Diana is a versatile researcher and time traveler with 50 years experience and a wide range of skills. She earned her B.A. in Archaeology from University of Pittsburgh and her Master’s degree in Underwater Archaeology from Texas A&M, specializing in documentary evidence with a minor in photography. She has worked in the publishing industry for more than 30 years and is skilled in digital photo reconstruction and collection management. Her writing talents bring the past to life and into historical context, and she produces beautiful high-end books to share the stories using her professional design and publications expertise. Her strong German, Swiss, English and Scots-Irish roots reach back to Colonial America with ancestors on both sides of the Civil War.


Diana’s passions and expertise include:

  • Family Tree Research, Brick Walls & Family Secrets
  • Biographies, Memoirs and Family History Books
  • Photo & Document Scanning/Restoration, Collection Management
  • DNA Match Analysis
  • Tutoring & Help



  • Association of Professional Genealogists
  • New River Historical Society

I have been addicted to genealogy and history ever since my grandmother gave me an old family genealogy and the hand-written autobiography of my great grandfather. I became the family “keeper of the names” and have since collected thousands of documents, photos, and stories about my heritage.

My German ancestors settled in Pennsylvania, Indiana, Missouri, pioneered Kansas, and fought in the Civil War for the Union. I have a rare photo of a cousin in his uniform that got me started writing narratives when I researched and wrote about his tragic and short life. (click on the photo to go to his story)

Henry Freyhofer

Some of my English/Scotch-Irish ancestors were among the first European settlers of the British Colonies, going back to Jamestown. They settled in Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Colonial Virginia, and dozens in my father’s line fought on the side of the Confederacy in the Civil War.

Gordon Jefferson Thornton (R), Margaret Elizabeth Boothe Thornton (C) son Harvy (L). Taken by W.H Jewel, Christiansburg, VA.

Most were farmers, blacksmiths, teachers and carpenters, none so far found to be “famous” although I have a few interesting connections to some well-known figures in our country’s history including Mark Twain, Barack Obama, Daniel Boone, Davy Crockett, and William Penn.

But it’s not just about gathering names and dates, it’s about telling their stories and learning about history from the context of my ancestors. So I write illustrated “narratives” that tell their stories, and I am even working on a novel inspired by one of my ancestors.

My love of history is probably why I got a Master’s degree in Archaeology. Although some of my field work was done under the waters of Kingston Harbor in Jamaica excavating the 17th-century city of Port Royal that sank into the harbor in an earthquake in 1692, my Master’s thesis was on the 17th-century Probate Inventories of Port Royal, Jamaica (including pirate Henry Morgan’s inventory). I spent long hours in the archives researching, transcribing 300-year-old hand written documents and microfilming records in the Spanish Town, Jamaica archives.

Visit my family history site to read some of the fascinating stories I have uncovered about my family: www.family.dianathornton.com