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Genealogy Collection

Whether you are an expert genealogist or new to family research, our collection offers you access to one of the finest and most comprehensive collections in Arkansas. The collection consists of over 14,000 print resources, as well as microfilm, microfiche, maps, and a digital image archive.

While the collection represents all the states and has an Arkansas focus, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Missouri, and Maryland are well represented because they were the principal states from which early settlers migrated to Arkansas.

Collection Highlights

Microfilm / Microfiche

Newspapers / Newsletters

  • Early Arkansas Newspapers, misc. 1890-1930
  • Arkansas Countryman (1882-1889; 1924-25; 1927-1930)
  • Fayetteville Witness (1841)
  • Southwest Independent (1854-1856)
  • The Arkansian 1859-1861
  • Fayetteville Weekly Democrat  1868-1920
  • Fayetteville Daily Democrat  1903-1915
  • Fayetteville Democrat 1915-1937
  • Northwest Arkansas Times  1937-2014
  • Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette 2015-present
  • Arkansas Gazette 1828; 1865-1947
  • Prairie Grove Herald  1903-1932
  • Grapevine  1979-1986
  • Village Vista  1973-1976
  • Cherokee Alphabet
  • Choctaw Intelligencer 1851
  • Cherokee Messenger 1844 (vol. 1-12)
  • Tahlequah Cherokee Advocate 1845-1877
  • Government Records / Histories

Arkansas census records from 1830-1940

  • Early Washington County marriage, probate, and will records
  • Early Benton, Carroll, Crawford, Madison County tax records
  • Confederate Pension Records
  • Indian Territory Federal Census
  • Index to Choctaw 1893
  • Goodspeed’s Histories

Print Resources

While our collections have an Arkansas focus, we hold materials from around the country. States with high patterns of early migration to Arkansas are well-represented (VA, NC, SC, GA, KY, TN, PA, MD and MO).

  • Large collection of materials on Arkansas counties
  • Flashback, the publication of the Washington County Historical Society
  • Arkansas Historical Quarterly
  • Indices of early Washington County records
  • Family History Collection (arranged by surname)
  • Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) books
  • Daughters of American Colonists (DAC) records
  • Cemetery Records
  • Immigration Records and Passenger Lists
  • Military / War resources
  • Dawes Rolls - The Final Rolls of Citizens and Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes in Indian Territory
  • Plat books and Historical Maps
  • Fayetteville High School and University of Arkansas Yearbooks
  • Vertical Files for Fayetteville and Northwest Arkansas topics

Washington County Records

Record collection start dates for the county are listed below. Information from these periods may be found at the library or the Washington County Archive.

  • Birth / Death: 1914
  • Marriage: 1845
  • Court: 1835
  • Land: 1834
  • Probate: 1830

About Grace Keith

After Grace Keith retired as Director of the Fayetteville Public Library, she persuaded the Library Board to let her establish a genealogy collection in a corner of the library. Since Ms. Keith was born and raised in Washington County and was a descendant of many of the early settlers, she had been consulted frequently by people who wanted to research their family histories.

Starting in 1977 with a modest collection, she continued to add genealogical material until it became a very respectable adjunct to the library. In 1985, the Library Board named the genealogical collection in her honor just prior to her second retirement. The thriving collection outgrew the space available and moved into a larger library annex at the Dickson Street location in 1992. As the library began outgrowing all available spaces, plans commenced to build the Blair Library facility on Mountain Street. The Fayetteville Public Library moved into the Blair Library in October 2004, moving the genealogy collection into one of the most innovative library buildings in the nation. The genealogy collection continued to evolve into one of the best collections in the region, again making collection space needs critical. The Fayetteville Public Library began an 82,000+ square foot expansion in 2019 that included an expanded genealogy collection, along with designated meeting and technology spaces for researchers.

Genealogy Databases

African American Heritage

A groundbreaking digital resource exclusively devoted to African American family history research.

Find census, military, immigration and vital records at This resource is only available inside the library.


Search census records, books, Freedman's Bank and more. 

Obituary Records from 1842 Onward

Find Fayetteville obituary records from 1842 onward. This resource is only available inside the library.

Request For Research

Need access to the library's genealogical records, but can't make it to the library? Our librarians can do the research for you!

*Please note that there are some costs involved.

Washington County Land and Marriage Records

Find information on land records from 1834–1991 and marriage records from 1845–1941 in Washington County, Arkansas.

Washington County School Records

Find records from school districts in Washington County. This resource is only available inside the library.


Genealogy Catalog Search

Search the library's extensive collection of materials to jump start your research. Using the advanced search you may narrow by subject "genealogy".


General services include:

  • WiFi
  • Public Access Computers
  • Photocopiers
  • Scanners
  • Microfilm/Microfiche readers
  • Magnification devices
  • Librarians available for assistance

Request for research:

Requests for research for librarians to research specific obituaries or genealogy questions on your behalf (research fees may apply). Please submit the Request for Research form or contact the genealogy desk for more information

Getting started

The easiest way to begin is to start with you. You know more than you think! 

  • Start by recording your name and birthday and move backward in time. List your parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins until you cannot remember any more.
  • Check family resources for additional information. Call other relatives with questions to gain more details.
  • Family Bibles
  • Photographs
  • Letters
  • Diaries
  • Scrapbooks

You are ready to start with our resources.

  • Census Records: Begin your search with the census to build a framework for your family tree. Census records are collected every 10 years and provide valuable information such as family names, locations and occupations.
  • Vital Records: Vital records include birth, marriage and death records. Many records may be obtained from county courthouses and state vital record departments.
  • Other Key Records: Your research will be enriched by exploring military records, immigration records, church records, as well as will and probate records.
  • Useful Search Tips: Use genealogy charts to stay organized.
  • Record dates in a consistent format. (Example: 1 January 1999)
  • Search for women with maiden names.
  • Diligently document your sources.
  • Try to use original sources.
  • Evaluate the credibility of the information you find. Try to verify information with secondary resources to ensure accuracy.

Interested in learning more about genealogy? Join the Genealogy Basics course available through the library’s subscription to Gale Courses. This course is free with your FPL library card, and will help you learn the resources to begin your research.  

Make an Appointment

If you would like to schedule an appointment to speak with a genealogist, then please contact us at 479.856.7253 or

Request for Research

Need access to the library's genealogical records, but can't make it to the library? Our librarians can do the research for you! Research fees apply.

Please fill out and submit our Request for Research form.


If you are interested in volunteering with the Genealogy Department, then please apply by emailing us at


If you are interested in making a financial donation to support the genealogy department, please contact our Director of Development, Christina Karnatz, at 479.856.7140.

If you are interested in donating genealogical books to our collection, please contact the Genealogy Desk at 479.856.7253 or to learn more.