Sunday, April 19, 2015

Small County Courthouses & Records: Researching My Loveless Family in Faulkner County, Arkansas

I just love visiting and researching in small towns and counties.

This past month I had the chance to conduct research in Conway, which is the county seat for Faulkner County in Arkansas. The total population for the county is 113,237 and Conway is the largest city at about 60,000.[1]  It is not far from Little Rock but had a very small-town feel.

Research opportunities abounded in town. I first visited the Faulkner County Museum, where director, Lynita Langley-Ware, assisted me. I found county maps, funeral home records, and more. One great find was a history of the Needs Creek Baptist Church which mentioned my great-great grandfather as a minister.

I also visited the two county offices: County Clerk in the Courthouse where the probate and vital records were stored, and the CountyCircuit Clerk where the land and court records were stored. We checked both offices, looking for the book which had the filed credentials of my minister gg-grandfather. It had been filed in the land records.

These land records were in great condition. They had been placed in newer binding that was removable and the pages in protective sheets. 

The books were heavy and my husband helped me remove them from the shelves. 

It was a cinch to remove the needed page(s) and photograph them with my digital camera. There was also a photocopy machine but it did not have 11 x 18 paper.

I was able to pick up quite a few land records for my Loveless family that had not been filmed by the LDS.

I visited the library archives at the University of CentralArkansas in Conway. They had the loose papers of my ggg-grandfather’s estate and I was allowed to photograph those papers, too.

Our trip also included visited five cemeteries where we searched for the burials from lists I had created. At Springhill Cemetery, located next to Springhill Baptist Church, a gentleman stopped by and asked if we needed help. He had the cemetery census book for the cemetery and helped us locate the various gravestones. At Oak Grove Cemetery, we had a tour guide, Chris Odom, who had my names all mapped out. The other cemeteries we managed on our own. I truly regret not taking photos of our helpers.

Researching on-site at our ancestor’s home is very rewarding and I had such wonderful success.

[1] “Faulkner County, Arkansas,” article, Wikipedia ( : accessed 19 Apr 2015). “Conway, Arkansas,” article, Wikipedia ( : accessed 19 Apr 2015).

Copyright © 2015 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, Mam-ma's Southern Family