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.
Family History Library Collection
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.)
- Owen, Thomas McAdory. History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography. 4 vols. Chicago: S.J. Clarke, 1921. Digital versions at FamilySearch Books Online: Vol. 1 | Vol. 2 | Vol. 3 | Vol. 4. Available in hard copy: FHL fiche 6048243 (first of 40); Book 976.1 H2o v. 1–4. Digitized version available through the FHL catalog entry. The first two volumes have historical information about Alabama events and places. The last two volumes are biographical.
- 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 Books Online - 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 Books Online: Vol. 1 | Vol. 2 - free.
- Northern Alabama, Historical and Biographical. Birmingham, Ala.: Smith and De Land, 1888. Digital version at FamilySearch Books Online.
- To locate biographical material available through the Family History Library Catalog, use the Place-names Search for:
- ALABAMA- BIOGRAPHY
- ALABAMA, [COUNTY]- BIOGRAPHY
- ALABAMA, [COUNTY], [TOWN]- BIOGRAPHY