Licensed as Attorney in good standing with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (since 1985, and previously in Minnesota). Highest Martindale-Hubbell AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rating for Legal Ability and General Ethical Standards (since 1985).*
  • Member of national and regional professional associations, including:

Association of Professional Genealogists, Publications Advisory Committee (and APG's New England Chapter)
National Genealogical Society
New England Historic Genealogical Society

New York Genealogical & Biographical Society

More information
For more about Diane’s background and experience, visit her author/speaker website.

* CV, BV and AV are registered certification marks of Reed Elsevier Properties, Inc., used in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies. 

      Masthead (images 2, 3, 4, 7, 11 and 13, from left): The Granger Collection, New York

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P. O. Box 204, Lexington, MA 02420. All rights reserved.                                                                                                                               

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