The Genealogy Department has a collection of books, microfilm and CDs to help people in their search for ancestral records. There are books and census indices for nearly every state. Records of births and deaths in Fort Smith from 1881-1964, as well as many funeral home and cemetery records, are available. Experienced staff can give guidance to help obtain needed information. The Arkansas collection, also located in this department, contains both historical and current information about the state.
The Genealogy and Arkansas collections are non-circulating. The Genealogy collection is in open stacks, while the Arkansas collection, as well as original documents of genealogical value, is in closed stacks. Visitors must sign in to use the collection.
Genealogy Department Hours
9AM. – 5:30PM Monday
9AM – 9PM Tuesday
9AM – 5:30PM Wednesday-Friday
10AM.- 5PM Saturday
1PM- 5PM Sunday
Note: Microfilm may be viewed during regular library hours even if the Genealogy Room is closed.
How to Contact Us
Mail: Write to
Fort Smith Public Library
3201 Rogers Avenue
Fort Smith, AR 72903
Phone: Please call 479-783-0229
E-Mail: Contact the Genealogy Department at firstname.lastname@example.org
Research by Correspondence Policy
We will be happy to fulfill your research requests. We charge $20.00 per hour with a 15- minute minimum of $5. Payment must be received in advance. When requesting research, follow the guidelines listed below to expedite your request. Also, please feel free to call if you have any questions: we can be reached at (479) 783-0229.
Be as specific as possible in your requests, and please do not ask for more than one or two things at a time. We have neither the staff nor the time to do a “general” search. Many records are not indexed, but are in chronological order.
Send a legal size, self-addressed, stamped envelope with your request.
Research must be done in between daily duties and helping “in house” patrons. There is always a backlog, and sometimes a considerable wait for your information. Please be patient!
Special Collections available in the Genealogy Department include:
* Cemetery Indexes: We have cemetery indexes for all cemeteries in Fort Smith and Sebastian County. Holdings also include cemetery indexes from many other counties in Arkansas. Please contact us if you would like to know whether we hold indexes for a particular cemetery.
* Fort Smith Birth and Death Records: Births and deaths occurring in Fort Smith from 1881 through 1965. Microfilm and original records. Ask librarian for assistance.
* Funeral home records:
Agent, Sallisaw, Oklahoma 1938-1985
Bell-O’Donohoe/Fentress-Hunt, Fort Smith 1911-1915
Birnie Funeral Home, Fort Smith Jan.14 1882 – Sept. 14, 1904
Edwards Funeral Home, Fort Smith 1933 – 1979
Fentress Funeral Home, Fort Smith Sept. 10, 1909 – Jan. 4, 1979
Ocker Funeral Home, Crawford County 1918 – 1971
Our Funeral Home, Fort Smith 1958 – 1980
Putman Funeral Home, Fort Smith 1901-1977
Rowell-Parrish Funeral Home, Fort Smith 1967 – 1982
Arkansas State Death Index 1914 – 1948
Sebastian County Marriage Index 1865-1999
Federal Court-Western District of Arkansas 1851-1897 (Judge Parker): Victim Index, Marshal Index, Crime Statistics
* Fort Smith City Directories: 1881 – Current
* Federal Census: Our holdings include the complete Arkansas Federal Census and Soundex and the complete Oklahoma Federal Census and Soundex on microfilm. We also have the 1900 Census and Soundex for Indian Territory. Census holdings for other states vary.
* Microfilm Highlights:
Fort Smith newspapers are available on microfilm, dating back to pre-Civil War times. The Fort Smith newspaper has not been indexed.
County microfilms are available for Sebastian County, Fort Smith and Greenwood courthouses; Franklin County; and some for Adair County, Oklahoma.
General Index to Compiled Service Records, Revolutionary War
Dawes Commission Census Cards-Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, Seminole
* Family Files: Many local and Arkansas families are available. Research done by patrons and staff members.
* Marshals Files: Local project to identify and gather genealogical information on U.S. and Deputy U.S. Marshals who served the Western District of Arkansas.
* Highlights of the DAR Collection:
DAR Lineage Books, volumes 1 through 166 (1890 – 1921)
DAR Magazine, volumes 42 through 127 (1913-1993), plus unbound copies through the current date
* Highlights of the Civil War Collection:
Army Official Records (incomplete)
Confederate Veteran Magazine
Roster of Confederate Soldiers 1861 – 1865 (incomplete – we receive one volume per month until complete)
Arkansas Confederate and Union rosters
Arkansas Confederate and Union pension indexes
Arkansas Union Regiment Series
Arkansas Genealogical Resources
We have genealogy and history books for most counties in Arkansas. General Arkansas books include bound volumes of Arkansas Historical Quarterly and Arkansas Family Historian. Other books include Goodspeed’s Histories, Herndon’s Centennial History of Arkansas, and Hempstead’s History of Arkansas.
For Oklahoma and Indian territory, we have the Dawes Roll for the Five Civilized Tribes and the Enrollment (Census) Cards on microfilm. Bound volumes of The Chronicles of Oklahoma are also available.
Our holdings for other states include a selection of genealogy and history books on most other states, with emphasis on the Southern and migration states.
Arkansas Collection Highlights
The Arkansas Collection includes City of Fort Smith information, and books on topics including Arkansas history, Judge Parker and law enforcement, Indians, biographies of Arkansans, information about Arkansas plants, fish and wildlife, and Arkansas folklore. High school and college annuals and yearbooks are also available.