Arkansas Vital Records

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United States Gotoarrow.pngArkansas Gotoarrow.png Arkansas Vital Records

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Vital Records consist of births, adoptions, marriages, divorces, and deaths recorded on registers, certificates, and documents. United States Vital Records has additional research guidance on researching and using vital records.


A copy or an extract of most original records can be purchased from the Arkansas Vital Records State Department of Health or the County Clerk's office of the county where the event occurred. See also Arkansas Statewide Indexes and Collections at the Family History Library.

Tip
After locating a person in an online index always consult the original record to confirm the information in the index.


Check Arkansas Vital Records Online for more information about the resources listed below.




 
Vital Records.jpg
  

Marriage Records 
Grooms 1838 - 1939
Brides 1838 -1939
1779 - 1992

Birth Records

Birth Records reveal
Yes or Maybe
 Y  M
Name of Child Green check.png]]  
Birth Date and Place Green check.png]]  
Parent's Names Green check.png]]  
Mother's Maiden Name   Green check.png]]
Parent's Ages Green check.png]]  
Father's Occupation Green check.png]]  
Current Residence Green check.png]]  
Name of Doctor or Midwife Green check.png]]  

Online

See also How to Find Arkansas Birth Records

Arkansas birth records are in the public domain only after 100 years from the birth. To access the records more recent than that you must be a direct relative of the individual.

1881 - 1914

Statewide birth records in Arkansas did not begin until 1 February 1914. Copies of pre-1914 birth records may be obtained by contacting the county clerk's office of the county of birth. Little Rock and Fort Smith have birth records from 1881 which are available from the state. See also Substitute Records below.

1914 - Present

Arkansas began statewide birth registration 1 February 1914, however, it was the mid 1930's before widespread compliance was achieved. Due to a 100 year privacy law, the Division of Vital Records only issues copies to a family member or the individual named on the record unless the information is going to be used for family history. You must specifically state the purpose for which the certificate will be used. Delayed registrations of births are available since 1914. For copies of state records write to:

Division of Vital Records
Arkansas Department of Health
Slot #44
4815 West Markham Street
Little Rock, AR 72205-3867
Phone: 501-661-2174

The FamilySearch Catalog has microfilms of original indexes and birth records for most Arkansas counties. Click Places within United States, Arkansas for a list of counties. Select a county, then click Vital Records to see items available online or in microfilms, books.

Marriage Records

Online

If not found in one, try another, as they may not be exact duplicates.

See also How to Find Arkansas Marriage Records

Early - 1917

Earlier records must be obtained from the respective county clerk where the license was issued, which is frequently the county of the bride's residence. Be aware that some counties in Arkansas have two courthouses where the documents could have been filed. The Arkansas Department of Health has indexes to marriages from 1820 to the present. 

1917- Present

The Arkansas Department of Health has marriage records beginning 1917 and indexes to marriages from 1820 to the present. The FamilySearch Catalog has microfilms of original indexes and birth records for most Arkansas Counties. After selecting the appropriate county, click on the Vital Records topic to see available microfilms that may be ordered and viewed at a nearby Family History Center.

Divorce Records

Online

Certified copies of divorce records are available from the clerk of the circuit or chancery court in the county where the divorce was granted. In addition, the Division of Vital Records has divorce records filed since 1923.

Death Records

Online

SEE ALSO How to Find Arkansas Death Records

Early - 1914

No deaths were recorded by government agencies prior to 1914. See Substitute Records below. Additional information on the history and availability of Arkansas vital records may be found in the Guide to Vital Statistic Records in Arkansas. [1]

1914 - present

Beginning 1 February 1914, Arkansas State Law required the registration of all deaths occuring within the state of Arkansas. Information found on a death certificate is reported by an informant (usually a relative) and may or may not be accurate. To obtain copies of original death records, contact the Arkansas Department of Health. The Arkansas History Commission has an index of deaths occurring in Arkansas from 1914 through 1949. This is only an alphabetical listing of deaths for the time period; the History Commission does not have copies of the death records.

General

Adoption Records

Adoption files include the original birth certificate with identifying information to parties of the adoption. These files may be accessed through an Adoption Registry with the State of Arkansas. The State Department of Human Services has an adoption registry. It is a mutual consent registry in which both parties must be registered before identifying information can be released. Adopted adults age 21 or older, birth parents, and individuals related within the second degree may register. Before release of information, parties requesting information are required to have 1 hour of counseling.

Minorities

African American Research

When searching for birth, marriage, or death records for African Americans after the Civil War, check the record types listed above. Birth, marriage, and death information for African Americans prior to the Civil War can be found in other African American resources.

Arkansas Indian Research

To locate birth, marriage, or death information on Native Americans living in Arkansas you must know which tribe the individual belonged to.  Indians of Arkansas has more specific information about tribes in the State.

Substitute Records

Where better records do not exist, use substitute records to verify and enrich knowledge about an event or establish evidence of the birth, marriage or death of your ancestor.

Discontinued Counties 

They were established by the state, provincial, or territorial government, however these Arkansas Counties no longer exist. Most of these counties were created and disbanded in the 19th century.

  • Dorsey County: Renamed Cleveland County in 1885
  • Lovely County: Formed on October 13, 1827, from Crawford County and the Lovely Purchase. Lovely County included more of present day Oklahoma than present day Arkansas. The Oklahoma portion of the County was lost to Arkansas in 1828 with the Cherokee Treaty of that year. Most of the remainder became Washington County on October 27, 1828. Parts of Lovely County were used to form Washington County. Other county boundry changes occured when according to D.Y. Thomas, "In 1816, William and Peter Lovely purchased a tract of land from the Osage Indians, which was included within the western boundary of Arkansas, as laid down in 1824, and was a large part of the county of Lovely, created in 1827. Unfortunately, this same region had been granted to the Cherokee Indians in 1818, creating difficulties which were not settled until 1828, when the present boundary of the State was established, and most of Lovely County made a part of the Indian Territory. Such land as was left by this decision was included in Washington County, October 27, 1828, and the county officials were directed to take over the affairs and moneys of Lovely County."
  • Old Miller County: Formed on 1 April 1820 from Hempstead County. In 1828 a boundry change left Old Miller County entirely in Texas. In 1838, it was abolished to create Red River County, Texas. Extant records that are at Arkansas History Commision include Probate (1830-1838), Circuit Court (1830-1835), and Tax records (1832-1837). There was a courthouse fire in 1828. Available records for Old Miller County are in the George T. Wright Collection, Miller County Records, Territory of Arkansas, July 20, 1835 - March 17, 1838, University of Texas, Austin. Probate records have been published - see Old Miller County under books for sale www.ArkansasResearch.com
  • New Madrid County: Now located in Missouri
  • Sarber County: Formed on 22 March 1871 as Sarber County. Name changed to Logan in 14 December 1875

Tips

  • Information listed on vital records is given by an informant.  Learn the relationship of the informant to the subject(s) of the record.  The closer the relationship of the informant to the subject(s) and whether or not the informant was present at the time of the event can help determine the accuracy of the information found on the record.
  • If you are unable to locate vital records recorded by governments, search for church records of christening, marriage, death or burial.  A family Bible may have been used to record family births,marriages and deaths.
  • Records for African Americans are often recorded in separate files with separate indexes.
  • Privacy laws may restrict your access to some vital records.  Copies of vital records recorded in the last 100 years may be unavailable to anyone except direct descendants and/or ancestors.
  • If the survival of a baby was in question, the birth may not have been recorded.
  • Search for Vital Records in the FamilySearch Catalog by using a Place Search and then choosing Vital Records.  Search for Arkansas to locate records filed by the state then search the name of the county to locate records kept by that county.

Archives, Libraries & Societies

Statewide archives, libraries, historical and genealogical societies of Arkansas have collections that can be of great value in Arkansas research. Individual counties usually have historical and genealogical societies as well. Contact the Arkansas Archives, Societies and Libraries for specific information on availability of records and how to access their collections online, in person or through a local agent that will search the records for a fee.

Arkansas Archives and Libraries
Arkansas History Commission, One Capitol Mall, Little Rock, AR 72201

Arkansas Genealogical Society

Websites

References

  1. Little Rock: Arkansas Historical Survey, 1942. (Volume 2 Family History Library book 976.7 K2h; films 873998 Item 2 and 1697373 Item 5