Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

We get a lot of questions about a lot of different things each week.  We receive some of our questions through social media and others through phone calls and visits.   There tends to be a core group of questions that we are most frequently asked, though.  We thought it might be helpful to share answers to a few of those frequently asked questions. 
1. Do we have birth or death records?

Although we have a lot of records, unfortunately we don’t have birth or death records.  Arkansas wasn’t required by law to have birth or death records before 1914.  The Vital Records Department under the Department of Health has birth and death records for Arkansas after 1914, but we don’t.  However, we do have an index to death records after 1914 of names and dates of death.  We also have something called prior birth records.  Prior birth records are birth certificates or records for people born before 1914.  People born before that year could apply to receive what was essentially a delayed birth certificate.   

2.  Do we have Civil War Union Army records?

We don’t have Union Army pension records.  Those are Federal records and they can be found at the National Archives in Washington D.C.  We do, however, have Union Army service records on microfilm and Confederate records for Arkansas, including pension records and service records.

3. Do we have records relating to Native Americans?

We have a copy of the Dawes Roll, which was essentially a census of Native Americans in Oklahoma in 1900.  And we have some unofficial records and some books addressing general Native American history as well.  But we don't have the in depth research materials on Native American history that other institutions have.  In fact, we really encourage you to contact some of those other institutions specializing in Native American history.  The two that immediately come to mind are The Sequoyah Research Center (which is in Little Rock) http://ualr.edu/sequoyah/  and the Oklahoma State Archives (in Oklahoma City)http://www.odl.state.ok.us/oar/ .  Both of these institutions are wonderful repositories of Native American history and our colleagues at these institutions are incredibly helpful and very knowledgable. You can also try to contact individual tribes for more information.