Alabama Biography

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Online Resources[edit | edit source]

Alabama Biographies[edit | edit source]

Biographies provide useful genealogical information such as an individual’s birth date and place (including foreign birthplaces where applicable); family members; occupation and education; and social, political, and religious affiliation. They may also contain a physical description of the person, his or her previous residences, and immigration information. Biographies are the product of family knowledge or previous research compiled about early settlers and prominent citizens of the state, county, or town. Many lesser-known individuals may have biographical sketches written about them in local histories.

See United States Biography for information on nationwide biographical collections. See also the "History" and "Genealogy" sections for additional sources.

Biographies in Local Histories[edit | edit source]

  • Biographical information is often found in state, county, and town histories.
  • Towards the end of the 19th century, began publishers soliciting short biographical/family histories from local founding families, offering to publish them in an upcoming local history. This then became an incentive for family members to buy a copy of the book.
  • Families represented were not necessarily prominent. Practically everyone living there, especially in the Midwest, counted as an early settler.
  • These biographies often start with the first member of the family to settle in the area, and detail their descendants at the time of publishing. They may tell where the family moved in from. Children's marriages often are given, with maiden names included.

Finding Biographies[edit | edit source]

  • The county Wiki page lists several county histories. It also lists local libraries, and societies which probably have copies of local histories.
  • Many histories are no longer under copyright and can be found in the following online, digitized book collections. Search with keywords "History" and "the name of your locality" (state, county, or town).
  • The FamilySearch library has extensive collections of these local histories. Many are digitized. Search the FamilySearch Catalog under your locality for the topics "Biography" and "History".

Family History Library Collection[edit | edit source]

The Family History Library does not have a statewide biographical index or major manuscript collection for Alabama. You will find many biographies in the biographical sections of statewide, regional, and county histories.

  • The WPA project Index to Alabama Biography: An Index to Biographical Sketches of Individual Alabamians in State, Local, and to Some Extent National Collections was sponsored by the Birmingham Public Library in 1956. This collection may be useful for locating persons in Alabama in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The project indexes over 100 biographical and historical titles. This index is available at the Birmingham Public Library (see the "Archives and Libraries" section for the address.)
  • A source for portraits is: Alabama Portraits Prior to 1870. Mobile, Alabama: Gill Printing and Stationary, 1969. FHL book 976.1 D3c The book has portraits, in alphabetical order, with some family history information about each individual.
  • Riley, Benjamin Franklin. Makers and Romance of Alabama History: Embracing Sketches of the Men Who Have Been Largely Instrumental in Shaping the Policies and in Molding the Conditions in Rapid Growth of Alabama, Together with the Thrilling and Romantic Scenes with which Our History is Resplendent. 1915. Digital version at FamilySearch Digital Library - free.
  • DuBose, Joel C. Notable Men of Alabama. Personal and Genealogical with Portraits. 2 vols. 1904; reprint, Spartanburg, S.C.: The Reprint Company, Publishers, 1976. Digital versions at FamilySearch Digital Library: FamilySearch Digital Library Vol. 1 | FamilySearch Digital Library Vol. 2}} - free.
  • To locate biographical material available through the FamilySearch Catalog, use the Place-names Search for:

Websites[edit | edit source]