EXPLORE RELIC
May 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 Family in the News
FINDING YOUR FAMILY IN THE NEWS
RELIC's Don Wilson will describe how a growing number of newspapers online may be searched for items useful for family and local history. Now you can find obituaries, marriage notices, court cases, advertisements, news items, local gossip, and photos - anything that might appear between the pages of the hometown gazette.

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

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Graffiti Houses
Dr. Stephen Robertson, Professor and Director of the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History & New Media at George Mason University, will present a program on the "graffiti houses" of Northern Virginia, including Prince William's Ben Lomond. With the evacuation of the Confederate Army from Manassas, federal forces occupied the area by the spring of 1862. The plaster walls of Ben Lomond were soon covered in graffiti from floor to ceiling. Historically, graffiti has led to an understanding of the lifestyle and language of both ancient and modern cultures.


A MYSTERIOUS GRAVE
 
Some of the questions that RELIC gets provide new insights into the history of Prince William County. Recently, we were asked to find biographical information about a Union soldier of the Civil War who is buried in Prince William County. Daniel H. Magee has a military grave marker at Belle Haven Baptist Church Cemetery at Kopp, now on the Quantico Marine Corps Base. He is one of only two Union soldiers at Belle Haven.
 
The federal order for his grave marker shows Magee was a member of Company I, 51st Pennsylvania Infantry, and that he died 22 December 1897. It does not say where he was from in Pennsylvania. The American Civil War Research Database identifies his residence as Bradford County, and his dates of enlistment and discharge (October 1864 and July 1865). The index to Union pension applications shows he was given an invalid's pension in 1870, and his widow Addie applied for a pension soon after his death. U.S. census records show he was living in Bradford County in 1870, 1880, and 1890 (veteran's schedule), and his widow was there in 1900. She died in 1940 and is buried in Bradford County.
 
The reason Daniel is buried in Prince William County is a mystery. In fact, there are two records of his burial on FindaGrave.com: a second entry, based on some sort of tradition, is that he is buried in the Silvara Cemetery in Bradford County, although there is no marker there.
 
The reason we were asked about Mr. Magee is because he and the other Union soldier, Thomas Woolfenden Sr. (1843-1926), will be honored by the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War in a dedication ceremony on May 4. Woolfenden, a native of Catonsville, Maryland, was a member of Company C, 8th Maryland Infantry.
 
Descendant R. C. Woolfenden reports: "Thomas befriended the family that owned the land that is part of the R-14 training area aboard the base during the winter of 1863-64, while the Union army was wintering in Northern Virginia. When they placed the farm up for sale in the 1870s, he purchased it [1876]. He moved his family to the farm from their home in Baltimore in 1885." He and his wife Isabelle donated land for the church and cemetery.
 
Members of the Woolfenden family have been closely associated with Belle Haven for well over a century. If Daniel Magee has descendants, they have not yet been identified. His connection to Belle Haven is an ongoing mystery. 
ALEXANDRIA'S FREEDMEN'S CEMETERY:
A LEGACY OF FREEDOM

When Alexandria, Virginia became Union territory shortly after the start of the Civil War, escaped slaves known as contrabands, began to flee to the city from all over Virginia. This refugee crisis eventually led to overcrowded conditions and high mortality rates for those seeking freedom and protection from their former masters. More than 1,700 contrabands died between 1864 and 1868. They were buried on the southern edge of Alexandria in a cemetery that was largely forgotten until it was rediscovered in 1996. Please join us as author and genealogist, Char McCargo-Bah, presents her newest book, Alexandria's Freedmen's Cemetery: A Legacy of Freedom, which examines the struggles of these men and women and the search for their descendants. Copies of the book will be available for purchase.

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Land Records
Land records contain a wealth of genealogical, historical, and legal information. Depending upon the type and time period, they may offer new insights about your ancestors and family history. In addition to providing location and date of settlement, records may attest to one's age, place of birth, citizenship, military service, literacy, and economic status. They may even include similar details about other family members and lead you to other genealogical records, RELIC's Darlene Hunter, Certified Genealogist (CG), will provide examples of various land records and explain how to locate them
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Register at 703-792-4540 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