Genetic Genealogy : Understanding DNA Results Seminar

SPRING SEMINAR: Genetic Genealogy: Understanding DNA Results

Shannon Combs-Bennett

Due to predicted inclement weather, the March 21 seminar Genetic Genealogy: Understanding DNA Results, has been postponed.  Speaker Shannon Combs-Bennett, has graciously agreed to reschedule the program for Wednesday, May 23 from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. 

If you have already registered and paid for the program we hope that you will be able to join us on the snow date.  Registration for the program is open and seats are available - please spread the word if you know anyone interested in attending. 

 Fee: $15 members of Friends of Thomas Balch Library; $20 non-members; $30 at door; Lunch on your own

*Seating is limited: Pre-registration and pre-payment will guarantee a place*

Do you have DNA results and wonder what to do with them – or perhaps wonder whether it is worth the expense to take a DNA test and if so which one? This seminar, in four parts, will provide a general introduction to DNA Genealogy and include sections on understanding Autosomal DNA results, using third party tools to collect, share, and interpret results, and developing a research plan combining genetics and genealogy. Whether you are a novice or experienced, this is an opportunity to enhance your understanding of DNA genealogy and new developments in the field. There will be two breaks (morning and afternoon) and a lunch break of 1-1/2 hours on your own in historic Leesburg.

Shannon Combs-Bennett, PLCGS is an award winning author and lecturer based out of Northern Virginia. She lectures on a variety of subjects from methodology to genetics. Shannon earned her BS in biology from Indiana University and is currently working toward her MSc in genealogical, paleographic, and heraldic studies from the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland.

Friends Annual Meeting --January 21, 2018

The  23rd Friends Annual Meeting will be held on Sunday, January 21, in the downstairs meeting room of the Thomas Balch Library from 2-4 PM.   In case of inclement weather, the make-up date will be on Sunday, January 28.  The program will be "Oral History Series: Interview with Bill Harrison."  Bill is the former Loudoun County Extension Agent.  This meeting also will include the election of the 2018 directors of the friends of Thomas Balch Library Board.


Please join the Friends of the Thomas Balch Library for a "A LATE AFTERNOON AT THE RIVER" on Sunday, September 24, 2017 from 4-7 PM at Suzi and Travis Worsham's beautiful home Riverside on the Potomac.  Our speaker is Eugene Scheel.   He will be speaking on Little Known Facts About Loudoun County.   Come and enjoy the panoramic vistas, great food, fine wine, and engaging conversation.   The price is $95 per person.  To request an invitation call 540-579-2825 or email us.

Heritage Bus Tour Debut Is a Big Hit!

After more than a year of planning and practice, the Friends' Black History Committe (BHC) launched it's Heritage Bus Tour, on the bright Saturday morning of November 14, 2015.  At 8:30 AM, the 22 enthusiastic "tourists," together with Project coordinator Alicia Cohen and BHC presenters, gathered at the Library to board the tour mini bus.  Starting out in Leesburg, Loudoun native Mary Randolph pointed out several historical sites including the fully accredited yet long-segregated Douglass High School.

Next visit, the Quaker Village of Waterford, home to both free and enslaved African Americans in its past.  At A visit to the Second Street School, dedicated to the education of local black children,  we heard from alumni Almeta Johnson, Vera Lewis and John Middleton, a special arrangement by Louis Jett.  Final stop in the village, the Union Cemetery, led by local historian Bronwen Souders.  We viewed the burial sites of several U.S. Colored Infantry Soldiers identified by their headstones or American flags.

Traveling through Purcellville, Louis Jett, a resident, provided a brief narrative on important sites:  Carver School, Emancipation Grounds, and the "color line."  Continuing on to St. Louis, Phyllis Cook-Taylor discussed the work of black men in the horse industry, and Banneker Elementary School, another important educational institution.  In Middleburg, we were delighted to relax and enjoy lunch as guests at the beautiful Salamander Resort.  After our break, Ms. Cook-Taylor continued her presentation with additional sites in Middleburg at "Bureau Corner," pointing out the churches and community center she attended as a child.

At Oatlands Plantation, Lori Kimball, programming director, led us through the mansion, discussing the history of the former owners and the work of their enslaved families.  At our final community, Gleedsville, church historian Leslie Wright and Lauren Wilczynski shared the the history of this African American built community and the Mt. Olive Methodist Church (now Unitarian-Universalist Church).  From the participants' written feedback, the heritage tour exceeded expectations!

This first tour was supported in part by a grant from the Loudoun Credit Union and a second tour is set for Saturday, June 25th, 2016

Thank You, Friends, for a Great "Revolutionary" Fundraiser!

A few words of appreciation to all from Friends President Donald G. Cooper, Ph.D—

 Don Cooper, Friends president and a member of the executive committee of the Patriot Project, with a replica of the Revolutionary War memorial sculpture, commissioned by that group. The sculpture was installed at the Loudoun County Courthouse grounds on Veterans Day, November 11, 2015.  

Don Cooper, Friends president and a member of the executive committee of the Patriot Project, with a replica of the Revolutionary War memorial sculpture, commissioned by that group. The sculpture was installed at the Loudoun County Courthouse grounds on Veterans Day, November 11, 2015.  

Every successful fundraiser needs an army of volunteers to plan and execute it. For its 8th annual fundraising event held on September 13, the Friends enlisted a remarkable group of individuals, none more so than Friend and owner of Silverbrook Farm, Dorothy ("Dot") Shetterly. How to properly thank her? In the tradition of Thomas Balch Library, it seemed appropriate to look to history and genealogy. Thanks to the inspiration of Lewis Leigh, Jr., and Bill Ray, the Friends presented Dot with a framed chain of title for her family's property going back to pre-Revolutionary times. 

I want to take this opportunity to thank the numerous individuals and firms who helped to make this fundraising event a success this year. First, I want to thank Dorothy Shetterly who graciously provided the use of Silverbrook Farm to Friends of Thomas Balch Library. Second, a special thank you to the fundraiser committee—Ron Rust, Lewis Leigh, Jr., Bill Ray, Susan Webber, Suzi Worsham, Patty Rogers-Renner, Sharon Parker, Brock Bierman, and Phil Lo Presti—who planned and executed this event

Third, thanks to our sponsors—Don Cooper, Rosalie and Lewis Leigh, Jr., Susan and George Webber, Sharon and Lew Parker, Lee and Paul Lawrence, Brock Bierman, Ron and Judy Rust, Marilyn Rogers-Renner and David Renner, James and Mary Grace Lucier, Jeffrey Bolyard, John and Mary Davis, Suzi and Travis Worsham, Engle, Paxton & Hawthorne Insurance Services, and Toth Financial Advisory Corporation. Fourth, thanks to our speakers Tracy Gillespie, the Hon. Gary Clemens, and Dr. Don Cooper for providing us information on the role of Loudoun County during the American Revolution. Fifth, a special thanks for the additional support provided by Gary Dickens, Rich Gillespie, Sarah Huntington, Laura Longley, William Ray, Middleburg Printers, PR Construction, United Site Services, and catering by Savoir Fare and Smokin' Willy. Finally, a thank you to all those who purchased tickets for the event, made donations, and bought raffle tickets. We appreciate your support.