Ancestor Fair – 2012

23rd North Arkansas Ancestor Fair

Civil War Sesquicentennial

Leslie and Marshall, Arkansas – June 1-2, 2012

The longest-running Ancestor Fair in Arkansas will perform for its 23rd year, Friday and Saturday, June 1 & 2, 2012, in Leslie and Marshall, Arkansas. The guest speakers this year, on Friday, June 1, will cover Arkansas material in Missouri archives. The “Genealogical Swap Meet,” Saturday, June 2, is open for all family historians, county genealogical/historical societies and vendors to share their information and to sell their wares.

Continuing with observance of the Civil War Sesquicentennial, the 23rd Ancestor Fair is emphasizing Missouri and its archives this year. Missouri refugees came to north Arkansas and north Arkansas refugees went to Missouri. Both Confederate and Union Missouri regiments recruited in north Arkansas. The first Arkansas Union regiments were organized in Missouri. Arkansas Confederates invaded and fought in Missouri. Missouri Union units scouted, invaded and fought in north Arkansas. Arkansas Union men fled to Missouri to avoid Confederate conscription and, if they did not join regular military units, enlisted in county militia units. Missouri Confederates sought refuge in north Arkansas as individuals and as military units because Missouri was under Federal occupation. We are also emphasizing Missouri because Missouri archivists at every level have done a masterful job of collecting, preserving, cataloging and making available Missouri’s vast information resources. Missouri state, city, university and Federal archives have good records of this period and before, so north Arkansas researchers should be aware of what is available in Missouri and how to get it. Some information one can get from various Missouri Internet websites; others one has to visit the place where they are kept.

Christina Miller of the Missouri State Archives will talk about Arkansas records in the Missouri Archives in Jefferson City, from Territory Days to the Civil War. Arkansas was part of Missouri until 1819 when Arkansas was made a Territory, so very early records about Arkansas will be found there. Missouri Archives also have the Civil War Provost Marshal papers which have records of Arkansas refugees who got into trouble in Missouri and the service records for Enrolled Missouri Militia – those Arkansas boys who joined county militia units. These are state records and are not found in the National Archives.

David Richards of Special Collections, Missouri State University at Springfield has an interesting group of papers in its archives, including the Ozarkiana collection, which has Arkansas material. He will describe what is available and how to access it.

The Wilson Creek (Oak Hills) Battlefield has archives relative to military activities in the area, not just that one battle, and the information has been digitized. Jeffrey Patrick, librarian Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield, and Brian Grubbs, Project Manager, Springfield/Green County Public Library, will report on the digitization progress of the Battlefield’s archives, what is available and how to get to it.

To end the day, James Johnston, Searcy County Historical Society, will talk about 1862 in north central Arkansas: the effect of the Confederate Conscription Act and the high point of Confederate nitre (saltpeter) and lead mining.

Accommodations for both Friday and Saturday activities are much better than in the past. Friday’s talks from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm will be in the Ozark Heritage Arts Center in Leslie. The WPA Leslie school gymnasium was converted into a very comfortable air-conditioned theater with comfortable seats. The building also houses a sometime art gallery and a good Leslie museum. The Ozark Heritage Arts Center is on the southeast side of Oak Street – the street entering Leslie from Highway 65. For those traveling west on Ark. 66, the arts center entrance is on the right side of the highway at the bottom of the downhill curve entering town.

Friday night’s Mixer-Dinner and Saturday’s Ancestor Fair will be held in Marshall’s air-conditioned Grade School cafeteria, located at College and Hickory streets, just west of the old Marshall cemetery. Friday’s events cost $7 for a half day or $10 for all day, and $10 for the Mixer-Dinner. Saturday’s events are free, both for setup space with table and chairs, and for admission. Registration is not required for any event. We have seating for everybody.

The North Arkansas Ancestor Fair for twenty-two years has provided top-notch speakers and free information exchange for north Arkansas researchers and the curious. We are doing it a twenty-third time this year. For more information: or contact Shirley Gray at or at 1-870-448-3308.

Friday, June 1, 2012

SESSION I: Searching Missouri Archives. Ozark Heritage Arts Center, Leslie – $7

9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a. m.: Arkansas Records in Missouri Archives: From Territory to Civil War
Christina Miller, Missouri State Archives, Jefferson City, Missouri

11:00 a.m – 12:00 noon: North Arkansas in Missouri State University Archives and the Ozarkiana Collection
David Richards, Special Collections, Missouri State University, Springfield, Missouri

12:00 noon – 1 p.m.: Lunch break

SESSION II: Military Records & Events. Ozark Heritage Arts Center, Leslie – $7

1:00 – 2:00 p. m.: Wilson’s Creek (Oak Hills) Battlefield Archives: Digitization
Jeffrey Patrick, Librarian, Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield
Brian Grubbs, Project Manager, Springfield-Green County Public Library

2:30 – 3:30 p.m.: Searcy County in 1862: Confederate Recruiting & Saltpeter Mining
James Johnston, Searcy County Historical Society

(Attend Session I and II for $10)

MIXER DINNER: 6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Grade School Cafeteria, College & Hickory, Marshall.
$10 at the door.

Saturday, June 2, 2011

ANCESTOR FAIR: Marshall Grade School Cafeteria, College & Hickory, Marshall

7:30 – 9:00 a.m.: Providers set up
9:00 a. m. – 3:00 p.m.: ANCESTOR FAIR (Free)
Genealogy Swap Meet
No registration required for any event. Just show up; we’ll find a place for you.

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