African American Resources for Arkansas

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Beginning Research
Record Types
Arkansas Background
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Local Research Resources

Introduction[edit | edit source]

This guide focuses on sources that are specific to the African American experience in Arkansas. Check out the Arkansas, United States Genealogy and African American guides on as well.

Online Resources[edit | edit source]

  • 1861-1872 United States, Freedmen's Bureau Marriages, 1861-1872 at FamilySearch — How to Use this Collection
  • 1865-1874 United States, Freedman's Bank Records, 1865-1874 at FamilySearch — How to Use this Collection
  • 1882-1929, 1945-1963 Arkansas Deaths and Burials, 1882-1929; 1945-1963 at FamilySearch; index — How to Use this Collection
  • 1914-1950 Arkansas Death Index, 1914-1950 at FamilySearch; index — How to Use this Collection
  • African American Digital Bookshelf - a growing list of digital books on FamilySearch and other websites
  • Arkansas Slave Names
  • DiscoverFreedmen
  • Research Strategy[edit | edit source]

    Follow the strategies described on the African American Genealogy page.

    History[edit | edit source]

    Resources[edit | edit source]

    Biographies[edit | edit source]

    Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

  • African American Cemeteries Online: Arkansas - organized by county
  • Arkansas Gravestones
  • Arkansas Gravestones Project
  • Census Records[edit | edit source]

    Church Records[edit | edit source]

  • Allen Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church records (1944-1983) are located in the state archives (Arkansas History Commission). This collection contains the church board, treasurer, and Sunday school records of the Allen Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME), of Sweet Home, Arkansas, 1944-1983.
  • First Missionary Baptist Church [Little Rock] (1845- ) History
  • Clark, John Franklin. A Brief History of Negro Baptists in Arkansas: A Story of Their Progress and Development, 1867-1939. Pine Bluff, Ark.: [s.n.], 1938. At various libraries (WorldCat).
  • Emancipation Records[edit | edit source]

    Funeral Homes[edit | edit source]

    Genealogies[edit | edit source]

  • "Arkansas African American Records" at Arkansas Genealogy. Provides resources, including links to African American cemeteries, military records, slave records, and more.
  • Land and Property[edit | edit source]

    Visit the Arkansas Land and Property page to learn more about land records and how to access them. Check the deed book indexes for the years before 1865 for enslaved people listed in the "Description" column. Most county courthouse deed books are digitized on Search the FamilySearch Catalog by county.

    Plantation[edit | edit source]

  • Sankofagen: Arkansas plantations and slave labor sites
  • Law and Legislation[edit | edit source]

    Oral Histories[edit | edit source]

    Other Records[edit | edit source]

    Military Records[edit | edit source]

    Civil War

    World War I

    Newspapers[edit | edit source]

    Last Seen: Finding Family After Slavery

    Probate Records[edit | edit source]

    Visit the Arkansas Probate Records page to learn more about probate in Arkansas and how to find them. Pre-1865 records could contain the names of enslaved people from the slaveowner's probate records.

    Reconstruction Records[edit | edit source]

    Freedman’s Bank[edit | edit source]

    An excellent source is the Freedman’s Savings and Trust Company (visit the African American Freedman's Savings and Trust Company Records page to learn more). This company was created to assist African American soldiers of the Civil War and freed slaves. Freedman’s Savings and Trust Company signature cards or registers from 3 March 1865 to 25 July 1874 may list the name of the depositor, date of entry, age, birthplace, residence, complexion, name of employer or occupation, wife or husband’s name, death information, children’s names, name of father and mother, brothers’ and sisters’ names, remarks, and signature. Early books sometimes contained the name of the former master or mistress and the name of the plantation. Copies of death certificates were sometimes attached to the entries.

    Online collections of Freedman's Bank records:

    Freedmen's Bureau[edit | edit source]

    The Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands was created by the US government in 1865 until 1872 to assist former slaves in the southern United States. The Bureau created a wide variety of records extremely valuable to genealogists. Such documents include censuses, marriage records, and medical records. These records often include full names, former masters and plantations, and current residences.[1] For 1865 and 1866, the section on abandoned and confiscated lands includes the names of the owners of the plantations or homes that were abandoned, confiscated, or leased. It gives the county and location, a description of the house, the number of acres owned, and the number of cabins of former slaves. These films do not appear to contain the names of former slaves.

    To find Freedmen's Bureau records:

    Other collections not included:

    Additional Resources:

    School Records[edit | edit source]

    Slavery Records[edit | edit source]

    Vital Records[edit | edit source]

    Birth[edit | edit source]

    Marriage[edit | edit source]

    The Freedmen's Bureau (1865-1872) was created by the US government to assist former slaves in the southern United States. One of their responsibilities was to record the marriages (past and present) of the former slaves. These records can be found in the collections below and include the lists of marriages that occurred previously, marriage certificates, and marriage licenses. The information contained on the records may include the name of the husband and wife/groom and bride, age, occupation, residence, year or date of marriage, by whom, number of children, and remarks.

    Death[edit | edit source]

    Divorce[edit | edit source]

    Voting Registers[edit | edit source]

    Archives and Libraries[edit | edit source]

    Visit the Arkansas Archives and Libraries page to learn more about archives and libraries in Arkansas.

    Societies[edit | edit source]

    AAHGS Arkansas Chapter
    Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society (AAHGS)
    P.O. Box 4294
    Little Rock, AR 72214
    Website: AAHGS

    A Museum of African American History
    Mosaic Templars Cultural Center
    501 W. Ninth Street
    Little Rock, Arkansas 72201
    Telephone: (501) 683-3593
    Website: Mosaic Templars Center

    Black History Commission of Arkansas
    Arkansas State Archives
    2B215, 2nd Floor, 1 Capitol Mall
    Little Rock, AR 72201
    Website: BHCA

    References[edit | edit source]

    1. "African American Records: Freedmen's Bureau," "African American Heritage," National Archives, accessed 11 May 2018.