Arkansas Resources

Today's free genealogy resource is another state archives. The Arkansas State Archives has a number of online collections that can be helpful to genealogists. These include land records, Confederate pensions, Confederate home records, 1911 Confederate veterans reunion registration forms and questionnaires and World War I discharge records.

Land records are searchable by first or last name. It does appear that you need the full name, not a partial one so if the name can be spelled multiple ways, you may have to go through searching each spelling variation until you find the record you are looking for. The results screen gives a list of names matching your search criteria. Clicking on the name will take you to another screen that offers a bit more information, including name, date, box, file, record type, notes and location.

The Arkansas Confederate Pensions database is also searchable by name. Once you find the name you are seeking, click on it to be taken to the record page. There you will find the individual's name, application number, widow's name, company, regiment, state served, division, pension county, death date, application date, widow's death date and comments. Not all entries will have the widow's information. In the comments, you can see if the application was approved.

The Arkansas Confederate Home was built in 1890 to house indigent veterans and their widows. Over the years, it was moved to new facilities a few times before finally closing in 1963. This database is searchable by surname only. Selecting a hyperlinked name will give you the name of the individual, county applied from, date of admission and comments.

Two things occurred in 1911 that are of interest to today's genealogists tracing Arkansas Confederate soldiers. The first was the 21st annual reunion of the United Confederate Veterans. Registration forms were filled out by not only Confederate veterans, but also some Union veterans and other family members. The database can be searched by surname, given name or regiment. The initial results screen gives the individual's name, city and regiment. Click the name to get additional information, which may include address and service details.

The second thing that occurred in 1911 was the approval of Act 353, which called for a census of Confederate soldiers living in Arkansas, in order to provide payments to these individuals. You can search by name or military service. The first screen will give you the name and military service. The screen following your click on a name will give you the person's name, city and county at the time, birth date and location, military service information, wife's name and quality of information.

The quality of information is rated as poor, average or excellent. Poor means the index has most, if not all of the available information. Average means most of the information requested on the questionnaire was given. Excellent denotes the questionnaires that offer the most information and may have been appended.

Last, but not least is the World War I Discharge database. Again, you can search by first or last name and clicking on the name takes you to more information. From the database, you can get the individual's name, county, birthplace and reason for discharge.

There are also two photographic databases, the Shrader negatives and the Thomas Harding photographs. The first can be browsed by name; the second searched by name. Even though you don't get to see the actual photograph, it will give you information on the photo, including where it can be found in the archive.

The databases are all free genealogy resources, but there is a possibility of finding more information for a fee. You will find most entries have a buy now button. Clicking this will take you to a PDF which can be printed and filled out to request a copy of the actual record. If you are fairly sure you have the right person, it might be worth paying the fee for the copy since it can offer more information than you find in the index.

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