Northeast Arkansas Regional Archives

A branch of the Arkansas State Archives, the mission of the Northeast Arkansas Regional Archives (NEARA) is to collect and preserve primary and secondary source materials pertaining to the history of northeast Arkansas and its people. NEARA also serves as a resource center for historical research focusing on the unique history, culture and heritage of the area. NEARA opened in 2011, founded through a partnership between the Arkansas History Commission and Arkansas State Parks and is located within Powhatan Historic State Park.

NEARA collects material on a 16-county region in Northeast Arkansas, which includes the counties of Baxter, Clay, Craighead, Crittenden, Cross, Fulton, Greene, Independence, Izard, Jackson, Lawrence, Mississippi, Poinsett, Randolph, Sharp and Stone.

Holdings include traditional archival material such as letters, diaries, maps, photographs, newspapers and broadsides. Books, periodicals and other print resources create a general Arkansas history reference library. The core of NEARA’s holdings include approximately 500 cubic feet of Lawrence County government records, donated by the Lawrence County Historical Society. These county records are among Arkansas’s earliest documentary resources and date back to the earliest decades of the 19th century. Records from numerous counties in the region are also available on microfilm.

As the “Mother of Counties,” Lawrence County was established in 1815 by the Missouri territorial legislature prior to the creation of Arkansas Territory (1819). The county encompassed large portions of northern Arkansas and southern Missouri and was later subdivided into more than 40 modern counties in both Arkansas and Missouri.


  • If this is your first visit to NEARA, please bring a picture ID with you. You will be asked to register at the front desk and will be issued a research number and card.
  • There is no wifi currently available in our research room. Public computers have internet access and provide free access to records.
  • There is limited cell reception in Powhatan. You may not be able to use cell phones or other wireless devices at our facility.
  • Patrons can purchase copies with cash, check or money order (no credit/debit).  
  • Members of the State Archives staff are available to help patrons, get microfilm rolls, bring collections from our vault and offer research guidance. Due to the low number of staff at our regional archives, research services are limited.
  • Not all NEARA’s archival collections are in the online searches yet. If you need something specific to our region that isn’t online, ask our staff for assistance.
  • If your family was in Lawrence County or immediately surrounding counties, bring any family names you may have. We have a large index of names from 19th and early 20th century court records that we can search.
  • See our Research FAQs and Tips for more information.

Northeast Arkansas Regional Archives

P.O. Box 44
11 Seventh Street
Powhatan, AR 72458