Are you planning to vote by mail in the Natural State this year? The historic United States Postal Service has been much in the news recently, and it’s a good time to check to see if you had respected community members as postmasters in your own family tree. There are lists at Ancestry.com and other online resources such as “U.S., Appointments of U. S. Postmasters, 1832-1971.” More than 42,000 entries relate to Arkansas.
The Ancestry.com records collection shows “the date of establishment and discontinuance of post offices, changes of names of post offices, and names and appointment dates for their postmasters.” Also included are “dates of Presidential appointments of postmasters and their confirmation dates by the Senate. Starting in 1870, the records contain names of post offices where discontinued post office’s mail was sent. “
Seek out Arkansas Post Offices from Memdag to Norsk: A Historical Directory, 1832-1990 by Russell Baker for additional information. Explore research at the Arkansas State Archives, now by appointment because of the virus.
With August, 2020 being a 100-year suffrage anniversary for (mostly white) women and voting year, it’s interesting to investigate voter lists in states where female ancestors lived to see if they registered to vote, were suffragists, or perhaps even opposed the right to vote during the 72-year battle. Check online newspapers for suffrage stories related to grandmothers, cousins, and aunts. Don’t forget that county voter registration records for various Arkansas counties from 1868-1910 are now available at familysearch.org.
African-American women often could not vote until the 1960s because of Jim Crow laws.
379 Million Searchable Court Records and Counting
If your ancestor’s name was included in any court cases, the new national website judyrecords.com (court records) lists millions of victims, witnesses, law-enforcement personnel, judges, and others that might help your research.
The site is free and no sign up is needed. Among the types of cases you’ll find are adoption, divorces, marriages, estate files, and probate.
About 10 million cases will be added each month.
Strengthen Family History: Pandemic Time Action Items
- Document yourself and your immediate family in a four-paged typed summary; share with at least three. others for future reference.
- Weatherproof your prized genealogy : climate change such as fires, hurricanes, termites, earthquakes, etc. storms Mario and Laura, wildfires in Ca, etc. show us a need.
- Consider a DNA test to help solve a brick wall unsolvable genealogy problem. If you take it after considering privacy issues, attach it to an online family tree widen to help mutually problem-solve.
- Connect: Reach out to all family members to see what family history (letters, diaries, artifacts) they have they might share and offer to share what you have.
- Go back through your family tree and correct any possible mistakes introduced earlier now that updates are available.
- Curate your family history info thoughtfully. Cull, and (
- do not pile up everything.
- Create genealogy in a way that children and grandchildren can use it, using current technology.
- If you have historic items that archives or libraries could use, make contact and begin to do the organization work to get that handoff arranged. Most facilities have limited hours at the moment.
10. As part of your life plan, do you have a genealogical last will and testament ? It can be one page.
Pandemic Cancellation of Arkansas Genealogy Conference
This will be the first time in 57 years that The Arkansas Genealogical Society has not sponsored a fall conference, lately in Benton in October. Pandemic precautions required a change of plans.
As AGS President George Mitchell explains, “Our scheduled speaker for this year was Lisa Louise Cooke [of Texas]. I have visited with Lisa and after considering all the known and unknown factors, she and I agreed that it was best to postpone our conference until 2021. The good news is Lisa has agreed to be our speaker for 2021.”
Jeanne Rollberg is a genealogist with American Dream Genealogy and Research who also serves on the boards of the Friends of the Arkansas State Archives and the Arkansas Genealogical Society. She teaches genealogy classes at LifeQuest of Arkansas.