The Arkansas History Commission is pleased to announce the launch of In Remembrance, an online database of Arkansas deaths from 1819-1920. Designed to supplement Arkansas’s vital records service which began in 1914, In Remembrance provides researchers with the location of death records in early Arkansas. The data has been collected from numerous sources including church publications, cemetery records, mortality censuses, newspaper obituaries, or county and local records from the AHC’s extensive holdings.
Easily found as a link under the CARAT icon on the History Commission’s website, www.ark-ives.com, the In Remembrance database provides information about family and historical figures from every area of the state, showing the name attached to the death record, the source in which to find the death record, and the record’s date. In the case of obituaries and similar records, the recorded date is the day on which the obituary was published, not necessarily the day the person died, while cemetery records show the date listed on the person’s gravestone. Duplicate entries from different sources are also included in the database to aid researchers in finding multiple records for one individual. For example, the database contains two entries for one A. Jones with a death date of August 17, 1902. One record is from the Arkansas Census of Cemeteries, Faulkner County, while the other is from the Arkansas Confederate Pension Records, indicating that A. Jones was a Confederate veteran.
“Seeing this massive project become a reality is very exciting,” enthused Jane Wilkerson, Interim Director of the Commission. “Researchers who only have a name of an ancestor now have access to multiple sources in one easy search. Before In Remembrance, if you didn’t know where your relatives settled, it could have taken days or weeks of labor-intensive searching through microfilm and publications to locate your ancestors. This database saves our patrons so much time and is easy to use,” she continued.
In Remembrance is an on-going project. More than a year of planning and data entry by dozens of AHC staff and volunteers made this project a reality. Thousands of entries go into the database every month, currently the online index holds 118,786 entries. Volunteers occupy a special place in the In Remembrance project, working alongside AHC staff at their own pace, in many cases from their own homes, helping to add names to this extensive index. If you are interested in volunteering for the In Remembrance project, please email Mary Dunn, Archival Manager at the Commission.
Grant funds awarded by the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council were used by the History Commission to develop the project. The Arkansas History Commission is the official state archives, with research facilities in Little Rock, Powhatan, and Washington, Arkansas.