Anyone looking their Civil War ancestry is likely familiar with Arkansas, so you will likely need to find more information on Arkansas death records as you complete your research.
Death records in Arkansas become public after only 50 years, so anyone you are researching who died before then will be easy to access. But any deaths that occurred within that 50 year period can still be researched as long as you related to the deceased. They are not too stringent on the degree of relationship so there doesn't seem to be any problems getting records beyond your immediate family.
Most of the Arkansas death records are from between 1914 and the present, though there are some records from as early as 1881 around Little Rock and Fort Smith. You may need to contact the counties directly for these older records though the office of Vital Records does have some of them.
When looking for copies of death certificates, you can only get them from the Arkansas Department of Health directly. Their office is in Little Rock and you can make your request in person if you are nearby. They can usually issue your certified copy of the death certificate while you wait, give or take about half an hour.
Otherwise you will need to mail in an application form. The mailing address is the Arkansas Department of Health, Vital Records Section Slot #44, 4815 West Markham Street, Little Rock AZ 72205 USA. This is the same address for in-person requests.
The application for an Arkansas death record will require the deceased's name, age, place and date of death, as well as your own relationship to them. Proof of your identity and a fee for the search will need to be included along with your application. You can get the form from the Arkansas Department of Health's website (http://www.healthy.arkansas.gov) just search for death records. The form also indicates the current cost, which is $10 at the moment and checks should be made out to the Arkansas Department of Health. The fees are not refundable even if no record can be found. You'll have at least a 4 to 6 week waiting period if you mail in your application.
If you'd rather not wait, you can do some online searching at the Arkansas History Commission website (http://www.ark-ives.com/). They only have an alphabetical list of deaths from between 1914 and 1949, but it is a place to look while waiting for your records to come back in the mail. Their collection of Civil war records and searchable newspaper archives.
The specific information that you'll get on an Arkansas death record will depend on when it was issued and in what county the death occurred. They can be quite informative if you're lucky. The standard information about the deceased is usually found, such as name, dates of birth and death, place of death and cause of death. You may also find place of birth, marital status and spouse information, social security number, occupation, veteran status and possibly burial details.
To request copies of Arkansas death certificates, you will need to:
Complete the downloadable form requesting an Arkansas Death Certificate.
Certificates can also be ordered in person, by phone, and online. There is an additional charge for online requests and expedited services.
Return the completed application along with a check or money order covering the $10 fee to the Arkansas Department of Health.
For more information on Arkansas birth records, you can contact the Department at:
Arkansas Department of Health
4815 West Markham Street
Little Rock, Arkansas 72205
How to Obtain Arkansas Death Records
Arkansas death records can be obtained from the Arkansas Department of Health. Record younger than 50 years of age are not considered part of the public record and can only be accessed by certain parties. The Department of Health has records dating back as far as 1914, with some earlier records from Little Rock and Fort Smith also available.
How to Order Certificates
To order Arkansas death records, you will need to download the application online, complete, and return to the Department of Health along with the applicable processing fees.
Restrictions to Accessing Death Records
Arkansas death records less than 50 years old are not part of the public record and can only be accessed to direct relatives of the deceased, their legal representatives, and those able to demonstrate a legal right to the record. Death records older than 50 years can be accessed by the public with the appropriate fees.