The 22nd North Arkansas Ancestor Fair will be held Friday, June 3rd and Saturday, June 4th, in Marshall , AR. This year the theme will be the Civil War Sesquicentennial, and the talks on Friday will be about what happened in 1861 in North Arkansas and about researching Confederate and Union Soldier ancestors. Saturday will be devoted to family historians swapping information, but there will also be the opportunity to get help writing family reminiscences about the Civil War.
The North Arkansas Ancestor Fair is the longest running genealogical event of its kind in North Arkansas. It has two sections: on Friday, there are speakers who talk about subjects of interest to genealogists and family historians; on Saturday family genealogists are provided tables and chairs so they can visit and swap information with the public, who have com to see what information is available. North Arkansas county genealogical and historical societies have tables to offer information, publications for sale and to attract new members.
This year, there will be enough seating for both Friday and Saturday events so that advance registration is not necessary, but early arrivals will get the best seats, or table locations. Friday’s talks will be held at the new VFW building, located just north of the Stoplight, and Northeast of Highway 65. Russell Baker, Arkansas History Commission-Retired and perhaps the most knowledgeable person on Arkansas research, will speak from 9:30am on “Finding Confederate and Union Ancestors”. He will also have a fillip on results of DNA tests on a couple of Newton/Searcy county families. Friday afternoon, James Johnston, Searcy County historian, will tell about what happened in Searcy and surrounding counties in 1861. This will include the formation, betrayal and capture of the Peace Society and the Chain Gang that took them to Little Rock. This will be followed by a discussion group where attendees will be invited to tell their family stories of the Chain Gang. Friday’s lectures cost $7.50 for a half day or $10.00 for all day, which will be collected at the door. The Discussion Group is free and everyone is encouraged to attend.
Friday night there will be a Mixer Dinner – place to be announced – where folks can mingle, visit, meet new-found kin, and get a start on Saturday’s ancestor hunting. There is usually some musical entertainment as well.
Saturday’s Genealogical Swap Meet at the Searcy County Civic Center on Zack Road is free all day for providers who want table and chairs for their information and wares and for the public who only want to browse. The doors are open at 8:00 am to set up for providers of information and wares, and are open at 9:00 am for the public.
The Ancestor Fair has drawn as many as 500 in years past, but recently the numbers have declined. However, the sponsor, Searcy County Historical Society, expects the Civil War Sesquicentennial theme will attract over 200 visitors this year.