The 30th North Arkansas Ancestor Fair held Friday and Saturday, May 31 and June 1 in Marshall attracted more people than we’ve seen in a couple of years. There were 77 who registered, or were otherwise identified, and probably at least half again as many who did not leave a paper trail. So the estimated attendance was at least 120, and probably more. A quick survey of attendees revealed that about 20 came from Searcy County, 40 from Arkansas outside Searcy County, seven from Oklahoma, six from Texas and two each from Mississippi and Missouri. About forty-five attended the Friday night Mixer-Dinner at the Los Aztecas Mexican Restaurant where they met kinfolk for the first time and renewed old contacts.
An unexpected draw was the dedication by the Sons of Confederate Veterans of a marker recognizing Searcy County men who served in the Confederate Army. They brought a cannon and an honor guard. The marker sits on the Veterans Hall grounds in Marshall where the Ancestor Fair was held.
Four counties were represented-Boone, Marion, Searcy and Van Buren, and four heritage organizations–DAR, SAR, SCV and UDC. They all offered resources for the researchers and signed up new members. The Arkansas State Archives office, Scotland, Arkansas and the Chickamauga Nation, as well as some family historians, all had tables with information about their purview.
Joshua C. Youngblood, Outreach Librarian at Special Collections, University of Arkansas Libraries–Fayetteville gave two well-attended and appreciated talks on what can be learned by interpreting old photographs and on broadening research strategies through regional and national collections.
Shirley Gray managed and produced another well-organized Ancestor Fair for north Arkansas’s researchers. She has committed to doing Ancestor Fair 31 on June 5 and 6, 2020 in Marshall, Arkansas, for which all researchers are thankful. Those interested may keep abreast of Ancestor Fair 31’s progress on the Ancestor Fair website: www.ancestorfair.us.