Alabama Church Records
Church records and the information they provide vary greatly depending on the denomination and the record keeper. They may contain information about members of the congregation, such as age; dates of baptism, christening or birth; marriage information, such as the bride’s maiden name and the names of both sets of parents; death or burial date; admissions; and removals. Records may include names of other relatives who were witnesses or members of the congregation. The members of some churches were predominately of one nationality or ethnic group. Church records are important for Alabama family research because civil authorities in Alabama did not begin registering vital statistics until after 1908.
To find information about churches up to 1870, such as when the churches were founded, names of ministers and early members, and associated cemeteries, see:
- Daughters of the American Revolution (Alabama). Some Early Alabama Churches (Established Before 1870). Birmingham, Alabama: Parchment Press, 1973. FHL Collection book 976.1 K2d; film 1026262 item 8
The Family History Library has a few church records for Alabama, but most remain with the local churches. Some denominations have collected their records into central repositories. You can write to the following addresses to learn where records of a particular denomination are located.
Special Collection, Samford University Library. See Alabama Archives and Libraries. The Samford University Library Website has an inventory of their records.
For histories of the Baptist Church, see:
- Holcombe, Hosea. A History of the Rise and Progress of the Baptists in Alabama. 1840. Reprint, Bessemer, Alabama: West Jefferson County Historical Society, 1974. FHL Collection book 976.1 K21h. This history of the Baptist Church to 1840 is indexed.
- Flynt, F. Wayne. Alabama Baptists: Southern Baptists in the Heart of Dixie. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1998.
An 1899 directory of Baptist ministers lists biographical details about many ministers born or serving in the state:
- The Ministerial Directory of the Baptist Churches in the United States of America. Oxford, Ohio: Ministerial Directory Co., 1899. Digital version at Google Books.
A list of the Episcopal congregations in Alabama before 1939 is:
- Inventory of the Church Archives of Alabama: Protestant Episcopal Church. Birmingham, Alabama: Alabama Historical Records Survey Project, 1939. FHL Collection book 976.1 K2h; film 897366 item 3; digital version at Family History Archives. This gives the location of each church with a brief history and describes the types and years of records that existed for each congregation in 1939.
Charles Andrew Rush Library
900 Arkadelphia Road
P.O. Box 549020
Birmingham, AL 35254-9990
Phone: (205) 226-4740
Fax: (205) 226-4743
A history of the Methodist Church in Alabama is:
- Lazenby, Marion Elias, History of Methodism in Alabama and West Florida. N.p., 1960. FHL Collection book 976.1 K2L. This book includes a list of deceased ministers and a name and subject index.
Presbyterian Historical Society
425 Lombard Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147
Phone: (215) 627-1852
Fax: (215) 627-0509
Diocese of Birmingham
2121 3rd Ave.
P.O. Box 12047
North Birmingham, AL 35202-2047
Phone: (205) 838-8322
The diocese includes the counties of: Bibb, Blount, Calhoun, Chambers, Cherokee, Chilton, Clay, Cleburne, Colbert, Coosa, Cullman , DeKalb, Etowah, Fayette, Franklin, Greene, Hale, Jackson, Jefferson, Lamar, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Limestone, Madison, Marengo, Marion, Marshall, Morgan, Perry, Pickens, Randolph, Shelby, Sumter, St. Clair, Talladega, Tallapoosa, Tuscaloosa, Walker and Winston
Archdiocese of Mobile Archives
14 S. Franklin St.
Mobile, AL 36602
Phone: (251) 415-3850
The Archdiocese includes the counties of: Autauga, Baldwin, Barbour, Bullock, Butler, Choctaw, Clarke, Coffee, Conecuh, Covington, Crenshaw, Dale, Dallas, Elmore, Escambia, Geneva, Henry, Houston, Lee, Lowndes, Macon, Mobile, Monroe, Montgomery, Pike, Russell, Washington and Wilcox
THE DROUIN COLLECTION:
Drouin Collection 1621-1967 at Ancestry.ca. When searching these databases, be creative in the spellings as well as the various focuses in searching for an ancestor. The French language has many possible spellings for a name, as well as there are errors in the indexing.
This French-Canadian collection has over 15 million genealogical and vital records entries; they were microfilmed by the Institut Généalogique Drouin. In Quebec, under the French Regime, there were two sets of records kept: a copy for the civil government archives and a copy for the ecclesiastical church archives. The Drouin collection is a civil copy of these entries. Please note that the cutoff date of this collection is in the early 1940s; only a small percentage of entries were covered from 1948 to 1967.
This collection is divided into six databases: 1. Quebec Vital and Church Records, 1621-1967 2. Ontario French Catholic Church Records, 1747-1967, 3. Early U.S. French Catholic Church Records, 1695-1954, 4. Acadia French Catholic Church Records, 1670-1946, 5. Quebec Notarial Records, 1647-1942, and 6. Miscellaneous French Records, 1651-1941. For details about these six databases, see "The Drouin Collection: Six Databases".
Early U.S. French Catholic Church Records, 1695-1954: This database only contains the French Catholic parish records from the United States; in the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New York, and Pennsylvania. The types of records include baptisms, marriages, and burials as well as confirmations, dispensations, censuses, statements of readmission to the church, and so on. They are written mainly in French, as well as English, Latin, and Italian.
For further information about local church records, please refer to county or city pages.
State of Alabama
Dept. of Archives and History
624 Washington Ave.
Montgomery, AL 36130-3601
Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception (Mobile, Alabama)
Family Records, 1700-1860
Scattered issues of Mobile and Birmingham Catholic newspapers in originals
Local Catholic cemetery gravestone transcriptions and funeral home records
Items pertaining to Catholic education in Alabama (yearbooks, students and faculty lists), scattered localities and dates.
Some of the records of this diocese are available on microfilms at the Family History Library.
Alabama church records are listed in the Place Search of the Family History Library Catalog under:
ALABAMA- CHURCH HISTORY
ALABAMA- CHURCH RECORDS
ALABAMA, [COUNTY], [TOWN]- CHURCH HISTORY
ALABAMA, [COUNTY], [TOWN]- CHURCH RECORDS
- Davis points out that not all ministers participated, see: Robert S. Davis, "Some Baptist Ministers of South Carolina at the Turn of the Century," The South Carolina Magazine of Ancestral Research, Vol. 32, No. 1 (Winter 2004):13-22. FHL Book 975.7 B2sc v. 32