Search for Death Records in Arkansas

Free Arkansas Death Records Lookup

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Our comprehensive guide to the death records in the state of Arkansas will help you in finding death records as well as provide you with relevant information about the deceased and the life they lived.

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Death Records in Arkansas -
The Ultimate Guide 2021

In the state of Arkansas, legal death registration started in 1914. However, there are some Fort Smith and Little Rock records from 1881 that are available. Public access to records of deaths that happened over half a century ago is restricted in Arkansas.

Arkansas Death Records

Arkansas Death Databases

The ‘In Remembrance Database’ is an electronic index that contains death records in the state from 1819-1920. It is free to the public and provides information about historical figures and family data from each area within the state. It indicates the name that is attached to the death record, the date linked to the record, as well as where to find the death record. This is an ongoing project that is yet to be completed.

The Arkansas Deaths & Burials database is dated 1882 to 1929. It is a name index that shows both death and burial records in the state of Arkansas. The database is freely available; there are microfilm copies of the records at the Family History Centers and Family History Library.

You can also find death records by visiting www.familysearch.org to find deaths records of incidents that happened later than 1929. You only need to visit the website, search for US vital records, how to find death records, Arkansas Birth, marriage and death records, and then How to find Arkansas Death Records. Database is well separated into deaths that happened before 1914 and those that happened after. 

Arkansas Death Databases

What Are Death Records?

Death records, simply put, are documents (official) that provide any relevant information about someone who is deceased. If you are doing genealogical kind of research, these records come in quite handy seeing as they contain most of the information that you’d require to find out more about your ancestry. Most death records are held by the state in which the deceased lived or died, but they lack in the deceased’s burial state. For instance, if you happen to have a relative that lived in San Francisco and they got buried in Lexington, their death records would be found in Arkansas as opposed to Kentucky. Both cemeteries and churches are holders of death records, just as is the case with state governments. Information you can obtain from death records include the deceased’s full name, birth date, death date, and death spot/ place.

What Are Death Certificates?

Death certificates and death records differ. In obtaining a death certificate, the informant is required to provide all information on the application form at the next of kin or family section. The coroner, then provides other information including cause and time of death. The funeral home is the institution in charge of issuing out death certificates. You can obtain this vital document just a couple of days after the deceased’s passing; the funeral home allows you to make copies of the death certificate. 

What Are Death Certificates

Why Do States Keep Death Records?

There are a couple of reasons why states maintain or keep death records. The biggest and rather obvious reason is to indicate that the person in question died. This way, the individual can be taken off the voting register. If there is a complaint about the person’s property, say overgrown grass or the trash not being taken out, the state can let the complainer know that the individual whose property they are complaining about is deceased. 

Another reason as to why states keep death records is in order to help with court cases. Usually, it is not always the case that the deceased leaves behind a will, something that could cause serious rifts among members of the family. A death certificate could help in settling some family affairs. Death records also help in notifying the Internal Revenue Service of the individual’s death, helping in filing returns or taxes during the next year. Using the death certificate, you can be in a position to transfer the deceased’s possessions to your name or to the name of other beneficiaries. This document is quite vital in the opening of a probate case. The state of Arkansas will also keep death records to help in keeping track of certain conditions and diseases that have an adverse effect on the population.

Are Arkansas Death Records Open to the Public?

Are Arkansas Death Records Open to the Public

In the state of Arkansas, the only death records that are open to the public are records for deaths that happened at least half a century ago (50 years).

How to Find Arkansas Death Records

The most reliable site to get a hold of Arkansas death records is Archives.com As soon as you register for a user account, the platform gives you complete access to the death records in the state of Arkansas. Below are the easy steps to get you going:

Step 1: Visit  Archives.com and navigate to the sign in page. Here, you will need to provide both the password and email address you used at signup stage. In case you have not registered for a user account, simply click on the link that’s on the bottom of the page and create one.

How to Find Arkansas Death Records Step 1

Step 2: Navigate through the buttons across the very top of the user page. Hit the “Search” button, which loads the Arkansas state death records page.

How to Find Arkansas Death Records Step 2

Step 3: on the page’s left hand side, there are a couple of buttons that you will see. There are a couple of options available for choice. Check on ‘Vital Records’, then the ‘Death’ button just below it. This way, the site filters out all other records and leaves you with only death records.

How to Find Arkansas Death Records Step 3

Step 4: Key in as much information about the deceased as possible. For a basic genealogical search, use your ancestor’s last name. If you would like the platform to provide you with records that only match the exact name that you keyed in, be sure to hit on the ‘Exact’ icon. In case you would like to perform a search on other records with the same name you provided, skip this step. For more precision, the site allows you to add in the deceased maiden and/or middle name.

How to Find Arkansas Death Records Step 4

Step 5: In the ‘Location’ box, key in Arkansas’. You will notice that the site will provide a match as soon as you start typing. Here, the site provides you with various options, including adding a birth or death date, as well as adjusting the selected dates. This is quite helpful especially in an instant when you are not quite certain of the date. Be sure to search through all collections. However, if you are certain where the given record is, look through the specific collections. Once you are done, hit the ‘Search Now’ blue button.

Step 6: The site will provide you with an array of records; browse through until you get the person whose records you are interested in. Some information that will be available in the records include birth date, death date, death location as well as burial location. From the ‘collection’ section, you can get information about what archive has that information.

How to Find Arkansas Death Records Step 6

Step 7: Select the deceased’s name to see the available death record online. Usually, you will obtain their name as well as maiden name in case they were married. You can also get information regarding their burial; were they cremated or buried, and is there any available bio? Get to learn more about the deceased by clicking on the ‘view story’ button. From the story, you can get to find out when they were born, when they died, if they were married, whether their spouse is living or dead, the spouse’s name, any listed family members and so much more. 

Step 8: To take a look at all the available records that are related to the individual, scroll down to the very bottom of the page. Click on any available record for more information. At Archives.com you may find a list of all telephone directories showing the individual’s marriage records or previous address.

How to Find Arkansas Death Records Step 8

Alternative Sources for Arkansas Death Information

While Archives.com is a great platform to search death records in Arkansas, there are tons of other sites that you might want to check out. One such platform is the  U.S. Social Security Administration. Not only does the Social Security Administration send SS payments to Americans, but it also responsible for keeping track of death records. Many death records only include the individual’s name and date of death. However, this record also show all death benefits that the US Social Security Administration could have sent to the deceased’s beneficiaries. 

Another platform you can check is the U.S. Social Security Applications and Claims Index. This site provides you with information on all claims that were filed from 1936 to 2007. As time elapses, this site will include more recently filed claims. To get access to this database, you will need to have a user account at Ancestry.com. The database features over 50 Mil names. It has information on the applicant’s name, their parents’ names, as well as any beneficiaries listed.

Another source of death records data in Arkansas would be cemeteries, seeing as they usually have information that is accessible to the public. You can either call the cemetery or visit physically to ask about their records. 

A resourceful option you could consider is the Find A Grave website; it claims that it is the largest database of gravesites in the globe. One simple click can provide you with information on anyone who shares your last name. Website is usually updated by volunteers who often upload headstones information as well as photos of the headstones. Through this platform, you can verify that the information you had previously acquired on your own actually matches this new official information.

Obituaries are yet another source of death record information in Arkansas. Local papers in the state will always have a section where loved ones write the deceased’s obituaries. These provide more detailed information including their former work place, their hobbies, and interests. They also provide information on the individual’s spouse, children, grandchildren, parents, and siblings. At Newspapers.com you will get a free trial, allowing you to go through obituaries in hundreds of newspapers until you come across a match. You can also visit the Arkansas state local newspapers’ websites for a hold of the same.

City and county courthouses in the state of Arkansas, can also come in handy in provision of the death records you seek. The state has probate records that date back to way before the 20th century. These early records will provide you with information regarding the deceased’s name, what assets they had, and where these possessions went to after their death. This way, you can get a hold of the individuals’ beneficiaries and other loved ones. Modern records will provide you with a date and place of death.

SSA - Alternative Sources

City directories can provide you with useful information on the deceased’s address especially if you are not sure when they died. Before invention of phonebooks, it was directories that helped people locate other people. Unlike phonebooks which only have information about a person’s address and name, directories often include the spouse name as well as occupation.  In the case where a family’s head died and their spouse wanted to remain listed, the directory would simply name the spouse as a widower or widow, or update their records to note that the household’s head was deceased. Most libraries in Arkansas have city directories available. 

Another source of death records information is Tax records; these date all the way back to the 18th century. They have information on the individuals who worked in the state. Records from these era will often feature the individual’s name. The records after their passing will indicate the individual as deceased. Modern day records will simply omit your name from the tax-payers’ list showing. In Arkansas, tax records are available in the state’s courthouses and libraries. 

Our guide also recommends getting death record information from churches that your ancestors may have attended. Family bibles are also a great source of such information and past generations used them in keeping track of their families. These family bibles feature exact dates on when individuals got married, had kids and died. From church records, you can get almost similar information. 

What Information Do You Need to Run a Death Records Search?

Arkansas Death Records FAQs

What is an Official Death Certificate?

An official death certificate refers to a death certificate that is issued directly by the Arkansas state government or any similar organization. This documents contains information such as the individual’s name, physical address, date of birth, and date of death. Other certificates also indicate the number of children and any next of kin. In case the certificate is issued by the corner, it usually contains the cause of death of the deceased. Information on the certificate is usually given by the family members and doctor or coroner who pronounces the member dead.

Who Can Request Arkansas Death Certificates?

In the state of Arkansas, there are restrictions that seek to limit the individuals who can place a request for the deceased official death certificate. The people allowed include the deceased’s spouse, children, siblings, parents or guardians. Other allowed parties are courts and other legal representatives. Legal custodians and guardians are also allowed, as well as individuals who have legal authorization by any of the family members aforementioned. 

Can You Order Death Records Certificate?

It will cost you $10 to order an original death certificate and $8 for each additional copy requested at the time of issuing the original copy. If there is no record found, or if no copy is made to the death certificate, the law in Arkansas requires $10 as the search fee. If any amount is made to exceed the required $10 search fee, these money is refundable. In case you used your credit card’s ‘Express Service’ fee, both the $10 search fee and express service fee are non-refundable. The only credit you can get is any amount paid in excess of the combined express service and search fee.

The state of Arkansas accepts checks, money orders and cash, paid out to the Arkansas Department of Health, but payers are advised not to send cash via mail. In case you can free up some time, you can pay the County Recorder or Clerk a visit to remit the payment. Most of the offices that you can request or order death certificates from operate on the regular business hours, and requests made can be processed during the same day. This means that you can walk in to the office in the morning and have your certificate processed by the end of the same day.

What does the Cause of Death refer to?

Simply put, the cause of death is the incident or condition that lead to the deceased’s death. Most present-day death certificates have this information indicated. Sometimes, the cause is specific such as ‘Heart Attack’ or generic such as ‘Homicide’ or ‘Accidental Death’. You can also see several lines indicating several related things that led to the individual’s death. For instance, the cause of death could be ‘Heart Attack’, but the primary cause of death could be kidney failure or diabetes. 

How Long Does it Take to Find Arkansas Death Records?

The amount of time is all dependent on the specific or type of records you are looking for. The average time is about ten weeks, but it could be longer if the records you seek are not in any databases available. If you are looking for a death certificate, you could use an expedited option that is faster, but you would need to pay a fee for these services. Other types of death records, for instance those found in churches or courthouses, can be found within hours after you have begun your search. 

Should I Hire a Finder to Conduct the Death Records Search?

This is all dependent on your personal preference. Most people think that in conducting their searches, they will most definitely need a finder. They see the process as one that is highly time consuming. However, this is not always the case. Modern resources have made it possible for people to find this information from the comfort of their homes. In case you still feel the need to hire a professional, there is nothing wrong with that. A genealogist is a specialist who comes in handy in helping you learn about your ancestors and family history. The average fee charged by most is $2500. In case they will need to travel, the cost will go up a notch higher. The beauty of working with these hired professionals is that at times they have memberships that you don’t, allowing them to access sites that you cannot. 

Conclusion

The state of Arkansas is very particular when it comes to the accuracy of its tax and voting record. As such, they aim at maintaining a well-updated deaths record. When someone dies in the state, they contact the family members or next of kin in regards to any outstanding tax payments to the state. In case of probate, these death records come in quite handy as your family members or next of kin won’t have any challenges in getting any legal information. With our comprehensive guide to Arkansas death record searches, you can get a hold of any type of record that you might need

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