Databases & Electronic Resources

Press Enter to show all options, press Tab go to next option

Thomas Balch Library DatabasesIn-House SubscriptionsLoudoun County Public Library Electronic ResourcesAdditional Historical and Genealogical Resources

Featured Database:  America's Genealogy Bank

Genealogy Bank Search over four centuries of rare documents and records, newspapers, books, pamphlets and genealogies. Selected material from the American State Papers and U.S. Serial Set and the complete Social Security Death Index are included.


Thomas Balch Library Databases (available off-site)

  • Catalog  Thomas Balch Library catalog combined with Loudoun County Public Library catalog.
  • Collection Guides for Archives and Manuscripts  Thomas Balch Library's collections include letters, diaries, account books, business records, community organization records, and Town of Leesburg archives. They document the life, culture, and history of Leesburg and Loudoun County. Collections of archives and manuscripts are described in detailed collection guides, providing researchers with historical and contextual information about the materials and their creators.
  • Enslaved Community of President James Monroe  This database, searchable by name or by year,  is the result of several years’ research to locate and analyze documents relating to President James Monroe’s slaves, primarily the enslaved community in Loudoun County. Monroe owned land and slaves in several Virginia locations, including Loudoun County, where in 1830 he owned 1,828 acres and 66 slaves. This database will provide researchers with rare genealogical and historical insight within that slave community. 
  • Genius of Liberty Runaway Slave Advertisements An index of more than 200 advertisements is taken from a rare, complete collection of the Genius of Liberty newspaper, a four-page weekly published in Leesburg, Loudoun County, Virginia from 1817-1843.
  • A Glimpse into the History of African Americans in Loudoun County  Designed with the educator in mind, this resource lists primary documents and excerpts from secondary sources that are accessible at the Thomas Balch Library; valuable information for those preparing teaching units on various aspects of African American history. The materials tell the story of African American history from a Loudoun County perspective.
  • Loudoun Cemetery Database Listing of most cemeteries and tombstones in Loudoun County based on a 1995 book produced by Thomas Balch Library staff. The book is still available for purchase, but that listing has now been updated and corrected here. There are separate books for some of the cemeteries covered in the database, and, in some cases, the books represent newer listings for that particular cemetery. There are additional cemeteries indexed only in books available at Thomas Balch Library.
  • Loudoun Discovered  Index  In the late 1960s, local historian and mapmaker Eugene Scheel wrote a series of articles for the Loudoun Times-Mirror showcasing the more than one hundred communities of Loudoun County. In 2002 and 2003, the Friends of the Thomas Balch Library reissued the articles in book form. The five volumes are available for in-house use at Thomas Balch Library (V REF 975.528 SCH) and check-out at many LCPL branches.

Search Across Multiple Archives

  • ArchiveGrid  ArchiveGrid includes over four million records describing archival materials, bringing together information about historical documents, personal papers, family histories, and more. With over 1,000 different archival institutions represented, ArchiveGrid helps researchers looking for primary source materials held in archives, libraries, museums and historical societies.
  • National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections The mission of the NUCMC program is to provide and promote bibliographic access to the nation's documentary heritage. This mission is realized by NUCMC production of cataloging describing archival and manuscript collections held by eligible repositories located throughout the United States and its territories.
  • Virginia Heritage: Guides to Manuscript & Archival Collections in Virginia  Sponsored by the Virtual Library of Virginia (VIVA), Virginia Heritage is a consolidated database of finding aids to manuscript and archival collections, providing information about historical materials that document Virginia History and culture from 1607 to the present.

Return to Top

In-House Subscriptions (available in Thomas Balch Library only)

  • Accessible Archives  Accessible Archives databases allow access to comprehensive material found in leading historic periodicals and books such as eyewitness accounts of historical events, descriptions of daily life, editorial observations, commerce as seen through advertisements, and genealogical records.
  • African American Heritage (Proquest) A comprehensive resource for African American history.  It includes search options for census, military records, slave and free black registers, and Freedmen's Bank records, and allows access to the AfriGeneas social networking site and the Black Genesis resource guide, and offers a how-to guide for use of African-American reference and general research materials. 
  • America's GenealogyBank Search over four centuries of rare documents and records, newspapers, books, pamphlets and genealogies.  Selected material from the American State Papers and U.S. Serial Set and the complete Social Security Death Index are included.
  • America's Newspapers  Electronic editions of record for valuable local, regional, and national U.S. newspapers.  Paid ads are excluded.        
  • American Archivist   The Journal of the Society of American Archivists has provided a forum in print for discussion of trends and issues in archival theory and practice since 1937. 
  • AncestryLibrary   Over 8,700 databases including U.S. Federal Census from 1790 to 1940, more than 1,000 historical maps, the American Genealogical Biographical Index, WWI Draft Registration Cards, and WPA Slave Narratives.  A personal subscription to this database may include resources not available through the library's subscription.
  • Archives Unbound  A collection of databases presenting topically-focused digital collections of historical documents that support the research and study needs of scholars and students at the college and university level. Collections available at Thomas Balch Library include:

Civil War in Words and Deeds  Documents the Civil War through regimental histories, personal narratives, and other sources of significant historical value from the period between 1860 and 1865.
Civil War Service Reports of Union Army Generals  Official reports by Union general officers representing service in the Civil War and into the period of Reconstruction.  These include reports of battles, interaction with Indians, and sometimes their personal feelings regarding the war, slavery, and other historic issues.
Confederate Newspapers: A Collection from Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia, and Alabama Ranging from 1861-1865, these southern newspapers "recorded the real and true history of public opinion during the war.  In their columns is to be found the only really correct and indicative 'map of busy life, its fluctuations and its vast concerns’ in the South, during her days of darkness and of trial.' "
Freedom Riders in the South, 1961 Subtitled "We Were Prepared For the Possibility of Death," and drawn from the Federal Bureau of Investigation Library, this comprehensive database contains documents describing the journey of civil rights activists who rode interstate buses into the segregated South to test the results of United States Supreme Court decisions outlawing racial segregation in southern interstate bus terminals. This important resource celebrates the 50th anniversary of the CORE Freedom Riders.
The War of 1812: Diplomacy on the High Seas During the War of 1812 Congress authorized the Secretary of State to issue commissions of letters of marque and reprisal to private armed vessels permitting them to "cruise against the enemies of the United States." This collection contains reports concerning letters of marque, enemy aliens and prisoners of war, passenger lists, reports from secret agents, and miscellaneous correspondence.

  • Digital Sanborn® Maps, 1867-1970™   (Virginia) Sanborn® fire insurance maps are detailed property and land-use records covering towns and cities across Virginia. The maps provide building outlines, building use, boundaries, and house numbers, and often include symbols for stables, garages, warehouses, etc. Factories are labeled with the owner's name and products manufactured. Also depicted are pipelines, railroads, wells, water mains, dumps, and heavy machinery. 
  • Fold3 (Previously This database features millions of digital images of original source documents relating to the Revolutionary War, Civil War, Mexican-American War, WWI, WWII, U.S. Presidents, and naturalization documents. Fold3’s partnerships include the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), Center for Research Libraries (CRL), and SmallTownPapers, Inc.  A personal subscription to this database may include resources not available through the library's subscription.
  • HeritageQuest Online   Includes images and indexing of the 1790 to 1940 U.S. federal censuses, more than 28,000 book titles, including family and local histories, and more than 250 primary-source documents such as tax lists, city directories, and probate records. Also includes Periodical Source Index (PERSI) to more than 6,300 genealogy and history periodicals written in English and French (Canada) since 1800. Also included are the Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Application Files, which list more than 80,000 American military members. 
  • JSTOR   An interdisciplinary archive of academic journals across the humanities, social sciences, and sciences, select monographs, and other materials.  Full-text searchable, JSTOR offers search term highlighting, includes images, and is interlinked by millions of citations and references. TBL’s subscription, Public Library Collection I, focuses on arts and humanities with more than five hundred titles across approximately forty disciplines.
  • New England Historic Genealogical Society  The NEHGS research library is home to more than 12 million original documents, artifacts, records, manuscripts, books, family papers, bibles, and photographs dating back more than four centuries. Databases available online include: Massachusetts Vital Records through 1910, New York Probate Records (1787 - 1835), church records, newspapers and periodicals, city and town directories, court records, census, tax, and voter lists, diaries and journals, land records, military records, and published genealogies and biographies. New databases are added weekly. NEHGS also offers free, short online seminars on a variety of topics. 
  • Newspaper Archive  English-language newspapers from 1607 to present, fully searchable by keyword and date. Distributed by ProQuest.
  • ProQuest Historical Newspapers This collection offers full-text and full-image articles from The American Israelite (1854-2000), The Atlanta Constitution (1868-1984), The Baltimore Sun (1837-1991), The Chicago Tribune (1849-1992), The Globe and Mail (1936-2013), The Guardian and The Observer (1791-2003), The Irish Times and The Weekly Irish Times (1859-2015), Norfolk Journal and Guide (1916-2013) and The Scotsman (1817-1950). As part of the ProQuest Historical Newspapers program, every issue of each title includes the complete paper—cover-to-cover—with full-page and article images in downloadable PDF.
  • ProQuest Obituaries This collection may be used to search obituaries and death notices from prominent newspapers, such as the Atlanta Constitution, the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, and the New York Times (dating back to 1851). The collection includes both famous and lesser-known individuals and can be searched by name or by keywords appearing in the body of the article.
  • World Vital This database is designed for guests who are either just beginning their family research or who after years of work want to discover more of their past. Search over 5 billion Family History and Genealogy records, and 28 million family trees. Access U.S. Federal Census images and indexes from 1790 to 1940, military records, birth, marriage and death records, enhanced Social Security Death Index (SSDI) records, and one million newspaper pages.

    Return to Top

Loudoun County Public Library Electronic Resources

The following databases require a valid LCPL library card for access.

Older articles from the Washington Post and other newspapers can be accessed from Historical Newspapers. This website offers full page and article images with searchable full text back to the first issue. The collection also includes digital reproductions, providing access to every page from every available issue. 

  • African American Experience  Electronic research tool for African American history and culture from one of the most respected publishers in the field. It includes hundreds of primary documents, slave narratives, photographs, and audio clips. 
  • America the Beautiful  Each of the 50 states plus DC, Puerto Rico and the major territories is covered. Get in-depth information on the history, geography, economics, government, culture, and major cities. 
  • Historical Newspapers  Search the complete run of The Washington Post as well as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Christian Science Monitor into the 1990s. View articles or entire pages as they appeared when published, browse historical topics, or view a timeline of major events in American history. 
  • Civil War Era  Get a fascinating glimpse of the Civil War era as it was lived in cities and towns across America with the complete runs of eight regional newspapers covering 1840-1865." 
  • Daily Life Through History  Explores the essentials of everyday life past and present, food, shelter, families, work, play, and neighborhoods. 
  • In the First Person  Provides in-depth indexing of more than 4,000 collections of personal narratives in English from around the world, including letters, diaries, memoirs, and autobiographies, and other personal narratives." 
  • Gale Virtual Reference Library  Database of encyclopedias, almanacs, and specialized reference sources for multidisciplinary research. These reference materials once were accessible only in the library, but now you can access them online 24/7.

Return to Top

Additional Historical and Genealogical Resources

Return to Top