Clay County, Arkansas Genealogy

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

County Facts
County seat: Piggott
Organized: March 24, 1873
Parent County(s): Randolph and Greene [1]
Neighboring Counties
Butler (MO)  • Dunklin (MO)  • Greene  • Randolph  • Ripley (MO)
See County Maps
Location Map

County Information[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

The county was named after John M. Clayton, then a member of the Arkansas Senate and a brother of then-U.S. Senator Powell Clayton, though some sources suggest it may have been named for Powell Clayton instead. It is located in the northeast area of the state.[2]

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Clay County Courthouse
PO Box 306
Piggott, AR 72454
Phone: 870.598.2813
Clay County website

Clerk Circuit Court has land, divorce and court records from 1893.
County Clerk has marriage and probate records from 1893.[3]

Clay County, Arkansas[edit | edit source]

Information for this chart was taken from various sources, often containing conflicting dates. This information should be taken as a guide and should be verified by contacting the county and/or the state government agency.

Known Beginning Dates for Major Records[4]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1914 1893 1914 1893 1893 1893 1830
*State birth and death records began in 1914. Limited compliance until the 1920s

Record Loss[edit | edit source]

  • 1893 - The Eastern District courthouse burned on January 11, 1893. Will and deed records begin in April, 1881, and are complete to date except deed record E from March 1, 1891 to January 31, 1892, as this was burned. Other records of Clay County from December 1875 to the end of February 1893 were also burned.

For suggestions about research in places that suffered historic record losses, see:

Boundary Changes[edit | edit source]

  • 1873--Clay County was created 24 March 1873 from Randolph and Greene Counties.
  • County seat: Piggott[5]

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

Populated Places[edit | edit source]

For a complete list of populated places, including small neighborhoods and suburbs, visit Hometown Locator. The following are the most historically and genealogically relevant populated places in this county:[6]

Unincorporated communities
  • Bennett
  • Bradshaw
  • Brown
  • Cache
  • Chalk Bluff
  • Clark
  • Cleveland
  • East Oak Bluff
  • Gleghorn
  • Johnson
  • Knob
  • Nelson
  • North St. Francis
  • Payne
  • Pollard
  • South St. Francis
  • West Oak Bluff

History Timeline[edit | edit source]

Emphasis for this timeline is on events that affected migration, records, or record-keeping. Unless otherwise mentioned, the events below were taken from the Clay County page on the website, The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture. [7]

  • 1800s - early, European settlement in the Clay County area began with Pierre LeMieux, a Frenchman who settled east of the Black River.
  • 1800s - Veterans of the War of 1812 who were given land grants in Arkansas began to settle in the area.
  • 1849-1850 - Congress passed the Swamp Land Acts of 1849 and 1850. Public swampland was transferred to Arkansas, and then the land was sold cheaply.
  • 1873 - March 24, During Reconstruction, Clayton County was created by the Arkansas legislature taking portions of Greene and Randolph counties.
  • 1875 - Arkansas General Assembly of 1875 changed the name of Clayton County to Clay County.
  • 1883 - Railroads did more than provide a new avenue for export and import of raw and finished products. They also brought more settlers into the area.
  • 1900s - At the start of the twentieth century, the timber industry reached its zenith.

Resources[edit | edit source]

Bible Records[edit | edit source]

Biographies[edit | edit source]

Business, Commerce, and Occupations[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries of Clay, Arkansas online and in print
Tombstone Transcriptions Online
Tombstone Transcriptions in Print (Often more complete)
List of Cemeteries in the County
See Arkansas Cemeteries for more information

Census Records[edit | edit source]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1880 7,213
1890 12,200 69.1%
1900 15,886 30.2%
1910 23,690 49.1%
1920 27,276 15.1%
1930 27,278 0.0%
1940 28,386 4.1%
1950 26,674 −6.0%
1960 21,258 −20.3%
1970 18,771 −11.7%
1980 20,616 9.8%
1990 18,107 −12.2%
2000 17,609 −2.8%
2010 16,083 −8.7%
Source: "".

Church Records[edit | edit source]

List of Churches and Church Parishes

Court Records[edit | edit source]

(Western District)
Clay County Clerk's Office
Western District
800 W 2nd St
Corning AR 72422

(Eastern District)
Office of the County Clerk
PO Box 306
Piggott AR 72454-0306

Directories[edit | edit source]

Emigration and Immigration[edit | edit source]

Ethnic, Political, and Religious Groups[edit | edit source]

Funeral Homes[edit | edit source]

Genealogies[edit | edit source]

Guardianship[edit | edit source]

  • Probate Records 1881-1955 Clay County portion of the collection: Arkansas Probate Records, 1817-1979: Arkansas Probate Records, 1817-1979 FamilySearch Historical Collections (Free, browse images)- How to Use this Collection
    • Includes Administration bonds and letters 1881-1955; Guardian bonds and letters 1893-1938; Inventories and appraisements 1881-1919; Minutes 1881-1918; Probate records 1893-1906; Sale bills 1881-1920; Wills 1884-1944.

Land and Property Records[edit | edit source]

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Local histories are available for Clay County. They may include biographies, church, school and government history, and military information. For more about local histories, see Arkansas Local Histories.

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

Ripley CountyButler CountyDunklin CountyRandolph CountyLawrence CountyGreene CountyAR CLAY.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources

Migration[edit | edit source]

Military Records[edit | edit source]

Civil War[edit | edit source]

Civil War Battle

The following Civil War Battle was fought in Clay County.

Naturalization and Citizenship[edit | edit source]

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

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

Obituaries[edit | edit source]

Other Records[edit | edit source]

Periodicals[edit | edit source]

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

Online Probate Indexes and Records

School Records[edit | edit source]

Social Security Records[edit | edit source]

Tax Records[edit | edit source]

Vital Records[edit | edit source]

Birth[edit | edit source]

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  

In 1877, a few county and city clerks[9] started keeping birth and death records.

In 1914, the state law required all county clerks to record births and forward them to the state.


See also: • Arkansas Online Genealogy Records, • How to Find Arkansas Birth Records and • Arkansas Vital Records—Birth.

  • 1947 - 1958 - Clay County Birth Index 1947-1958. Batch C734491 at FamilySearch - free.

Marriage[edit | edit source]

Death[edit | edit source]

Divorce[edit | edit source]

Voter Records[edit | edit source]

Research Facilities[edit | edit source]

Archives[edit | edit source]

Listed below are archives in Clay County. For state-wide archival repositories, see Arkansas Archives and Libraries.

Family History Centers[edit | edit source]

Family History Center and Affiliate Library Locator map - search for local Family History Centers or Affiliate Libraries

  • Family History Centers provide one-on-one assistance, free access to center-only databases, and to premium genealogical websites.
  • FamilySearch Affiliate Libraries have access to most center-only databases, but may not always have full services normally provided by a family history center.

Local Centers and Affiliate Libraries

Libraries[edit | edit source]

Listed below are libraries in Clay County. For state-wide library facilities, see Arkansas Archives and Libraries.

Corning Library
613 Pine St
Corning AR 72422

Piggott Library
316 W Main
Piggott AR 72454

Rector Library
121 W 4th St
Rector AR 72461

Museums[edit | edit source]

Societies[edit | edit source]

Listed below are societies in Clay County. For state-wide genealogical societies, see Arkansas Societies.

Clay County Genealogical & Historical Society
361 W Main St
Piggott AR 72454

Websites[edit | edit source]

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
Linkpendium. Free. Click links. Some sites they link to may have fees ($)
CyndisList. Free. Click links. Some sites they link to may have fees ($)
FamilySearch Catalog - The FamilySearch catalog contains descriptions and access information for all genealogical materials (including books, online materials, microfilm, microfiche, and publications) in their collection.  Use Historical Records to search for specific individuals in genealogical records

Research Guides[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT: Everton Publishers, 2002).
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Clay County," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,,_Arkansas
  3. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT: Everton Publishers, 2002).
  4. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Clay County, Arkansas. Page 67 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002; Alice Eichholz, ed. Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources, Third ed. (Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2004), 65.
  5. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT: Everton Publishers, 2002).
  6. Wikipedia contributors, "Clay County, Arkansas," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, URL,,_Arkansas accessed 2 September 2018.
  7. Tracy L. Johnson, The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture, ( : accessed January 11, 2016), “Clay County.”
  8. Heritage Preservation Services, Civil War Battle Summaries by State, (accessed 2 August 2012).
  9. such as Sebastian County (Fort Smith) and Pulaski County (Little Rock) (No entry in FamilySearch Catalog found for Pulaski County nor for Little Rock, Aug 2014)
  10. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at
  11. FamilySearch Wiki contributors, "Arkansas County Marriages - FamilySearch Historical Records," in FamilySearch Wiki.