Lincoln Library Offers Genealogy Services

LINCOLN, Ark. — Thanksgiving week and the full-blown holiday season is underway for families across the country.

With family on the mind, it’s a great time to look back upon your family history and lineage to learn more about who your ancestors were and how your hometown became your hometown. Lucky for us in Northwest Arkansas, the Lincoln Public Library in Lincoln, Ark., offers a designated genealogy section of century-old documents of prominent families who resided in the area as well as free access to a library version of

That’s what Lawrene Nixon Anifnson did, who is also President Richard Nixon’s eldest niece, while she was in town to learn more about her lineage of her two distant relatives John Scott and Emily Hodges.

“The librarian there is extremely knowledgeable about how the genealogy structure for those of us who come from such distances to find the information,” Anifnson said. “She’s so patient and offered to copy whatever I needed. Whatever questions needed to be answered, and she was there. I think she was as excited about it as I was.”

While she was there, Anifnson was able to search through the library’s extensive collection of family history books about some of the prominent families of the region such as the Schaeffer, Snodgrass, Howard and Reed family names. She discovered that one of her relatives fought in Battle of Prairie Grove, and returned from war to find his barn had been burned to the ground

“It’s worth your time to physically experience what’s there,” Anifnson said. “It’s a great learning space for the individual who is just getting started on learning about their history. The space is set aside with a beautiful view looking out the windows, that are magnificent, that look out on the town square. The tables are wonderful and huge so when you bring out a book that is too big for a desk, there’s space to spread books out.”

The librarian, Dianna Payne, started the genealogy section a little more than two years ago.

“The reason we started was we saw a pattern every summer of people coming from Wisconsin or Texas,” Payne said. “They were only going to be here for the afternoon or for one day. We saw the need to organize the books for the families who only had a short time scale for research.”

Along with the computers equipped with and the family history books, patrons can find copies of old school annuals from Lincoln High School dating back to 1917, Sandy Cox put together a local cemetery map for those interested in finding where their relatives are buried.

“I think it’s been pretty cool, myself,” Payne said. “I’m really proud of it because I got into genealogy and got my dad into it, too. These stories and the families need to be preserved and I was excited to be a part of it.”

Anifnson said she was impressed by how nice the library was in the remote location.

“I like searching for the stories, about what we have to tell,” Anifnson said. “What our grandparents, and our great-great-grandparents all went through to survive to live and leave a legacy for the rest of us to enjoy. That’s why I seek out places like the good ol’ Lincoln Library, which is magnificent.”

Categories: Legacy Archive