CALS Offers Patrons Genealogy Databases and Other Resources for Family Research

The Central Arkansas Library System subscribes to a number of databases specifically to assist you in your genealogy research. Who knows who and what you might find when you reach into the past to learn about your ancestors?

Some databases are available only at the CALS Roberts Library or your local CALS branch, including the following:

Civil War Newspapers

A collection of historical newspapers containing extensive local and national coverage of American culture, politics, and society from the Antebellum through Reconstruction periods.

Newspapers.com

CALS provides access to digital copies of the Arkansas Gazette (1819–1923) and the Arkansas Democrat (1878–1923) in addition to other Arkansas newspapers through Newspapers.com.

Social Security Death Index

The Social Security Administration Death Master File contains information on millions of deceased individuals with United States Social Security numbers whose deaths were reported to the Social Security Administration. Available through Ancestry.com.

Ancestry Library Edition (temporarily available for at-home use)

Ancestry.com is the first stop for most genealogists on their family history journey. The site provides access to over 10 billion historical records. CALS subscription includes record for the United States as well as international records.

  • Census
  • Birth, Marriage, & Death
  • Military, Immigration & Travel
  • City Directories
  • Maps, Atlases & Gazetteers
  • Schools, Directories & Church Histories
  • Wills, Probates, Land, Tax, & Criminal Records

Note: Ancestry Library Edition is available to CALS cardholders to use from home during the pandemic crisis. Email calsinfo@cals.org with your name and barcode for instructions. We will verify that you have a CALS account in good standing and then will provide instructions for how to access this resource. This resource will be available for at-home use for only a limited time.

Other databases are accessible at home with your CALS library card number, including the following:

African-American Heritage

A resource exclusively devoted to African American family history research. Includes such records as draft cards from World Wars I and II, the Freedman’s Bank, and the U.S. Census, as well as help finding other information sources.

Bureau of Land Management

The Bureau of Land Management provides access to more than five million federal land title records from 1788 to today. Records include land patents, survey plats and field notes, land status records, control document index records, and tract books.

Dictionary of American Family Names

The Dictionary of American Family Names contains more than 70,000 of the most commonly occurring surnames in the United States, giving their comparative frequencies, linguistic and historical explanations, selected associated forenames, and occasional genealogical notes.

Encyclopedia of African American History, 1619–1895

Documents the African American experience from the arrival of the first slave ship to the death of Frederick Douglass—and shows how American culture, history, and national identity have been influenced by the experiences of African Americans.

Encyclopedia of African American History, 1896 to the Present (2009)

Traces the transition from the Reconstruction Era to the age of Jim Crow, the Harlem Renaissance, the Civil Rights Movement, up to and including the 2008 election of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States.

CALS Encyclopedia of Arkansas

A free, authoritative source of information about the rich history, geography, environment, and culture of Arkansas, launched by the Central Arkansas Library System in 2006. The CALS EOA contains thousands of entries and pieces of media related to Arkansas with new material being added weekly.

Fire Insurance Maps Online (FIMo)

An online digital collection of color fire insurance maps, real estate atlases, and similar land use maps for the state of Arkansas. Includes publications by Sanborn, Perris, Hexamer, Whipple, Baist, Bromley, Hopkins, and others.

Fold3 (formerly Footnote.com)

A collection of over 60 million pages of historical documents and personal histories, including millions of records available from the National Archives and other institutions. Please note: certain features of Fold3 require the use of an Adobe Flash plugin unavailable on some mobile and tablet browsers.

Heritage Quest

Includes searchable images of U.S. Federal Census records, digitized family and local history books, an index to genealogical and local history periodicals, and other genealogy resources.

All the genealogy databases available from CALS are also listed here: https://robertslibrary.org/genealogy-databases/

Genealogy Microfilm

If you can’t find what you are looking for through our databases, you might find it on microfilm in the Roberts Library Research Room. Microfilmed materials include census records, marriage records, military records, city directories, Freedman’s Bureau records, tax records, court records, and probate records. Find out more here: https://robertslibrary.org/genealogy-microfilm/

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Come see us! The Roberts Library Research Room and the Galleries at Library Square are open on a limited basis Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9:00-11:00 a.m. and 1:00-5:00 p.m. The 9:00-11:00 a.m. time slot is set aside exclusively for high-risk populations.

The exterior doors will remain locked. Patrons will be directed to go to the main entrance of the building at 401 President Clinton Avenue and contact the Gallery staff for admission by ringing the doorbell or by calling 320-5790. During these hours, both the galleries and the research room will take appointments and allow a very limited number of walk-up visitors.

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