Welcome to the Alabama Genealogy & History Network!

 

The recorded history of Alabama began when Spanish explorers in the 16th century became the first Europeans to reach this area. The expedition of Hernando de Soto passed through Mabila and other parts of the state in 1540. More than 160 years later, the French founded the first European settlement in the region at Old Mobile in 1702. The city was moved to the current site of Mobile in 1711. This area was claimed by the French from 1702 to 1763 as part of La Louisiane. After the French lost the Seven Years' War, it became part of British West Florida from 1763 to 1783.

After the United States victory in the American Revolutionary War, the territory was divided between the United States and Spain. The latter retained control of this western territory from 1783 until the surrender of the Spanish garrison at Mobile to U.S. forces on April 13, 1813.

What is now the counties of Baldwin and Mobile became part of Spanish West Florida in 1783, part of the independent Republic of West Florida in 1810, and was finally added to the Mississippi Territory in 1812. Most of what is now the northern two-thirds of Alabama was known as the Yazoo lands beginning during the British colonial period. It was claimed by the Province of Georgia from 1767 onwards. Following the Revolutionary War, it remained a part of Georgia, although heavily disputed.

With the exception of the immediate area around Mobile and the Yazoo lands, what is now the lower one-third Alabama was made part of the Mississippi Territory when it was organized in 1798. The Yazoo lands were added to the territory in 1804, following the Yazoo land scandal. Spain kept a claim on its former Spanish West Florida territory in what would become the coastal counties until the Adams–Onís Treaty officially ceded it to the United States in 1819.

Prior to the admission of Mississippi as a state on December 10, 1817, the more sparsely settled eastern half of the territory was separated and named the Alabama Territory. The Alabama Territory was created by the United States Congress on March 3, 1817. St. Stephens, now abandoned, served as the territorial capital from 1817 to 1819.

The U.S. Congress selected Huntsville as the site for the first Constitutional Convention of Alabama after it was approved to become the 22nd state. From July 5 to August 2, 1819, delegates met to prepare the new state constitution. Huntsville served as the temporary capital of Alabama from 1819 to 1820, when the seat of state government was moved to Cahaba in Dallas County.

Cahaba, now a ghost town, was the first permanent state capital from 1820 to 1825. Alabama Fever was already underway when the state was admitted to the Union, with settlers and land speculators pouring into the state to take advantage of fertile land suitable for cotton cultivation. Part of the frontier in the 1820s and 1830s, its constitution provided for universal suffrage for White men.

From 1826 to 1846, Tuscaloosa served as the capital of Alabama. On January 30, 1846, the Alabama legislature announced that it had voted to move the capital city from Tuscaloosa to Montgomery. The first legislative session in the new capital met in December 1847. A new capitol building was erected. The first structure burned down in 1849, but was rebuilt on the same site in 1851. This second capitol building in Montgomery remains to the present day.

On January 11, 1861, Alabama declared its secession from the Union. After remaining an independent republic for a few days, it joined the Confederate States of America. The Confederacy's capital was initially located at Montgomery. Alabama was heavily involved in the American Civil War. Although comparatively few battles were fought in the state, Alabama contributed about 120,000 soldiers to the war effort.

Alabama was under military rule from the end of the war in May 1865 until its official restoration to the Union in 1868. Following the war, the state remained chiefly agricultural, with an economy tied to cotton. During Reconstruction, state legislators ratified a new state constitution in 1868 that created the state's first public school system and expanded women's rights. Legislators funded numerous public road and railroad projects,

Reconstruction in Alabama ended in 1874, when the Democrats regained control of the legislature and governor's office and a new state constitution was written and adopted in 1875,

 

 



Alabama Counties
Click on a county below to go to that county's website

COUNTY
YEAR FORMED
COUNTY SEAT
PARENT COUNTY OR LAND
1819
Pratville
Montgomery County
1809
Bay Minette
Washington County & West Florida
1832
Clayton
Pike County
1818
Centreville
Montgomery County (as Cahawba County)
1818
Oneonta
Montgomery County & Indian territories
1866
Union Springs
Barbour, Macon, Montgomery, & Pike counties
1819
Greenville
Conecuh & Monroe counties
1832
Anniston
St. Clair County (as Benton County)
1832
LaFayette
Montgomery County
1836
Centre
Cherokee territory
1868
Clanton
Autauga, Bibb, Perry, & Shelby counties (as Baker County)
1847
Butler
Sumter & Washington counties
1812
Grove Hill
Washington County
1866
Ashland
Randolph & Talladega counties
1866
Heflin
Calhoun, Randolph , & Talladega counties
1841
Elba & Enterprise
Dale County
1867
Tuscumbia
Franklin County
1818
Evergreen
Monroe County
1832
Rockford
Montgomery County
1821
Andalusia
Henry County
1866
Luverne
Butler, Coffee, Covington, Lowndes, & Pike Counties
1877
Cullman
Blount, Morgan, & Winston counties
1824
Ozark
Covington & Henry counties
1818
Selma
Monroe & Montgomery counties
1836
Fort Payne
Cherokee territory
1866
Wetumpka
Autauga, Coosa, Montgomery, & Tallapoosa counties
1868
Brewton
Baldwin & Conecuh counties
1866
Gadsden
Blount, Calhoun, Cherokee, DeKalb, Marshall, & St. Clair counties (as Baine County)
1824
Fayette
Marion, Pickens, Tuscaloosa, & Walker counties
1818
Russellville
Cherokee territory
1868
Geneva
Coffee, Dale, & Henry counties
1819
Eutaw
Marengo & Tuscaloosa counties
1867
Greensboro
Greene, Marengo, Perry, & Tuscaloosa counties
1819
Abbeville
Conecuh County
1903
Dothan
Dale, Geneva, & Henry counties
1819
Scottsboro
Cherokee territory
1819
Birmingham
Blount County
1867
Vernon
Fayette & Marion counties (as Jones County)
1818
Florence
Cherokee & Chickasaw territories
1818
Moulton
Cherokee territory
1866
Opelika
Chambers, Macon, Russell, & Tallapoosa counties
1818
Athens
Elk & Madison counties
1830
Hayneville
Butler, Dallas, & Montgomery counties
1832
Tuskegee
Montgomery County
1808
Huntsville
Cherokee & Chickasaw territories
1818
Linden
Choctaw territory
1818
Hamilton
Tuscaloosa County
1836
Guntersville
Blount and Jackson counties & Cherokee territory
1812
Mobile
Mobile District of West Florida after annexation into Mississippi Territory
1815
Monroeville
Creek territory
1816
Montgomery
Monroe County
1818
Decatur
Cherokee territory (as Cotaco County)
1819
Marion
Cahawba, Dallas, Marengo, & Tuscaloosa counties
1820
Carrollton
Tuscaloosa County
1821
Troy
Henry & Montgomery counties
1832
Wedowee
St. Clair & Shelby counties
1832
Phenix City
Barbour, Bullock, Lee & Macon counties
1818
Ashville & Pell City
Shelby County
1818
Columbiana
Montgomery County
1832
Livingston
Choctaw territory
1832
Talladega
St. Clair & Shelby counties
1832
Dadeville
Montgomery & Shelby counties
1818
Tuscaloosa
Montgomery County & Choctaw territory
1823
Jasper
Blount, Jefferson, & Tuscaloosa counties
1800
Chatom
Adams & Pickering counties of Mississippi Territory
1819
Camden
Dallas & Monroe counties
1850
Double Springs
Walker County (as Hancock County)
FORMER COUNTY NAMES
Baine
Changed to Etowah County in 1868.
Baker
Changed to Chilton County in 1874.
Benton
Changed to Calhoun County in 1858, honoring Benton's rival John C. Calhoun of South Carolina after Benton's renunciation of slavery.
Cahawba
Changed to Bibb County in 1820.
Cotaco
Changed to Morgan County in 1821.
Hancock
Changed to Winston County in 1858.
Jones
Changed back to Covington County (its former name) in 1868 after Josiah Jones refused the honor of having a county named after him.
Jones
Changed to Sanford County, which subsequently became Lamar County in 1877.
Sanford
Changed to Lamar County in 1877.
HISTORIC COUNTIES (no longer in existence)
Decatur
Created 07 Dec 1821 with Woodville as its county seat. Abolished 28 Dec 1825, divided between Madison County and Jackson County.
Elk
Established 09 May 1817 by Mississippi Territory prior to Mississippi–Alabama split; abolished 26 Jan 1818 prior to Alabama statehood.


 

Alabama Records

Alabama Genealogy & History Network has many records on our county websites. Thousands of County marriage records are located on the county websites. Many counties have cemetery listings. Please visit the county or counties of interest to you.

Birth Records - The Alabama Department of Public Health maintains records of births from 1908 to present. This was the year Alabama began keeping official birth records. You can obtain official copies of birth certificates by visiting the birth record page on their website and following the instructions. Since there are no official birth records before 1908 for births prior to that date you will need to determine birth information from census records, bible records, baptismal records, cemetery tombstones, etc.

Death Records - The Alabama Department of Public Health maintains death records after 1908 on file. This was the year Alabama began keeping official death records. You can obtain official copies of death certificates by visiting the death record page on their website and following the instructions. Since there are no official death records before 1908 for deaths prior to that date you will need to determine death information from census records, bible records, funeral home records, cemetery tombstones, etc.

Marriage Records - We have thousands of county marriage records on our county websites. These dates will assist you greatly in obtaining a copy of the original marriage license. The Alabama Department of Public Health can provide you with information for marriages that took place from 1936 to present by by visiting the marriage record page on their website and following the instructions.

All existing county marriage records for any date not listed above (and for the dates listed above for that matter) may be obtained from the county's Probate office in which the marriage was held.

Divorce Records - The Alabama Department of Public Health maintains divorce records from 1950 to present. You can obtain official copies of devorce records by visiting the divorce record page on their website and following the instructions. Records for divorces occuring before 1950 may be obtained from the circuit clerk in the county where the divorce took place.