Essex Public Library

Library Updates

Considering a Genealogical DNA Test?

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During the last few years, DNA testing for genealogical purposes has become extremely popular. Projects such as National Geographic’s Genographic Project and “family search” television programs have prompted millions of genealogy enthusiasts to pay between $100 and $200 for saliva swab tests in hopes of confirming their research and adding to their family tree. These tests can provide valuable information, but it is important to understand what they can and cannot do.

Image of DNA

There are three types of DNA tests: yDNA, mtDNA, and autosomalDNA, and dozens of companies you can order these tests from. Each of these three tests measure different aspects of one’s DNA and provide different results: paternal or maternal lineage, ethnic background, migration patterns, etc. No one test serves all needs. Indeed, more often than not, only one of these three tests will suit a specific genealogical goal.

You will be sent a kit which you send back with a saliva sample obtained usually by swabbing your cheek. The company then tests the DNA contained in the sample. From 12 to 112 chromosomal “markers” are examined and the results are mailed back in 6-8 weeks. The more markers examined, the more information obtained, but the more expensive the test. It is important to understand which types of tests are being offered by a company and how many markers are used, so you can choose the one that suits your genealogical needs.

Since the underlying science is complicated, here is a link which explains the basics and purpose of each test, in a simplified, understandable fashion:

After reading this information, you can make an informed choice and order the appropriate test.

For those who would like to investigate further, here is a page that explains in some depth the science behind DNA testing:

If you are interested in genealogical DNA testing, take a little time and read up on the subject before paying a substantial sum for a DNA test that may not suit your purpose.

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Library Lovers’ Bingo Fundraiser

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Ad for Bingo Event

Want to show some love for your community library? Join the Friends of the Essex Library for Library Lovers’ Bingo on Saturday, February 8, at 2:00 p.m. at Old Beale Sanctuary, located at 202 S. Church Lane in Tappahannock. The cost is $15, paid at the door. Entry includes 12 Bingo games and light refreshments.

Prizes include a range of fun experiences, food and entertainment, donated by local businesses and organizations, including the Essex County Museum, To-Do Cafe, Ingleside Winery, 17 South Restaurant, and themed gift baskets.

February is National Library Lovers Month, so it’s time to show your library some love and win some lovely prizes during this fun Bingo event.

Funds raised by the Friends of the Essex Library support special library programs and events serving Essex County and the greater Tappahannock community.

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Feb. 8 Presentation on Green Book Businesses of the Middle Peninsula

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A special presentation scheduled on February 8 will focus on historic local businesses listed in “The Negro Motorist Green Book,” a publication which listed businesses that served African Americans during the Jim Crow era. This lecture will take place on Saturday, February 8 at 11:00 a.m. at Essex Public Library, located at 117 North Church Lane in Tappahannock.

Published annually from 1936 to 1966, The Green Book enabled African-American travelers to find lodging, restaurants, and other businesses that would serve them along the road.

Representatives from the Fairfield Foundation and architectural historian Susan Hellman will share their research about Green Book businesses in our region.

Those who are familiar with any of the following local businesses are invited to attend the presentation and share their recollections:

  • Middlesex County: Oliver’s Restaurant and Texaco Station at Jamaica; G. L. Davis Service Station and Midway Auto Repair at Stormont.
  • Essex County: Mark Haven Beach at Center Cross; Sessons Tavern at Caret; McGuire’s Inn, Harris’ Grill, and Way Side Inn at Tappahannock.
  • West Point: White’s Restaurant and Barber Shop, Morton’s Restaurant, and Jordan’s Enterprises.
  • Gloucester: W.J. Stokes Restaurant, Watkins Motel, and Watkins Florist.

This event is sponsored by Essex Public Library, The Fairfield Foundation, and Middle Peninsula African-American Genealogical and Historical Society.

For more information, call Essex Public Library at (804) 443-4945

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Fall 2019 Evening with a Writer

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Ribbons of Scarlet Book Cover

Date: October 18, 2019
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Location: Essex Inn, Tappahannock, Virginia
Cost: $35

The Friends of Essex Public Library invite you to the Fall 2019 Evening with a Writer, featuring three authors of the anticipated new historical novel Ribbons of Scarlet. The book’s six authors bring to life six diverse female characters whose paths cross during the French Revolution. The result is an epic novel illuminating the power of women to change the world.

Three authors, Laura Kamoie, Heather Webb, and Sophie Perinot, will be the event’s guest speakers. The evening’s festivities will be held at the Essex Inn in Tappahannock. Tickets are $35 and are available for purchase at Essex Public Library or online at:

The ticket price includes a glass of wine and French hors d’oeuvres. Tickets are limited and must be purchased no later than Wednesday, October 9. Proceeds benefit Essex Public Library.

A book signing will follow the authors’ reading and discussion. Copies of the book will be available for sale.


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Stuffed Animals Invited for a Sleepover on May 4th

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It’s well known that stuffed animals enjoy a good story. In celebration of the 100th anniversary of Children’s Book Week, Essex Public Library will host a Stuffed Animal Sleepover the evening of Friday, May 3.  Community stuffed animals are invited for an evening of games, crafts and stories before being tucked in for a giant sleepover.

Children are welcome to drop off stuffed animals between 3:00 and 6:00 on Friday, May 3rd.  The sleepover will end on Saturday, May 4 at 10:30 during a special storytime where children will find out what things their stuffed animals have been up to.

Photo of Ms. Beth with Stuffed Bear


Owners of stuff animals will be asked to register their friends at the front desk during drop-off so that the staff can be properly introduced to them.  It can be hard to choose which particular stuffed animal you want to bring, but it’s very important to remember that it should feel comfortable spending an entire night away from you.  We really don’t want any of our friends at our sleepover party getting homesick in the middle of the night!

Because Ms. Beth needs to know just how much pizza to order for all the stuffed animals, registration is required.  Call Essex Public Library at 443-4945 or e-mail

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  • Hours

    Monday: 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
    Tuesday: 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
    Wednesday: 10:00 AM - 8:00 PM
    Thursday: 10:00 AM - 8:00 PM
    Friday: 1:00 PM - 6:00 PM
    Saturday: 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
    Sunday: Closed

  • Location

    Essex Public Library
    117 North Church Lane
    Tappahannock, VA 22560

    Phone: 804-443-4945

  • About Essex County

    Essex County

    Town of Tappahannock

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