Start your historical journey here. RELIC's email newsletter highlights upcoming free events and happenings. Genealogy and local Virginia history are our specialties as a service provided by the Prince William Public Libraries. You can always find more about us on RELIC's webpage

RELIC service is available in person at Central Library
by email at [email protected], and by phone at 703-792-8380. 

Hours of Operation
Monday – Wednesday: 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Thursday – Saturday: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Closed Sunday
All programs are now in person at Central Library unless otherwise stated. Please wear a mask or face covering. In accordance with CDC guidelines, Prince William County requires all employees and visitors to wear a mask or face covering while inside county facilities.

Previous RELIC programs can be viewed on RELIC's Programs webpage.

For much of the 19th century, Brentsville was the county seat of Prince William County. The preservation of several buildings on site, and their interpretation by Prince William Historic Preservation staff, has created a space where memories of the social history of Prince William County in the 1800s lives on. Join Historian Paige Gibbons-Backus for this in-depth look at the lived reality of Prince William County through the years. 
Register at 703-792-8380, online, or email [email protected].
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 703-792-8380, online, or email [email protected]. 
This time of year, we often get asked for ghost stories from Prince William County. To find stories from local newspapers, go to our Digital Library and search “Ghosts” in the "LOCAL NEWSPAPER INDEX” resource.  

We also have the series “Ghosts of Virginia” by L. B. Taylor, plus many other books on the topic. Check our online catalog for even more books about local haunts and hauntings.

Those of you who are tracing your family history are looking for ghosts of a different sort. Tombstones and cemetery registers are some of the best records available for generations past. About 500 cemeteries have been identified and recorded for Prince William County. A map locating known cemeteries can be seen at the Historic Prince William website.

Local historian Ron Turner has been collecting cemetery information for many years. You can read details about each cemetery on his website

RELIC staff have also built a file of cemetery information that is contained in a shelf of loose-leaf binders. With Turner’s notes, we have added newspaper articles, photographs, and land ownership records. If we are missing your favorite cemetery, please let us know so we can complete our records.

Some Prince William cemeteries have been published as separate books. They include Manassas City Cemetery, Rose Hill Cemetery, Dumfries Public Cemetery, and St. Paul’s in Haymarket.  

RELIC also has cemetery books for many other Virginia counties and cities. Of course, the most comprehensive collections of cemetery information online are Find a Grave and BillionGraves. Those massive databases have been built with the work of volunteers from around the world.

Yes, cemetery research today is the focus of genealogists, and is not just the purview of ghost hunters.  
You can now make appointments for virtual or in-person visits with Don Wilson, "The Tree Doctor." We can set up an hour appointment to discuss and dive into your brick wall research problem. Call 703–792–8380 or email us at [email protected] to set up a time.
October 2021 -
Make sure to download our Fall 2021 Explore magazine, or grab one at your nearest library, to learn more about our upcoming events.

[email protected] or 703-792-8150
Questions and comments are always welcome.