Vital County Records on Microfilm at ADAH

VITAL RECORDS include birth, death, marriage and divorce records. Alabama law did not require the recording of birth or death certificates until 1908. The statewide recording of marriage certificates began in 1936 and divorce certificates in 1950. The Alabama Department of Archives and History has indexes to those records, but original certificates must be obtained from the Alabama Center for Health Statistics.


How to obtain vital records from the Ala. Center for Health Statistics.


Additional information available through county historical and genealogical societies. Prior to 1908 some vital records were recorded at the county level. Generally this practice began around 1880 (though earlier in some counties and later in others). ADAH has microfilmed copies of most of these records. See the Local Government Records Microfilm database to search for vital records on microfilm at ADAH.



Most birth records list sex, race, place and date of birth of individual but no name. The names of parents and physician/midwife attending are also sometimes listed.



Most death records list name of individual, and place of death, age at death and attending physician. Some include place of burial and cause of death.



Most marriage records include names of husband and wife, presiding official at marriage, and signatures of two people who posted marriage bond.



Most divorce records list only date of divorce and names of the parties and officials involved.



It is important to remember that not all records are complete. Each county had vital events which went unrecorded or records which were lost or damaged. Many courthouses have burned and the records they contained may be limited. Click here for a map of Alabama counties that have had courthouse fires.


Early birth and death records may also be listed as registers.


Some counties separated vital records by race, with records for whites and African-Americans recorded in separate books. The original designations recorded on the volumes (White, Black, Colored) have been maintained on the records listed.


Don't know the county for an Alabama city? Click here.