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Genealogy Resources

an Arkansas familyThe following list of collections provides an introduction to the holdings in Special Collections which may related to this topic. Please consult the University of Arkansas Libraries' online catalog, InfoLinks, under subjects such as:

  • genealogy--[county name]--ark
  • cemeteries--arkansas--[county name]
  • register of births etc--arkansas--[county name]

for more information. Or contact Special Collections.

Materials are listed in InfoLinks, the University Libraries' online catalog, and in card catalogs in the division. Materials in this division are identified in InfoLinks by the location codes ARK COLL or SPEC COLL. Because they comprise a preservation collection rather than a ready-reference collection they are not accessible for browsing.

To ensure security and preservation of resources for future generations, the department has special regulations regarding access and handling of materials. For example, we permit the use for note-taking of pencils only. Materials are shelved in closed stacks and are retrieved by staff for use in the division reading room. Photocopies will be made from research materials provided this will not damage the original items.

The department maintains collections of books and journals, manuscripts, photographs, maps, and other records of the lives and activities of Arkansans of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. We highlight a few examples here.

Biographical Index cites entries in seventy-five standard sources on Arkansas history. It includes references to biographies in the Goodspeed's histories for five regions in Arkansas published in the 1890s, as well as several multi-volume histories of the state (such as Herndon's Centennial History of Arkansas, Hallum's Biographical and Pictorial History of Arkansas, and Williams's Arkansans of the Years).

County histories have been published for many of Arkansas's counties ranging from the Goodspeed's histories mentioned above to individual county histories written for the nation's bicentennial, the state's sesquicentennial, and other special occasions. These can be identified in InfoLinks through a subject search. For example: [name of the county], (ARK.)--HISTORY

Published family histories, reminiscences, and autobiographies are listed in InfoLinks by the name of the family or individual about whom the book is written.

Manuscript collections often include biographical and genealogical research materials prepared or collected by the individual or family members who donated the collection. Such materials are identified in the finding aids for the specific collections. A manuscript collection may also include correspondence, diaries, reminiscences or other items useful for biographical and genealogical research. Collections also frequently include photographs.

Microfilms of other collections. In addition to the original manuscripts housed in Special Collections, the library's Periodicals Room also holds microfilm for some manuscript materials preserved at other libraries. For example: the collection of Wisconsin's Lyman Draper. This library has a general index to that collection and a set of 135 microfilm reels of the manuscripts (PER MFILM Z 6621 .W6 D73). The WorldCat database also lists other locations for this microfilm, which you may request through interlibrary loan at your local public library.

For researching Native American ancestry, the library has the name index to the Final Rolls of Citizens and Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes in Indian Territory, of the Dawes Commission (REF E78.I5.U27). However, we do not have the actual rolls.

Military history. A popular source for this topic is The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies (E491.U6). The index is shelved with the series and in the Reference Department. Microfilm of the Index to Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Arkansas is in the Periodicals Room (E553.U535), but this library does not have the records themselves. Many helpful sources on this topic are described in Manuscript Resources for the Civil War (E553.9 .U59).

State birth & death records (since February 1, 1914) and marriage & divorce records (since 1917) should be requested from the Arkansas Department of Health, 4815 W. Markham Street Slot 44, Little Rock, AR 72205.

Census records are important sources for genealogical research. Enumerated schedules for the census of population for Arkansas are available on microfilm in the library's Periodicals Room (for the 1920 census at F410.C45 1920 and for 1830- 1910 at Film 89). The only Soundex index in the library is for the 1920 census of Arkansas (located in the Periodicals Room at F410.I52 1920).

  • Published indexes to the census of Arkansas for 1830-1870 are listed in InfoLinks under: ARKANSAS--CENSUS, [the year]--INDEXES
  • Abstracts, indexes, and transcriptions of the census for specific counties are listed in Infolinks under: [name of the county], (ARK.)--Census, [the year]

Special censuses for Arkansas, like the mortality schedules, are available for the years 1850-1880. These are on microfilm in the Periodicals Room (at F410.C42 through F410.C46).

Newspapers in Arkansas and the libraries where you may find them are identified in Arkansas Union List of Newspapers (REF DESK Z6952.A8.A75). Newspapers in this library are available on microfilm in the Periodicals Room. Few indexes to newspapers are available. However, an index to the Arkansas Gazette (1819-1894, 1960-1991) and Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (1991-present) is available at REF AI21.A75. Another frequently used title is The Arkansas Gazette Obituaries Index, 1819-1879 (REF F410.C54 1990). Microfilm of this newspaper is in the Periodicals Room (F419.L7.A735 and F419.L747).

Services. The department is open to students, faculty, and staff of the University and to the general public. The department can provide limited assistance by mail. However, it is not staffed to conduct extensive research for patrons.

Acquisitions. Special Collections continues to welcome additions to the collections. If you or others you know have letters, diaries, photographs, or other historical records which should be preserved, please contact us for suggestions

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Last updated: August 15, 2012