The Northwest Genealogical Society officially began on May 28, 1971, when 17 local citizens met informally to discuss their family histories and to share their individual resources. After realizing there was very little experience among the group in tracing their ancestry, they decided to form a club that would focus on providing both assistance and resources to its members. For the next several months, they continued holding meetings, elected officers, and officially approved the bylaws of the Northwest Arkansas Genealogical Society on November 21, 1971. This new Society would serve the interests of families with roots in Benton, Washington, Carroll, and Madison Counties (Originally served more counties).
The original charter members were: Edith Bates, Vivena Blackman, Donna Cooper, Jessie Cowen, Rita Duren, Belva Easley, Rayburn Easley, Lillian Fagala, Evelyn Jennings, Grace Kane, Myra Kuhn, Mary Marholtz, Verba Jo Pearce, Danny Putman, Doris Raby, Maudine Rand, Carolyn Roughton, Josie Stanley, and Thelma Teeter.
The Backtracker, the quarterly publication from the Northwest Arkansas Genealogical Society, introduced its first issue in December, 1971, and has been published continually ever since.
The Northwest Arkansas Genealogical Society’s first research “Library” opened in 1973 and was located in a member’s garage. The early members pooled their books so all could benefit from them. The Society then began purchasing books of important, early court and government records that continue to be the foundation of any genealogy research facility. These well thought-
As the number of books continued to grow, so did the need for a larger “Library”. From the garage the Society moved to the Bentonville Public Library when they were offered a small section of shelves for the Genealogical Research Library. A microfilm reader and film cabinet was added to assist the Library's patrons. Through the years the library collection was housed in various locations, including the Peel House and Compton Gardens. In September of 2006, the Society donated their genealogical collection to the Bentonville Public Library when their new building was opened to the public.
This collection, which now contains over 4,000 books, 120 microfilms, and 163 CDs, is located in the William Enfield History & Genealogy Research Room inside the Bentonville Public Library at 405 S. Main Street, Bentonville, Arkansas. This collection allows researchers to trace their family roots from the very beginning of our country when the ships first arrived, and throughout the original colonies and territories as we developed as a nation. Nearly every state in the union is represented and new volumes are being added weekly.
405 S. Main St. Bentonville, AR 72712 479 . 271 . 6820