Census records are important sources for genealogical research. Enumberated schedules for the census population for Arkansas are available on microfilm in the Periodicals Room on level two of Mullins Library. Microfilm are available to on-site researchers or via interlibrary loan (please see the ILL tab that is part of this guide).
The population census lists individual names, place of birth, ages, etc. For Arkansas genealogy, the census population schedules are going to be the most useful in finding details about family members.
The Soundex system is a name guide utilized by the National Archives to index the decennial censuses. It codes together surnames that sound similar but have different spellings. Sound Indexes are available on microfilm in the Periodicals Room on level two of Mullins Library.
The best strategy for searching the census is to start with the most recent available census and then work backward in time. Begin genealogy searches with the census if your ancestors were in the United States before 1930. In April of 2012, the 1940 census will become available, and this will be the new threshold for U.S. federal census information. You will most likely find your ancestors in the census, and these can be the first documents that you will use to add evidence to your family stories. To help interpret what you find, use Finding Answers in U.S. Census Records or Your Guide to the Federal Census for Genealogists, Researchers, and Family Historians.
As a provision of the United States Constitution, the Federal Census is scheduled to occur every ten years. Its main purpose is to count the number of people living in the United States in order to apportion Congressional districts. In general, the government does all that it can to keep a complete record including all Americans. This dedication to accuracy makes the census a valuable genealogical tool.