So Many ____ , So Little Time

You’ve probably heard the expression “so many books, so little time.” You could replace the word books with just about anything related to what you love to do. Are you a knitter? So much yarn, so little time. Are you a hiker? So many trails, so little time. Are you a traveler? So many places, so little time. You get the idea!

The same holds true for genealogy. You could say so many ancestors, so little time. (And some ancestors, of course, take more time than others.) But many of us have a little more time on our hands at the moment. And so many genealogy resources are online.

Find your ancestors in the census (U.S. and other countries), city directories, and other digitized records on, (accessible with your CALS library card), and (accessible at your CALS branch). These resources should be your first stop on your genealogy journey.

But there are lots of other online resources to connect you with your relatives. Try googling your surname and see what you come up with. I bet you find at least one website, blog, or Facebook group that someone has created to document the history of people with that surname.

If you discover that your ancestors owned buildings in an urban area, explore fire insurance maps from Arkansas at Fire Insurance Maps Online (you’ll need your CALS library card number) or maps from all over the country at Library of Congress’s Sanborn Map Collection.

Did an ancestor own land? Look at the Bureau of Land Management site and discover not just the physical location of the land but also look inside the tract books (now digitized) and find details of your ancestors’ life you just won’t find anywhere else.

And newspapers are so important. is available at CALS branches, but you can access the Library of Congress’s Chronicling America project to look at historical newspapers from around the country. Even as late as the 1980s, the county newspaper listed when my family visited my grandmother for the weekend!

And don’t forget to look in Libraries and other repositories throughout the world have digitized old newsletters and other rare documents. You might just find your ancestors listed in the local medical association newsletter or church bulletin from the 1880s.

Of course, we at the Roberts Library are always here to help you along your genealogy journey. Call (501.320.5700) or email (, and our genealogists, librarians, and archivists can help get you started or overcome any roadblocks you might discover.

By Heather Zbinden, CALS Roberts Library outreach coordinator




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