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Arkansas Death Records, Statewide Volumes

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If your roots are in Arkansas, here's a valuable source compiled by Desmond Walls Allen to help with your research: death certificates! The State of Arkansas began keeping death records in February, 1914, and these index volumes, taken from Health Department records, are to those records that have the potential to be very helpful to your search for those elusive Arkansas ancestors. These indexes show the deceased person's name, date of death, and the county from which the death was reported. The volume for 1941-1948 lists age, race, and sex, in addition to the death date and county. Unfortunately, they don't show all the deaths which occurred in Arkansas, only the ones reported to the state.


Arkansas Death Record Index, 1914-1923
ISBN 1-56546-289-0, 572 pages, $65.00

Also available in electronic format! ISBN 978-1-56546-445-2, $19.95


Arkansas Death Record Index, 1924-1933
Sorry! The paper copy of this volume is sold out.

Only available in electronic format! ISBN 978-1-56546-446-9, $19.95


Arkansas Death Record Index, 1934-1940
ISBN 1-56546-086-3, 475 pages, $49.50

Arkansas Death Record Index, 1941-1948
ISBN 1-56546-154-1, 701 pages, $59.50

One of the biggest values of these indexes is looking up collateral relatives, those great aunt and uncles and cousins, who may seem like fallen leaves off the family tree, but whose information can be helpful to you. A death record for some third cousin, twice removed may lead you to a family cemetery where generations of your family are buried.

Previously, to find out if a certificate was on file for a particular person, you had to pay your money and take your chances. (It was a lot like betting on a horse.) The Health Department keeps your money as a search fee if no record is found. Now, with these valuable indexes, you'll know what's available before you order certificates.

These indexes are a long way from perfect. But they're taken directly from the State Vital Records indexes. We weren't allowed to go back to the original records which would have been the ideal situation. We worked from giant magnetic tapes and from  microfiche when the tapes weren't available. The original indexes were apparently keyed either by prisoners in the state penitentiary or an outside firm sometime in the 1960s when computers were in their infancy. Whoever did it worked from card files, not the original certificates. It's apparent some of the cards didn't make it into the index. But warts and all, these are better than no indexes at all.


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