Ancestor Fair 2015

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 Twenty-sixth North Arkansas Ancestor Fair

Civil War Sesquicentennial

June 5 & 6, 2015

Marshall, Arkansas


Friday, June 5, 2015

SESSION I: Civic Center, Marshall


9:30 a.m.–10:30 a.m.: Writing the Civil War

Thomas A. DeBlack

Arkansas Tech University

11:00 a.m.–12:00: “I Do Wish this Cruel War Was Over”: Primary Sources in Historic Journals

Mark Christ, Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission

SESSION II: Civic Center


1:30 p.m.–2:30 p.m.: Lincoln’s Foothold in the South: Phillips County Arkansas, 1861-1865

David Schieffler

University of Arkansas-Fayetteville

2:30 p. m.–3:30 p.m.: Searcy County 1865: Revenge or Reconciliation?

James J Johnston, Searcy County Historical Society

6:30 p.m.–8:00 p.m.: MIXER DINNER

Petit Jean Co-op, Airport Road, Marshall


Saturday, June 6, 2015

ANCESTOR FAIR: Marshall Civic Center (Air Conditioned): Zack Road

7:30 a.m.–9:00 a.m.: Providers set up

9:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m.: ANCESTOR FAIR (Free)

Genealogical Swap Meet:

No registration required for any event.  Just show up; we’ll make a place for you.

Contact: Shirley J. Gray 870-448-3308;

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What Are You Doing With Your Civil War Information?

The 26th North Arkansas Ancestor Fair–June 5 & 6, 2015, will provide guidance on that question.  The Searcy County Historical Society has been sponsoring the last four Ancestor Fairs with themes linked to the Civil War (War Between the States for die hard Rebels).  The two day event–Friday and Saturday–devotes Friday to presentations aimed at helping researchers.  The 2011 presentations were about how to find information in archives and on the Internet.  2012 featured Arkansas materials in Missouri archives; 2013–Civil War materials at the Arkansas History Commission; in 2014 the theme was Civil War materials in Arkansas academe.  So what does one do with all this information?  How does one decide what is meaningful, useful or reliable?

The 2015 (26th) North Arkansas Ancestor Fair will answer those questions and more.  The theme is “Writing and Interpreting the Civil War: Resources Authors Use” and there will be three well-known authors who have written about the Civil War–especially in Arkansas, who will share their techniques, resource evaluation and interpreting methods to tell the audience how to make sense of the information and to tell us how to rate its reliability.  The presentations will let us know how to write good history.  The speakers will be: Dr Thomas DeBlack of Arkansas Tech who will do “Writing the Civil War”; Mark Christ, Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission, his topic will be “I Do Wish This Cruel War Was Over”: Primary Sources in Historical Journals; and the final speaker, David Schieffler, University of Arkansas-Fayetteville, on the Fair’s theme will give “Lincoln’s Foothold in the South: Phillips County, Arkansas, 1861-1865.”  This will be a rare opportunity to hear gifted authors talk about how they make sense of Civil War materials to produce solid and revealing history.

James Johnston, Searcy County Historical Society, will present the fifth talk in a series on Searcy County and the Civil war entitled “1865: Revenge or Reconciliation?”

Fridays presentations will take place in the air-conditioned Marshall Civic Center on Zack Road, beginning at 9:30 am.  There will be a small fee for Friday’s events.  Following the presentations there will be a mixer-dinner at 5:30 pm in the Petit Jean Co-op building on Airport Road.  This is an opportunity for those who will be looking for kin on Saturday to get a head start on finding folks who might have information one is looking for, or who are kin.

Saturday’s “genealogical swap meet” will open its doors at 9:00 am to the Civic Center for the public to meet family historians, county genealogical and historical societies and book sellers who have set up to answer questions and help seekers find answers.  All browsers are welcome; there is no entry fee or set up fee.  It is a time to meet kin with North Arkansas roots.

More information is available at: and by contacting Shirley Gray at:  1-870-448-3308 or