Clay County, Arkansas Genealogy

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United States
Clay County

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


According to History and Traditions of Clay County , compiled by Robert T. Webb, edited and indexed by Frank Cochran, the people moved the county seat from Corning to Boydsville in 1877. Most of the people lived in the eastern part of the county and it was difficult to travel through the bottoms to Corning. Changing the county seat did not change the difficulty of crossing the bottoms, but only transferred it to the people in the Western part. In 1881 the county was divided into two districts with Boydsville the Eastern county seat and Corning the Western county seat. In 1888 the people voted to move the eastern county seat to Piggott.[2]

County Courthouse

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

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
*State birth and death records began in 1914. Limited compliance until 1920's

Record Loss

  • 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

  • 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

The following are locations in Clay County, Arkansas:

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 Clay County page on the website, The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture. [6]

  • 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.


Bible Records


Business, Commerce, and Occupations


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

Census Records

Church Records

Hopewell Baptist Church, near Reyno

Court Records

(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

Various Court Records of Clay County


Emigration and Immigration

Ethnic, Political, and Religious Groups

Funeral Homes



  • 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)
    • 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

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.

Maps and Gazetteers

Click on a neighboring county to go to the wiki page.
Clay CountyGreene CountyRandolph CountyLawrence CountyCraighead CountyDunklin CountyPemiscot CountyNew Madrid CountyButler CountyRipley CountyStoddard CountyMississippi CountyLake CountyDyer CountyLauderdale CountyFulton CountyARClay.JPG


Military Records

Civil War

Civil War Battle

The following Civil War Battle was fought in Clay County.

Naturalization and Citizenship


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


Other Records


Probate Records

Online Probate Records

School Records

Tax Records

Vital Records


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



  • 1947 - 1958 - Clay County Death Index 1947-1958. Batch B734489 at FamilySearch - free.


Research Facilities


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.





  • 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


  1. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT: Everton Publishers, 2002).
  2. and
  3. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT: Everton Publishers, 2002).
  4. 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.
  5. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT: Everton Publishers, 2002).
  6. Tracy L. Johnson, The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture, ( : accessed January 11, 2016), “Clay County.”
  7. Heritage Preservation Services, Civil War Battle Summaries by State, (accessed 2 August 2012).
  8. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at
  9. FamilySearch Wiki contributors, "Arkansas County Marriages (FamilySearch Historical Records)," in FamilySearch Wiki.