Genealogy Online


Ancestry Library Edition

7 billion genealogical records from across the globe and millions of family trees. Find Family Trees, Helpful tools, Historical Records, and Support! Only available inside the library.

View the Ancestry Library Edition Website

Ancestry for Virginians

The Library of Virginia is providing free online access to the following databases for Virginians doing genealogical research on Virginian Ancestors:

  • Alabama, Texas and Virginia, Confederate Pensions, 1884-1958
  • Virginia, Birth Records, 1912-2014, Delayed Birth Records, 1854-1911
  • Virginia, Death Records, 1912-2014
  • Virginia, Marriage Records, 1936-2014
  • Virginia, Divorce Records, 1918-2014
  • Virginia Colonial Records, 1607-1853

Visit the Ancestry for Virginians site to begin your search

HeritageQuest Online

Access genealogical resources including:

  • Freedman’s Bank Records
  • PERiodical Source Index (PERSI)
  • Revolutionary War Pension Records
  • United States Census
  • United States Congressional Serial Set

Visit HeritageQuest Online.

The ACPL Genealogy Center:

The ACPL Genealogy Center is a unique and valuable resource for the entire genealogical community, with one of the largest research collections available, incorporating records from all around the world. Visit the ACPL Genealogy Center here

The African American Gateway:

Choose a state, region, or subject to explore resources. Visit the African American Gateway here

Portsmouth Public Library Offers The Virginian Pilot Historical 

The Portsmouth Public Library is pleased to announce the immediate availability of its new digital newspaper collection. Titled The Virginian Pilot Historical this collection is available to all library patrons and is updated daily. The Virginian Pilot Historical provides online access to current and archived issues of The Virginia Pilot from 1856 to 1989 full-text newspapers.

The Virginian Pilot Historical enables library patrons to easily search and browse current and archived news articles, editorials, reviews, birth and marriage announcements, obituaries and a variety of special sections. Patrons can use this resource for general reference or to research local and national issues, events, people, government, education, arts, business, sports, real estate and much more.

The Virginian Pilot Historical is a resource offered by NewsBank, the world’s premier provider of newspapers and other news sources online. Serving public libraries for more than 45 years, NewsBank offers online access to more than 12,000 titles from the U.S. and other countries around the globe. For more information on this collection, contact the Portsmouth Public Library by calling 757-393-8501 and click below.


Portsmouth Vital Records

Links to transcribed Portsmouth and Norfolk County Records from 1853 to 1939.  The transcriptions come from records held within the Esther Murdaugh Wilson Local History Room located in the Portsmouth Main Library. Click here to view the records. Find records for such things as:

  • Births for Norfolk County and Portsmouth 1850 to 1896
  • Deaths in Portsmouth and Elizabeth River Parish recorded in Norfolk County 1853-1860
  • Cemeteries within the city limits (not including some small family plots around the city)
  • Marriages of Norfolk County (early and 1850-1935) and Portsmouth (1858-1939)

... and more!

Portsmouth Yearbooks


The Portsmouth Public Library, in partnership with the Library of Virginia and the Internet Archive, is now providing access to scanned images of one hundred and fifty-seven Portsmouth School Yearbooks. The yearbooks include high school, middle school, local college, and nursing school institutions (some of which no longer exist!) dating from 1923 to 1977. The yearbooks in the collection have been donated to our Local History Room over the years. Though the collection does not include every year for every school, the library is always interested in adding missing years. 

If you would like to donate yearbooks to the permanent Local History collection please call us at 757-393-8501, ext. 6521.

Visit the Yearbooks Section of the Portsmouth Library Archives Website.


Heritage Hub

Explore your family history with the premier collection of U.S. obituaries and death notices. Heritage Hub provides in-depth genealogical research from 1824 to today. Identify relatives, uncover new information, and discover potentially unknown family members. Includes deep coverage from all 50 states, hard to find content from the mid 1900's, and original obituary images. Access is available 24/7. Click here to start your search!