Welcome to Shelby County, Alabama Genealogy & History Network!

 

Welcome to Shelby County, Alabama Genealogy & History Network. Our purpose is to provide free resources for genealogical and historical researchers.

To share your Shelby County, Alabama genealogy or history information, send an email to alghn@outlook.com - we will be pleased to include it here. If you have information to share for other Alabama Counties, visit the Alabama Genealogy & History Network and go to the appropriate county.

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About Shelby County, Alabama...

Shelby County was created by an act of the Alabama Territorial General Assembly that was approved on February 7, 1818, preceding Alabama's statehood by almost two years. The county was originally one of the largest in the state, but the legislature carved out portions of Shelby County in successive acts when creating St. Clair, Jefferson, Talladega, and Chilton counties. It was named in honor of Isaac Shelby (1750–1826), a Revolutionary War hero and the first governor of Kentucky.

The original county boundaries encompassed lands acquired from the Creek Indians in the 1814 Treaty of Fort Jackson following their defeat at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend. The initial non-Indian settlers came from Kentucky, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Many of them had served under General Andrew Jackson at Horseshoe Bend and returned with their families after the war in 1815 and 1816, settling in the Cahaba Valley near Shoal Creek. The first towns in the Cahaba Valley were Wilson's Hill (now Montevallo) and Shelbyville (now Pelham). People also began settling the Coosa Valley, particularly in the vicinity of Bigs Springs (now Harpersville) and Wilsonville.

Shelby County's court during the territorial period was located in Shelbyville at the home of William S. Wallace. Following statehood, Shelbyville became the first county seat, and in March 1820 the court approved construction of the county's first courthouse. This structure served as the county courthouse until 1826, when the decision was made to move the county seat and courthouse. Wilson's Hill and Columbia vied for the right to become the new county seat, and although Wilson's Hill was larger, Columbia was more centrally located and was supported by the residents of nearby Harpersville and Wilsonville. When Columbia was chosen as the new county seat, the celebratory explosions of gunpowder could be heard for miles.

In 1832, the Alabama state legislature changed Columbia's name to Columbiana because the town of Columbia in Henry County laid prior claim to the name. An old wood-frame served as the county courthouse until 1854, when it was replaced by a brick structure that today houses the Shelby County Museum and Archives. The present courthouse was constructed in 1906. In June 2006 the centennial celebration of the building included the opening of a time capsule placed in the cornerstone in 1906 by members of the Alabama Masonic Grand Lodge. The town placed a new time capsule in the space, to be opened in 2106.

Shelby County's court during the territorial period was located in Shelbyville at the home of William S. Wallace. Following statehood, Shelbyville became the first county seat, and in March 1820 the court approved construction of the county's first courthouse. This structure served as the county courthouse until 1826, when the decision was made to move the county seat and courthouse. Wilson's Hill and Columbia vied for the right to become the new county seat, and although Wilson's Hill was larger, Columbia was more centrally located and was supported by the residents of nearby Harpersville and Wilsonville. When Columbia was chosen as the new county seat, the celebratory explosions of gunpowder could be heard for miles.

The county has a total area of 810 square miles, of which 785 square miles is land and 25 square miles (3.0%) is water. The population recorded in the 1820 Federal Census was 2,416. The 2010 census recorded 195,085 residents in the county.

Neighboring counties are St. Clair County (northeast), Talladega County (east), Coosa County (southeast), Chilton County (south), Bibb County (southwest), and Jefferson County (northwest).

Communities in the county include Alabaster, Birmingham (mostly in Jefferson County), Calera (partly in Chilton County), Chelsea, Columbiana, Helena (partly in Jefferson County), Hoover (partly in Jefferson County), Leeds (partly in Jefferson and St. Clair Counties), Montevallo, Pelham, Vestavia Hills (partly in Jefferson County), Vincent (partly in St. Clair and Talladega Counties), Harpersville, Indian Springs Village, Westover, Wilsonville, Wilton, Brantleyville, Brook Highland, Dunnavant, Highland Lakes, Meadowbrook, Shelby, Shoal Creek, Sterrett, Vandiver, Acton, Aldrich, Arkwright, Calcis, Cloverdale, Fourmile, Inverness, Maylene, Nelson, Pea Ridge, Saginaw, and Siluria.


 

Shelby County, 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.