Cleveland County, Arkansas Genealogy

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United States Gotoarrow.png Arkansas Gotoarrow.png Cleveland County

Guide to Cleveland County, Arkansas ancestry, family history, and genealogy birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.

Arkansas State with State Seal.png Arkansas
Online Records

Cleveland County, Arkansas
Map of Arkansas highlighting Cleveland County
Location in the state of Arkansas
Map of the U.S. highlighting Arkansas
Location of Arkansas in the U.S.
Founded April 17, 1873
County Seat Rison
Address Cleveland County Courthouse
Main and Magnolia Streets; PO Box 348
Rison, AR 71665
Phone: 870.325.6521

County Courthouse

Cleveland County Arkansas Courthouse.jpg

Cleveland County Courthouse
Main and Magnolia Streets; PO Box 348
Rison, AR 71665
Phone: 870.325.6521

County Clerk has marriage records from 1880, along with divorce, probate and court records.[1]

Beginning years for Cleveland County, Arkansas Genealogy government records[2]
Birth Marriage Death Court Land Probate
1914* 1880 1914* 1873 1873 1873
*State birth and death records began in 1914. Limited compliance until 1920's

Government and Related Websites

County Government and other Local Websites (unofficial site) Clerks have jurisdiction over birth certificates, death certificates, marriage licenses, land use, land rights, real estate, and other court records. Site provides links to unofficial websites with online records (unofficial site) Provides links to County officials and public records


Parent County

County seat: Rison [3]

Boundary Changes

For animated maps illustrating Arkansas county boundary changes, "Rotating Formation Arkansas County Boundary Maps" (1813-1925) may be viewed for free at the website.

Variant Spellings

Record Loss

Although specific courthouse disasters are not known, it is reported that the records are incomplete and some are not in good condition. Several tax books, one marriage record, and one or more court records are missing.


Town/city records in the FamilySearch Catalog

Populated Places

Neighboring Counties

Bradley  • Calhoun  • Dallas  • Drew  • Grant  • Jefferson  • Lincoln

Cleveland CountyLincoln CountyDrew CountyBradley CountyCalhoun CountyOuachita CountyDallas CountyHot Spring CountyGrant CountyJefferson CountyArkansas CountyDesha CountyChicot CountyAshley CountyUnion CountyColumbia CountyNevada CountyClark CountyGarland CountySaline CountyPulaski CountyLonoke CountyPrairie CountyARCleveland.JPG

History Timeline

Emphasis for this timeline is on events that affected migration, records, or record-keeping. Unless otherwise mentioned, the events below were taken from the Cleveland County page on the website, The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture. [4]

  • 1834 - The third Quapaw Treaty ratified by the U.S. Senate was the beginning of the end of the Indians treaty lands in Arkansas.
  • 1864 April 25 - The most important event in what became Cleveland County during the Civil War was the Battle of Marks’ Mills.
  • 1873 April 17 - Cleveland County was established.
  • 1910 - The high point for population of the county.
  • 1970 - The low point for population of the county.

Genealogy Resources

Research Guides

African Americans

Bible Records


Online Cleveland County, Arkansas cemeteries
from state and national resources
Search for names of people
in Cleveland County
Get a list of cemeteries
(then click to names of people)
Find printed records
(Often more complete)
  • Find A Grave Click "Refine Last Search" on the left, enter a name, click "Search"
  • Billion Graves Enter a name and click "Search" (Statewide. Can search by county, but many with no results.)
  • Find A Grave Click Search for a Cemetery on the right, click All Countries - click United States, click State, click County and search.

More cemetery lists


Church Records



  • Probate Records 1873-1974 Cleveland County portion of the collection: Arkansas Probate Records, 1817-1979: Arkansas Probate Records, 1817-1979 FamilySearch Historical Collections (Free, browse images)
    • Includes Administration records 1876-1908; Guardian records 1877-1909; Inventories 1877-1974; Letters of guardianship 1909-1938; Probate records 1873-1893; Wills 1877-1947.


Land and Property

Local Histories

Local histories are available for {{{1}}} County. They may include biographies, church, school and government history, and military information. Click for a brief Timeline History of the county. For more about local histories, see Arkansas Local Histories.

  • Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Southern Arkansas. Chicago, IL, USA: Goodspeed Publishing, 1890. Online at: ($)



Civil War
Civil War Battle

The following Civil War battle was fought in Cleveland County.

Map showing Civil War battles in Arkansas.



Finding More Arkansas Newspapers Additional newspapers abstracts can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Cleveland County, Arkansas Genealogy newspapers in online catalogs like:


Probate Records

Online Probate Records


Vital Records

See also How to order Arkansas Vital Records

Vital Record Substitutes

Genealogy Societies and Libraries

Major catalogs for hard copy collections of Cleveland County, Arkansas Genealogy
Books, microfilm, or manuscripts of genealogical records
FamilySearch Catalog Select topics. For towns, click here.
WorldCat Click an item for libraries near you. For more information, see WorldCat Online Catalog.
Allen County Public Library Located in Indiana, they are heavily involved in digitizing much of their collection.
Arkansas History Commission Select the county Arkansas state agency involved in organizing, digitizing, and maintaining the records of state and local history.
Local libraries and Arkansas Archives and Libraries may suggest other catalogs

Family History Centers

Family history centers provide one-on-one assistance and free access to premium genealogical websites. In addition, many centers have free how-to genealogy classes. See family history center for more information. Search the online FHC directory for a nearby family history center.


Sites with online indexes or images of records
ARGenWeb Free Data may be submitted by individuals or complete transcriptions
USGenWeb Archives Free Data may be submitted by individuals or may be complete transcriptions
RootsWeb Free Data may be submitted by individuals or may be complete transcriptions
Sites that search for links pertaining to Cleveland County, Arkansas Genealogy
Linkpendium Free Click links. Some sites they link to may have fees ($)
CyndisList Free Click links. Some sites they link to may have fees ($) Free family history resources and government records

Social networking sites pertaining to Cleveland County, Arkansas Genealogy Cleveland County, AR Genealogy Forum Cleveland County Message Board


  1. The Handybook for Genealogists : United States of America, 10th ed., (Draper, UT: Everton Publishers, 2002), p. 66.
  2. Alice Eichholz, Red Book: American State, County and Town Sources, 3rd ed. (Salt Lake City: Ancestry Pub., 2004), 65-67. At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27rb 2004.
  3. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
  4. Louise Mitchell, The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture, ([1] : accessed January 12, 2016), “Cleveland County.”
  5. Heritage Preservation Services, Civil War Battle Summaries by State, (accessed 15 August, 2012)
  6. FamilySearch Wiki contributors, "Arkansas County Marriages (FamilySearch Historical Records)," in FamilySearch Wiki.
  7. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at