February 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.
The Meaning of Freedom in an Era of Enslavement
Dr. Sheri Huerta
Stories of freedom often emphasize the accounts of daring runaways, yet another process provided a path out of slavery. The acquisition of freedom papers through manumission required community support and a keen understanding of the prevailing legal, social and economic constraints. Yet finalizing this process also required difficult choices between family, freedom, and potential re-enslavement.
Dr. Sheri Huerta, History Professor at George Mason University, will explore the complexities of manumission and the reality of being "free" for black families across northern Virginia. Come and join the conversation about the meanings of freedom and the many factors that affected the decision to seek freedom or remain enslaved.

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


African-American Genealogy
Discovering African-American family history prior to 1865 can be difficult. There are special challenges to finding documentation during the age of slavery. RELIC's Don Wilson will identify sources that can be used to trace lives and relationships and demonstrate the process through a case study approach.

Register at 703-792-4540 or [email protected]
In addition to the online databases available at Prince William Public Library, the Library of Virginia (LVA) puts many useful genealogy and history sources within easy reach of Virginia residents.
With an LVA card or a Virginia driver's license, you can sign in for free to the Library of Virginia databases.
Biography and Genealogy Master IndexAn index to collective biographical sources.
Heritage Quest Online: Also available through the PWPLS website.
Mountain People: Life and Culture in Appalachia: Diaries and personal narratives, 1700-1950.

Proquest ® History Vault. Southern Life and African American History, 1775-1915, Plantations Records. Parts 1 and 2: Personal and family papers of many Southern plantations, including some in Prince William County.
Oxford English Dictionary: Find historic definitions of obscure words.
Historic Map Works: Library Edition: Images of many early maps, including 19th and 20th century landowner atlases throughout the United States.
ProQuest® Sanborn Maps Geo Edition™: Historic fire insurance maps for Virginia cities and towns, including Manassas 1907-1943. Not in color.
The American Civil War Research Database: Statistical and historical details about soldiers, military units, and battles.
Civil War in Words and Deeds: A large collection of regimental histories and personal narratives.
Fold3: Library Edition: Military records from the National Archives, for all wars since the American Revolution. Includes some specialized African American and Native American databases.
American Periodicals: Images of a wide variety of American magazines published between 1740 and 1940, fully searchable.
Newspaper Archive®: A searchable collection of historical newspapers from all U.S. states and more than a dozen foreign countries.
Historical Newspapers: Includes Norfolk Journal and Guide (1921-2003) and Richmond Times-Dispatch (1903-present).
Professional genealogist Jennifer Banks will teach how to use FamilySearch, the world's largest collection of free family trees, genealogy records and resources, more effectively. She will provide a detailed explanation of what the search boxes do and do not access as well as showing how to access the unindexed records. She will also demonstrate how to access online learning courses, various online trees, books, wiki, and catalog. Handouts will be provided. Please join us for a great learning experience.

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

Chapman Mill
Archaeologist and cartographer Patrick O'Neill will describe research he has done on the property at Thoroughfare Gap owned by the Chapman family. It contains the iconic structure, also known as Beverley Mill, that ground corn for the community for over 200 years.


Discovering your family history is both fun and rewarding. RELIC's Darlene Hunter will demonstrate the essential first steps to take and the resources to use, most of which are available for free through the library to ensure that your research is accurate, complete, and well documented.

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