The Northwest Arkansas 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 mission of the Northwest Arkansas Genealogical Society is to foster and nurture an interest in genealogy by providing instruction, information, and inspiration, and encouraging Society Members and the community in the development of family histories and genealogical records, for the benefit of future generations.
Our Founding Members
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.
In December of 1971, the Northwest Arkansas Genealogical Society introduced The Backtracker and the quarterly publication has been in publication ever since.
In 1973 members combined their book collections to begin the first research Library, located in a member's garage. The Society then began purchasing books of importance such as early court and government records; forming the foundation of a genealogy research facility. 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.
In September of 2006, the Society donated their genealogical collection to the Bentonville Public Library which is located in the William Enfield History & Genealogy Research Room. The collection now contains over 4,000 books, 120 microfilms, and 163 CDs, which aids researchers to trace their family roots from the very beginning of our country when the ships first arrived, throughout the original colonies and territories as we developed as a nation. Nearly every state in the union is represented and new volumes are added frequently.