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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 on 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.


Marriage Records Death Records
Early - 1825 1808 - 1870 $
1800 - 1969 $ 1908 - 1959 $
1809 - 1920 $ 1962 - Present



Birth Records
Before 1881
No births were recorded by government agencies prior to 1881. 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.

FamilySearch has a partial index of Births and Christenings, 1881-1930. Background information about the source of this index is available here.

To obtain copies of birth records from this time period, contact the County Court where the birth occurred. (Microfilmed copies of county birth records for some Alabama Counties are also available through .)

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 as shown in the table below. It is more common to find the child's name by the 1920's. Birth Certificates are confidential for 125 years following the date of birth. To obtain copies of original birth records, contact the Alabama Department of Public Health.

Information in Alabama Birth Records Types of Information 1881 - 1908 1908 - present
Name of Child x Harvey Clinton Hughes
Sex x m
Race
x
w
Date and Place of Birth x jan.26, 1914

alabama

Parents' Names & Ages x x
Midwife or Doctor x x
Occupation of Father
x
Number of Birth for Mother
x
Residence of Family
x

Resources for Alabama Birth Records
For indexes and other available online records, see Alabama Vital Records Online.
Adoption Records
Alabama adoption 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
1799 - March 3, 1817 Mississippi Territory
In 1799, a law passed in the Mississippi Territory (including present day Alabama) requiring 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. Microfilmed copies of county marriage records for most Alabama Counties are also available through .

1818 - 1936 Alabama Territory/State
Marriage licenses and bonds were registered in the Orphans Court (renamed the Probate Court in 1850) 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 or the Alabama Department of Archives and History. Microfilmed copies of county marriage records for most Alabama Counties are also available through .

FamilySearch provides a name index to Alabama Marriages, 1816-1957. Background information regarding these historical records is available here. Also available for some counties are indexes and images of Alabama, County Marriages, 1809-1950. (Records are added as they become available.)

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 in Alabama Marriage Records 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

Occupation of Bride/Groom x x
Parents' Names

x
Age of Bride/Groom

x
Date of Birth of Bride/Groom

x
Place of Birth of Bride/Groom


x

Number of Marriages for Bride/Groom

x

Resources for Alabama Marriage Records
For indexes and other available online records, see Alabama Vital Records Online.
Alabama. Department of Health. Marriage Certificates for 1936–1992; and an Index for 1936–1959. Salt Lake City, Utah: Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1993. (Starting )
Early Alabama Marriages 1810–1850: Many Continue or End Between 1850 to 1900, a Few Continue Through from 1900–1936. 44 vols. San Antonio, Texas: Family Adventures, 1991. (WorldCat 24998145; )
Early Alabama Marriage Records. Shreveport, Louisiana : J & W Ent., c1991. (WorldCat 33848720; )
Dodd, Jordan R., Norman L. Moyes, and Liahona Research, Inc. Alabama Marriages Early to 1825: A Research Tool. Bountiful, Utah: Precision Indexing, 1991. (WorldCat 24915574; )
Gandrud, Pauline Myra Jones. Marriage, Death and Legal Notices from Early Alabama Newspapers, 1819-1893. Easley, South Carolina: Southern Historical Press, c1981. (WorldCat 11372100; )

Divorce Records
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 Legislative Journals. To locate divorce records for this time period, contact the Clerk of Circuit Court in the county where the 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. Ancestry.com also has an index for divorces granted between 1950 and 1959.

Death Records
Before 1881
No deaths were recorded by government agencies. See Substitute Records below.

1881 to 1908
Starting in 1881, the State of Alabama required individual counties to register deaths. Because most counties were slow to comply, not all deaths were recorded. In addition, many records from this time period are missing or were destroyed.

FamilySearch has a partial index of Deaths and Burials, 1881-1952. Background information about the source of this index is available here.

To obtain copies of death records from this time period, contact the County Court where the death occurred. Microfilmed copies of county death records for some Alabama Counties are available through .

January 1908 - Present
Starting in January of 1908, Alabama State Law required the registration of all deaths occuring within the state of Alabama. Copies of death certificates were filed with the Alabama Center for Health Statistics. Information found on a death certificate is reported by an informant (usually a relative) and may or may not be accurate.

FamilySearch provides an index to death certificates from the state of Alabama, 1908-1974. Background information regarding these historical records is available here.

To obtain copies of original death records, contact the Alabama Department of Public Health.


Information in Alabama Death Records Types of Information 1881 - 1908 1908 - present
Name of Deceased x x
Date and Place of Death x x
Date and Place of Birth
x
Age at Death x x
Marital Status/Name of Spouse
x
Parents' Names
x
Name of Informant
x
Occupation and Education of Deceased
x
Whether Deceased was a Veteran
x
Deceased's Social Security Number
x
Cause of Death
x
Date and Place of Burial
x
Funeral Home
x

Resources for Alabama Death Records
For indexes and other available online records, see Alabama Vital Records Online.
Alabama. Department of Health. Death Records from 1908 to 1974 and Death Indexes from 1908 to 1959. Salt Lake City, Utah: Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1993-2000. (Starting ; also available at FamilySearch.org; see also Alabama Statewide Death Certificates for information about the database.)

A wiki artice describing an online collection is found at:

Alabama Statewide Death Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

Minorities
African Americans
When searching for birth, marriage, or death records for African Americans after the Civil War, check the record types listed above. Birth, marriage, and death information for African Americans prior to the Civil War can be found in other sources. See Alabama Minorities for more information.


Native Americans
In order to find birth, marriage, or death information on Native Americans living in Alabama you must know which tribe the individual belonged to. Indians of Alabama has more specific information about tribes in the State.

Substitute Records
Use substitute records to verify and enrich knowledge about an event or where better records do not exist, to establish evidence of the birth, marriage or death of your ancestor.

Cemetery Records
Federal/State Censuses - some pre-1850 censuses included every name
Church Records
Histories
Newspapers - look for birth announcements, marriages, reports on divorces, death notices, and Obituaries
Military Records
Periodicals - search the Periodical Source Index (PERSI)
Lost / Missing Records
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
Information listed on vital records is given by an informant. Learn the relationship of the informant to the subject(s) of the record. The closer the relationship of the informant to the subject(s) and whether or not the informant was present at the time of the event can help you determine the accuracy of the information found on the record.
If you are unable to locate vital records recorded by governments, search in church records for christening, marriage, death, or burial records. A family Bible may also have been used to record family births, marriages and deaths.
Records for African Americans are often recorded in separate files with separate indexes.
Privacy laws may restrict your access to some vital records. Copies of some vital records recorded in the last 100 years may be unavailable to anyone except direct descendants and/or ancestors.
If the survival of a baby was questioned, the birth may not have been recorded.
Search for Vital Records in the Family History Library Catalog by using a Place Search and then choosing Vital Records. Search for Alabama to locate records filed by the State and then search the name of the county to locate records kept by that county.
Archives, Libraries & Societies
Statewide Archives, Libraries, Historical Societies and Genealogical Societies as well as County Historical and Genealogical Societies may have collections that can be of great value when doing Alabama research. Contact the specific Archive, Society, or Library for information on what record types are available, if the records are available online, or if copies of records can be obtained for a fee.

Alabama Birth, Marriage and Death Records Online
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.

Alabama Links from fhlfavorites.info - Free
Alabama Loose Records Index created by the Alabama Department of Archives and History - Free
Alabama Databases listed on Rootsweb.com - Free
Alabama Marriages Before 1825 Free database at CensusDiggins.com
Alabama Obituary and Death Notices Collection from GenealogyBuff.com -Free
Alabama Vital Records Free guide to locating AL vital records at AncestorHunt.com.
USGenWeb.org Alabama Site - Free
Search for Alabama Collections on FamilySearch.org under Canada, USA, and Mexico - Free
The Vital Records Search and Information Directory for Alabama - Free/$
Wee Monster Links for Alabama Birth & Marriage and Death Records - Free/$
Linkpendium Links for Alabama Genealogy and History, including individual Counties - Free/$
Progenealogists Links for the United States. Press Ctrl + F on the keyboard to search for Alabama or AL - Free/$
Search the Alabama Birth, Marriage & Death Records at Ancestry.com - $
Order Alabama Certificates online -
wiki.familysearch.or.

Wiki articles describing these collections are found at:


Alabama Deaths and Burials (FamilySearch Historical Records)
Alabama Statewide Death Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)
Alabama County Marriages (FamilySearch Historical Records)
Alabama Marriages (FamilySearch Historical Records)
Alabama Births and Christenings (FamilySearch Historical Records)

Bibliography
Barefield, Marilyn Davis. Researching in Alabama a Genealogical Guide, Southern Historical Press, 1987.
Nancy Dupree, Reference Consultant for Alabama Department of Archives and History. Telephone interview. 14 Jan. 2009.
http://www.adph.org/vitalrecords/Default.asp?id=1558 Alabama Center for Health Statistics - Vital Records].
Davis, Robert S., and Mary Bess Paluzzi. "Alabama" in Ancestry's Red Book: American State, County and Town Sources, 3rd ed. Provo, UT: Ancestry.com, 1992. pp. 21-34.


Birth Record_Types_of_the_United_States United_States_Vital_Records

  • This page was last modified on 4 April 2012, at 18:03.
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