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Arkansas Place Names

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Arkansas Place Names: United States Geological Survey's Geographic Names Information System
ISBN 1-56546-260-2, 573 pages, $59.50

We answer a lot of questions from genealogists about place names. The source we turn to is a massive compilation by the federal government's United States Geological Survey (USGS). Those folks took every possible named feature from all their 7.5 minute topographic maps (that's the really detailed ones), and then added more from all kinds of printed sources including old, original maps and gazetteers. They've come up with more than 30,000 names for Arkansas places: populated places, waterways, civil districts, counties, lakes, ponds, ditches, sloughs, schools, churches, hills, valleys, and every other physical and man-made thing with a name.

We've arranged those names in one alphabetical list, showing name, what it is, latitude and longitude, (and ending latitude and longitude if it's something like a river or stream), elevation (if given), county, and the name of the 7.5 min. topographic map where it's located. We've added a list of those 7.5 min. topo maps and provided a guide to their whereabouts with maps in the introductory material.

What doesn't it cover?

  • Some guy called and said his people moved to "Wescalposh" and he couldn't find it on a map. He said before that, they were in Union County, Arkansas. Well, that was easy, he was asking about West Carroll Parish, Louisiana.
  • A woman remarked that her mother was born in a cow barn. Curious about the source for that tidbit, we asked, and she said it was on her mom's birth certificate. In Marion County, "Cowan Barrens" sounds almost like "cow barn," and that's what it said on the document.
  • A Tennessee resident couldn't find "Fedvale" on his Arkansas map. It's right there in Washington County. But it's spelled "Fayetteville."

So there are a few items you'll have to work out for yourself, otherwise, this book is the be-all, end-all, dream book of where it's at in Arkansas. You'll want this one.


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