August 2019 - The Ruth E. Lloyd Information Center for Genealogy and Local History (RELIC)
Start your historical journey here. RELIC's email newsletter highlights upcoming free events and happenings. Genealogy and local Virginia history are our specialty as a service provided by the Prince William Public Library. We're located at Bull Run Regional Library and you can always find more about us at pwcgov.org/relic.
Finding Your Italian Ancestry
Genealogist Russell DeRose gives guidance on finding and using Italian records for your family history. He will cover relevant resources both in Italy and the USA.


Deciphering atDNA Testing
DNA testing for family history is all the rage. Maybe you are curious or maybe you already have your results. Are you asking yourself, now what? In this presentation by genealogist Shannon Combs-Bennett, learn how to decipher your autosomal DNA through online tools and case studies.

Register at 703-792-4540 or [email protected]
By Don Wilson

Since late 2016, I have bought and used several DNA tests. For FamilyTreeDNA, I swabbed the inside of my cheek to get genetic material. For Ancestry DNA, I spit into a vial (quite a lot of spit was required). A year later, I gave my siblings the FTDNA test. Depending on the promotion, the tests now run about $50 to $80 for the autosomal ("Family Finder") test. I have not tried the kits from other vendors, such as 23&Me or MyHeritage. A few weeks after returning each kit, the results were posted on the vendor's website. 
DNA-Family History
The autosomal test in Ancestry and FTDNA will match you up with biological relatives - people who have an ancestor in common with you. You only see results for other people if they share DNA with you and if they allow you to see their results. The vendors also estimate how close the relationship is.
Both vendors tell you how many centiMorgans (cM) of DNA you and your cousins share. The larger the number, the closer the relationship. FTDNA shows the number of segments and the size of the largest segment you have in common; they also show you a chromosome "browser" which allows you to compare individual chromosomes and learn where matching segments lie. That may help you determine which branch of your family the person matches. FTDNA also can tell you which matches have common ancestry with your other matches, or which of your matches do not match with each other. This will also help you sort out possible kinship. Each of my five siblings has about 2500 cM of DNA in common with me, which indicates we all have the same parents. Two known first cousins have about 900 cM that they share with me.
Ancestry DNA is probably a bit more user-friendly, though they don't give you as much technical data. In addition to shared cM, they also count the number of matching segments. They don't show you the contents of individual chromosomes, but they do match you with kin who show common ancestors in trees they have posted. If a DNA match on Ancestry reports an ancestor who is also in your posted tree, they will show you the ancestor link as well as the degree of kinship that the cM of DNA implies. I have been shown exact connections ("ThruLines") with many distant cousins, with common ancestors going back five or six generations. The chief disclaimer: This only works if your ancestors have been identified through documentary research.
Among the many matches reported to me are quite a number whom I have no idea who they are (we are lacking documentary proof). The amount of DNA suggests some of them are my second or third cousins - meaning we may have a great-grandparent in common. Some may be adoptees who are seeking biological relatives. In such cases, you have to begin with what you know and try to "triangulate" (eliminating your matches they are not connected to) to figure out where they might come in. What a challenge! I'm hoping our September DNA program might help.
Both companies show you maps estimating your deep ancestral origins. FTDNA gave me "ethnic makeup" of 18% from the British Isles, 75% from west and central Europe, 2% from Iberia (Spain and Portugal), 4% from Asia Minor (Turkey), and less than 1% from East Central Africa and North and Central America. Ancestry DNA says my background is 83% from England, Wales, and northwest Europe, and 17% from Ireland and Scotland. The genetic material is the same, but the tests they put it through give slightly different results. I have no way of telling if one is more accurate than the other. What the numbers imply is that your ancestors may have lived in those places more than 500 years ago.

Genealogy 101
Discovering your family's history is both fun and rewarding. RELIC's Darlene Hunter, Certified Genealogist, will demonstrate the essential first steps to take and resources to use, most of which are available for free through the library, to ensure that your research is accurate and well documented.
This program will be held at Chinn Park Regional Library.

Register at 703-792-4540 or [email protected]

Discuss the challenges of your family research in a group environment and get tips for new approaches. Moderated by RELIC's Don Wilson.


Adoptees can search for answers easier than ever before. Brianne Kirkpatrick and Shannon Combs-Bennett present their new book that will teach you to use genealogy and genetics to uncover your roots, connect with your biological family, and better understand your medical history.


George Mason drafted the Virginia Declaration of Rights in 1776, which later served as the basis for the U.S. Bill of Rights. Yet, he refused to sign the U.S. Constitution in 1787. Tom Moncure speaks on the reluctant statesman's strength of character and role in forming this government. 

Register at 703-4540 or [email protected].

To read the latest lists of new materials available, please click on What's New in RELIC.

Unless otherwise stated, all of the preceding programs will take place at Bull Run Regional Library, 8051 Ashton Avenue, Manassas, Virginia. Programs may last from 60 to 90 minutes. You may register for any of these free programs at 703-792-4540 or [email protected]   

You may also register online by clicking here and selecting the program date. Funding for selected RELIC programs is provided by the Friends of Bull Run Library.* To be notified of upcoming library programs and activities, you may sign up for the PWPLS newsletter.
[email protected] or 703-792-8150
Questions and comments are always welcome.
Prince William Public Library System, 13083 Chinn Park Drive, Prince William, VA 22192