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Alabama Birth, Marriage, and Death Records

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United States > Alabama > Alabama Birth, Marriage and Death Records

Introduction to Vital Records

Vital Records consist of births, adoptions, marriages, divorces, and deaths recorded in registers, certificates, and documents. United States Vital Records has additional research guidance on researching and using vital records. A copy or an extract of most original records can be purchased from the Alabama Vital Records State Department of Health or the County Clerk's office of the county where the event occurred. See also Alabama Statewide Indexes and Collections at the Family History Library.

  
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                                             Searchable Indexes

Marriage Records  Death/Will Records
Early - 1825 1808 - 1870
1800 - 1969 1908 - 1959
1809 - 1920

1962 - Present






Alabama Birth, Marriage, and Death Records Online[edit | edit source]

The following is a list of online resources useful for locating Alabama Vital Records. Check Alabama Vital Records Online for more information about the resources listed below. Most online resources for Alabama Vital Records are indexes. After locating a person in an index always consult the original record to confirm the information in the index.

Birth Records[edit | edit source]

Before 1881

No births were recorded by government agencies. See Substitute Records below.

1881 to 1908 

Starting in 1881, the State of Alabama required individual counties to register the birth of children. Because most counties were slow to comply, not all births were recorded. In addition, many records from this time period are missing or were destroyed. Birth registers from this time period usually do not list the name of the child.

1908 to Present 

The State of Alabama required the registration of births on a state level beginning in 1908. Early registration in this time period was sketchy. Most births were recorded by 1927. Early birth registers and certificates generally do not contain the name of the child but may contain other important information (see table below). It is more common to find the child's name by the 1920's. Some sources for online indexes are at Alabama Vital Records OnlineAlabama Vital Records State Department of Health has instructions for ordering copies of birth certificates.

Information Found on Alabama Birth Records please put each item in it's own row
Types of Information 1881 - 1908 1908 - present
Name of Child seldom x
Sex/Race x x
Date and Place of Birth x x
Parents' Names & Ages x x
Midwife/Doctor x x
Occupation of Father / # of births for mother   x
Residence
x


Adoption Records[edit | edit source]

Alabama law requires the creation of a new birth certificate after a legal adoption has taken place. The original birth certificate and evidence of adoption are then placed in a sealed file and the new certificate is substituted for the original birth certificate in the State Department of Vital Statistics files. Starting August 1, 2000, original birth records (as well as all documents in the sealed file) became available to adoptees once they reached the age of 19. The Alabama Department of Public Health has detailed information about obtaining copies of sealed birth records. See Adoption Research for more information.

Marriage Records[edit | edit source]

1799 - March 3, 1817 Mississippi Territory

In 1799, a law passed in the Mississippi Territory (including Alabama) required marriage licenses and bonds to be registered at the Orphans Court in the county of the bride's residence. To obtain copies of original marriage records, contact the Probate Court in the county where the license was issued.

1818 - 1936 Alabama Territory/State

Marriage licenses and bonds were registered in the Orphans Court (renamed the Probate Court in 1844) in the county of the bride's residence. Starting in 1888, bonds were only required if the groom was under the age of 21 or the bride was under the age of 18. To obtain copies of original marriage records, contact the Probate Court in the county where the license was issued.

1936 - Present

Alabama started keeping statewide marriage records in August of 1936. For current fees and instructions for obtaining copies of the state’s records, contact the Alabama Department of Public Health.

Information Found on Alabama Marriage Records please put each item in it's own row
Types of Information 1799 - 1817 1818 - 1936 1936 - present
Name of Bride/Groom x x x
Date of Marriage x x x
Location of Marriage x x x
Presiding Official x x x
Bondsmen x x
Number of Marriage for Bride/Groom

x
Parents' Names

x
Age of Bride/Groom Date & place of birth

x
Occupation of Groom



Resources for Alabama Marriage Records

For indexes and other records available online, check Alabama Vital Records Online.

The Family History Library has microfilms of the county marriage records for most Alabama Counties. These films may be ordered and viewed at a nearby Family History Center.

The Family History Library has films of the statewide Marriage Certificates for 1936–1992; and an Index for 1936–1959 that may be ordered and viewed at a nearby Family History Center.

There are a number of books with Statewide Indexes for Alabama marriages in the Family History Library collection that may be viewed at the Family History Library or borrowed from other libraries through Interlibrary Loan.

Alabama Marriages to 1825  

Alabama Marriages, 1809-1920

Divorce Records[edit | edit source]

Early - 1950

Prior to 1950, divorces could be granted by the State Legislature, Circuit Courts, City Courts, and County Chancery Courts. In 1915, the County Chancery Courts were merged with the County Circuit Courts. Divorces finalized by the State Legislature can be found in the published Alabama Senate and Legislative Journals. To locate divorce records for this time period, contact the Clerk of Circuit Court in the county where divorce was granted.

1950 - Present 

In January 1950, Alabama started keeping statewide divorce records. Contact the Alabama Department of Public Health to obtain divorce records for this time period.  Alabama Vital Records Online has an index of divorces from 1950-1959.

Death Records[edit | edit source]

January 1908 - Present

  • Alabama Vital Records Online has a number of quick links to death indexes for Alabama.
  • Alabama Statewide Deaths from 1908-1974 are available on Record Search
  • The Social Security Death Index (SSDI) is online and contains records of deaths for those who had social security numbers and the death was reported to the United States Social Security Administration. Most records start in 1962, but the file does contain a few records of deaths from 1942 until 1961.

The Alabama Center for Health Statistics began filing death certificates in January of 1908 for persons who died in Alabama. Death Certificates contain personal information on the deceased from an informant, usually a relative. The information was sent to the county clerk, who sent a copy to the state.


Information that may be included in Alabama Death Records
Types of Information
before - 1908
Remove 1908 - present
Name of Deceased

x


x
Date of Death
x


x
Place of Death
x


x
Date of Birth/Age


x
Place of Birth


x
Place of Burial


x
Parents' Names/Maiden


x
Occupation of Deceased


x

Marital Status




x

Please add below items to chart.

  • name of spouse
  • Name of the informant
  • cause of death
  • education
  • veteran
  • SS#
  • Funeral home & director

The Family History Library has microfilms of statewide Death Records from 1908 to 1974 and Death Indexes from 1908 to 1959 that may be viewed at a nearby Family History Center.

Alabama. Department of Health (Montgomery, Alabama). Deaths, 1908–1972; Index to Deaths, 1908–1969. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1993.

Minorities[edit | edit source]

African American [edit | edit source]

African-American research in Alabama falls into two periods: pre- and post-Civil War. Post-Civil War research consists of the same record used to research non-African-Americans. Pre-Civil War slavery research consists of slave importation declarations, plantation records, emancipation records, apprenticeship bonds for freedmen, census records, plantation owners’ family records, church records, cemetery records, military records, probate and court records.

Alabama Indians[edit | edit source]

When researching Alabama Indians, it is important to identify the tribe to which an ancestor may have have belonged. Most North American Indian records are arranged either by tribal name or by locality of residence.  

Substitute Records[edit | edit source]

Lost / Missing Records[edit | edit source]

Some records for a given county or for the state of Alabama may have been burned or lost and may be unavailable. Check Alabama Lost/Missing Records for more information.

Tips[edit | edit source]

  • The information given on a birth or death certificate is given by an informant.  Learn the relationship of the informant to determine the accuracy of the record.
  • If you are unable to locate a vital records recorded by civil governments, search for church records of christening, marriage, death or burial. A family Bible may have been used to record family births, marriages and deaths.
  •  African American records may be in separate vital records files with separate indexes.
  • Privacy laws restrict access to the records of living individuals, the individual must apply for their records, parents may be permitted to obtain a record for a child.
  • If a baby's survival was questioned, a birth certificate may not have been created.

Archives, Libraries & Societies[edit | edit source]

Bibliography[edit | edit source]

  • Researching in Alabama; a Genealogical Guide [1]
  • Telephone Interview with Nancy Durpree [2]
  • Alabama Vital Records - Home. [3]
  • Alabama. Ancestry's Red Book American State, County and Town Sources [4]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Barefield, Marilyn Davis, Researching in Alabama a Genealogical Guide. Southern Historical Press, 1987.
  2. Nancy Dupree, Reference Consultant for Alabama Department of Archives and History. Telephone interview. 14 Jan. 2009.
  3. Alabama Center for Health Statistics Vital Records. Alabama Department of Public Health, 2009. Web. 04 Aug. 2009. Alabama Department of Public Health
  4. Davis, Robert S., and Mary Bess Paluzzi. Alabama. Ancestry's Red Book American State, County and Town Sources, 3rd Edition. Provo: Ancestry.com, 1992. 21-34.