Some counties will have their own Arkansas vital records from 1881 (particularly Fort Smith and Little Rock), but otherwise the state collection starts in 1914. If you need to get copies for genealogy, this is how you go about it.
Restrictions on Arkansas Vital Records
There are tighter restrictions on birth records than on death records, but if you are looking for recent documents in either case you will have to be a family member. Birth records become open to the public after 100 years, and death records do so after only 50. Anything newer will only be released to a relative, though they do not require that you be an immediate relative, which can be helpful for genealogy purposes. You will need to supply proof, such as a copy of your own ID.
How to Order Arkansas Vital Records
The state office for getting copies is in Little Rock, and they offer counter service if you are able to visit in person. They can usually produce your certificates while you wait. You can get the forms at the office, or print out your own copies from the Arkansas Department of Health website (birth or death).
You will have to provide the proper names, dates, and locations so that they can identify the record you want. The search fee that you must include will not be refunded if they can’t find what you want, so be as precise as possible. And on that note, it will cost you $12 for a birth record, and $10 for a death record. Send your forms to:
Arkansas Department of Health
Vital Records Section Slot #44
4815 West Markham Street
Little Rock AZ 72205 USA
Mailed applications will take a while, so don’t expect to hear anything back for at least a month to 6 weeks.
For some online resources, you can visit the Arkansas History Commission has an index of deaths between 1914 and 1949. It’s not a complete database (names and dates only) but it is a place to look before placing your paper document request.
If you need material from before 1914, you will have to contact each county’s courthouse to see how to make requests for documents.