Alabama Archives and Libraries

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Most archives and libraries collect records about local residents (biographies, family histories, and local histories) and about nearby places (maps, gazetteers, and place-finding aids). They often compile reference helps and special indexes to important local sources. In many communities they serve as a meeting place for local historical and genealogical societies, and may be able to provide referrals to people who are willing to look up information in local records. Before you visit an archive or a library, contact them and ask for information on their collection, hours, services, and fees.

When one of these institutions is referred to elsewhere in this outline, return to this section for the address.

The Family History Library has copies of many of the records found in archives and libraries, but most repositories will have additional sources.

Many archives and libraries have helpful sources for locating information about Alabama, such as maps, gazetteers, and other place-finding aids. They frequently have collections of previous research, such as family and local histories and biographies. Many have record-finding aids, such as guides to their own collections or inventories of records housed elsewhere in the state. Archives and libraries near state boundaries usually collect records relating to the adjacent states.

The following archives, libraries, and societies have collections or services helpful to genealogical researchers:

Alabama Department of Archives and History
624 Washington Avenue
Montgomery, AL 36130-0100
Telephone: 334-242-4435
Fax: 334-240-3433
Internet address:

The mailing address is:
P.O. Box 300100
Montgomery, AL 36130-0100

The Department of Archives and History (closed Mondays) has the following records: federal and state censuses; vital records (birth, death, marriage, and divorce); county records (deeds, wills, and other probate records); land, military, and military discharge records (DD214s); surname files; city directories; African-American records (Reconstruction to the present); American Indian records; and immigration and naturalization records.

National Archives—Southeast Region (Atlanta)
5780 Jonesboro Road
Morrow, Georgia 30260
Phone: 770-968-2100
Internet address:

'Birmingham Public Library
2100 Park Place
Birmingham, AL 35203
Telephone: 205-226-3665
Internet address:

Samford University Library
Special Collection Department
800 Lakeshore Drive
Birmingham, AL 35229
Telephone: 205-726-2749
Fax: 205-726-2642
Internet address:

Mobile Public Library
Local History Dept.
704 Government Street
Mobile, AL 36602-1499
Telephone: 334-208-7093
Fax: 334-208-5866
Internet address:

William Stanley Hoole Special Collections Library
University of Alabama
Second Floor
Mary Harmon Bryant Hall
500 Hackberry Lane
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0266
Telephone: 205-348-0500
Fax: 205-348-1699
Internet address:

The mailing address is:
P.O. Box 870266
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0266

Auburn University
Special Collections Department
Auburn University Libraries
231 Mell Street
Auburn University, AL 36849
Phone: 334-844-4500 or 800-446-0387

The library has a large genealogical collection and a helpful worldwide web site.

To learn more about the history and record-keeping systems of Alabama counties, use the 14 inventories of county archives, published by the Historical Records Survey from 1938 to 1942. These were published for: Clay, Colbert, Conecuh, Cullman, Greene, Hale, Lauderdale, Lowndes, Madison, Marengo, Sumter, Talladega, Wilcox, and Winston counties. The Family History Library has the inventories for Colbert, Conecuh, Cullman, Hale, Lauderdale, Lowndes, Marengo, and Talladega counties. To find these in the Family History Library Catalog see:


Courthouse Fires

Fires occurred in many county courthouses. If records are missing , you can often find cemetery records, censuses, church records, newspapers, Bible records, military service and pension records, delayed birth certificates, or records in neighboring counties that have similar information. Sometimes landowners registered their deeds after a courthouse fire. The following list shows when courthouses were damaged by fire:

    • Baker 1870
    • Butler 1853
    • Calhoun 1861, 1865
    • Cherokee 1882
    • Chilton 1870
    • Choctaw 1871
    • Clay 1875
    • Coffee 1877
    • Conecuh 1868, 1875, 1885, 1895, 1900
    • Coosa 1900
    • Covington 1839, 1847, 1878, 1895
    • Crenshaw 1898
    • Dale 1869, 1885
    • Fayette 1866, 1916
    • Franklin 1890
    • Geneva 1898
    • Greene 1868
    • Jackson 1864, 1920
    • Jefferson 1870
    • Lawrence 1859
    • Limestone 1862
    • Marengo 1848, 1965
    • Marion 1866, 1883
    • Mobile 1823, 1840, 1872
    • Monroe 1832
    • Morgan 1926, 1938
    • Pickens 1864, 1876
    • Pike 1828
    • Randolph 1897
    • Sumter 1901
    • Walker 1865, 1877, 1886, 1932
    • Winston 1891

The above list was compiled from Research in Alabama by Wendy L. Elliott and Researching in Alabama: A Genealogical Guide by Marilyn Davis Barefield.

Computer Networks and Bulletin Boards

Computers with modems are important for obtaining information from selected archives and libraries. In a way, computer networks themselves serve as a library. The Internet, certain computer bulletin boards, and commercial on-line services help family history researchers:

  • Search databases.
  • Search computer libraries and on-line catalogs.
  • Locate other researchers.
  • Send and receive e-mail.
  • Post queries.
  • Join in computer chat and lecture sessions.

You can find computerized research tips and information about ancestors from Alabama in a variety of sources at local, state, national, and international levels. The list of sources is growing rapidly. Most of the information is available at no cost. Internet addresses are subject to change. The following sites link you to many more network and bulletin board sites:

Howells, Cyndi. “U.S.- Alabama- AL.” In Cyndi’s List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet [Internet site]. Puyallup, Wash.: Cyndi Howells, 1 March 1999 [cited 1 March 2000]. Available at, this list has links to other Alabama genealogy sites and describes more resources than any other site on the Internet.

The ALGenWeb Project, an affiliate of The USGenWeb Project  N.p., 29 December 1999 [cited 1 March 2000]. Available at, this lists genealogical databases, libraries, bulletin boards, and other resources available on the Internet for each county, state, and country. For

“United States Resources: Alabama” In RootsWeb [Internet site]. N.p., 30 November 1999 [cited 1 March 2000]. Available at, this list of sites and resources includes a large, regularly updated research coordination list. For more information see Alabama Resources from and Mailing Lists at RootsWeb - Alabama