Databases & Electronic Resources

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

Featured Database: World Collection is the largest online newspaper archive consisting of 543 million+ pages of historical newspapers from 15,000+ newspapers from around the United States and beyond. Newspapers provide a unique view of the past and can help us understand and connect with the people, events and attitudes of an earlier time.

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.

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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.
  • MyHeritage Library Edition   MyHeritage Library Edition is one of the largest, most internationally diverse genealogy databases of its kind in the world. It includes billions of historical documents from over 48 countries, millions of historical photos, public records, indexes and additional resources.
  • 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. 
  • World Collection is the largest online newspaper archive consisting of 543 million+ pages of historical newspapers from 15,000+ newspapers from around the United States and beyond. Newspapers provide a unique view of the past and can help us understand and connect with the people, events and attitudes of an earlier time.
  • Pennsylvania in the Revolution by Eric G. Grundset.  Presented by the Ketoctin Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, this is the eighth volume in a series of state resource guides published by the NSDAR Library. This volume provides detailed information on the availability of manuscript and archival material that exists for the state for the period of the Revolutionary War along with listings of historical and genealogical studies that have been published and which supplement the original sources. It is available on-site at the Library as an e-book.              
  • 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), Historical New York Times with Index (1851-1993),  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.

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Loudoun County Public Library Electronic Resources

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

  • 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  1877-2002.
  • 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." 

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Additional Historical and Genealogical Resources

  • AfriGeneas is a site devoted to African American genealogy, to researching African Ancestry in the Americas in particular and to genealogical research and resources in general. It is also an African Ancestry research community featuring the AfriGeneas mail list, the AfriGeneas message boards and daily and weekly genealogy chats.
  • Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center One of the leading genealogy libraries in the U.S., ACPL has numerous free online resources, including pathfinders for doing research for specific countries.
  • Alexandria (Virginia) Public Library Genealogy Collection 
  • American Doctoral Dissertations, 1933-1955  This is a free database providing access to the only comprehensive record of dissertations accepted by American universities during that time period, the print index Doctoral Dissertations Accepted by American Universities. Containing nearly 100,000 citations, American Doctoral Dissertations, 1933-1955, provides full page images of the original print index, and may be searched by author, title, subject and university. Complete dissertations can be located by accessing WorldCat.
  • American Memory - Library of Congress Provides free and open access through the Internet to written and spoken words, sound recordings, still and moving images, prints, maps, and sheet music that document the American experience.
  • Arbor Vitae Access to the on-line version of Arbor Vitae, an informative environmental, nature, and agricultural newsletter published by the State Arboretum of Virginia.
  • Association of Professional Genealogists APG strives to support, guide, and protect all aspects of genealogy as a profession and promotes the highest standard of ethics and professionalism among members.  Includes find-a-researcher database.
  • Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers  Sponsored jointly by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress as part of the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP), Chronicling America allows you to search and view newspaper pages from 1880-1922 and find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present.
  • Cyndi's List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet Free categorized & cross-referenced index to genealogical resources on the Internet.
  • Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Genealogical Research System
  • is a database which allows the user to search all of the world’s digital newspapers from one place at one time through simultaneous searching across thousands of articles using key words and phrases.
  • Ellis Island Foundation, Inc.
  • Encyclopedia Virginia  With the mission to develop the civic, cultural, and intellectual life of the Commonwealth by creating learning opportunities for all Virginians, Virginia Foundation for the Humanities (VHF) brings together the resources and content to make the Encyclopedia a valuable tool for exploring the people, history, government, economy, and culture of Virginia. 
  • Fairfax County Public Library - Virginia Room
  • FamilySearch  For the best user experience, we recommend viewing this site in Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.
  • GU272 Memory Project The GU272 Memory Project is the product of a collaboration among the GU272 descendants, the Georgetown Memory Project, and American Ancestors, the oldest non-profit genealogical society in America. The collective work of these groups -- which is accessible via this website -- includes a searchable online database of genealogical data for GU272 families, oral histories of more than 40 descendants, and educational material about genealogy.
  • Handley Library - Stewart Bell Jr. Archives  Winchester, Virginia 
  • The Library of Congress
  • The Library of Virginia
  • Loudoun County Cemeteries and Burial Grounds Interactive Mapping Application  A web mapping application that shows the locations of inactive/active cemeteries and burial grounds in Loudoun County.  This application provides information about the cemeteries through pop-ups and information tabs.  The pop-up provides attributes on name of cemetery, date, status, earliest and latest burials, and added notes. 
  • Loudoun County Circuit Court Archives: Online Indexes
  • Loudoun County Real Estate Tax, Assessment & Parcel Database
  • MESDA Craftsman Database The MESDA Craftsman Database contains information about artisans gathered through primary research in public and private records. The program’s researchers scour newspapers, city directories, court records, probate inventories, wills, and private papers in search of information pertaining to southern craftsmen working in 127 trades.
  • National Archives (U.S.A.)
  •  Search engine to identify and access current newspaper websites worldwide
  • Quaker Meetings An attempt to record basic historical information about every monthly meeting of the Religious Society of Friends that has ever existed in North America (about 2085 identified so far).
  • National Historical Topographical Map Collection  Searchable database of topographical maps from the United States Geological Survey.  More than 141,000 USGS maps of the United States are available in PDF format for free download and viewing.
  • rootsweb  Helps connect people so that they can help each other and share genealogical research. Most resources on are designed to facilitate such connections.
  • Ruth E. Lloyd Information Center (RELIC)  Bull Run Regional Library, Manassas, Virginia 
  • Virginia Cavalcade Index 1951-present, sponsored by the Library of Virginia
  • Virginia Museum of History & Culture [formerly Virginia Historical Society] 
  • Virginia General Assembly Legislative Information System  Online access to current legislative session information, with archived sessions dating back to 1994, as well as searchable databases for the Code of Virginia, Administrative Code, Supreme Court Rules, and Bills & Resolutions.
  • Virginia's Judicial System:  Case Status and Information  Online access to the case management system for the Supreme Court of Virginia, the Court of Appeals of Virginia, selected Circuit Courts and General District Courts.  Access to the case management system for the juvenile and domestic relations district courts is not available online.
  • West Virginia Vital Research Records Project
  • WorldCat  World Cat is the world's largest network of library content and services, and lets you search the collections of libraries in your community and thousands more around the world.

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