Unfortunately, not many of Alabama’s census records from its early days have survived to the present day, unlike many other states that are its approximate age.
Prior to the Native American land being taken over by white settlers, some censuses were taken of Native American tribes.
There were sporadic state censuses taken in Alabama. A lot of those records are still extant, but are not necessarily complete. For example, the 1850 census records still exist, as do the 1855 records and their index.
The 1890 census records for Alabama were all but destroyed. Only parts of Perry County’s records exist. Those records are Severe (Beat No. 8) and Perryville (Beat No. 11).
Alabama State and Territorial Census
In 1820, a state census was taken for Alabama. However, only records from that census for 8 counties have survived.
The 1850 Alabama state census includes Autauga, Baldwin, Barbour, Benton, Blount, Butler, Chambers, Cherokee, Choctaw, Clarke, Coffee, Conecuh, Coosa, Covington, Dale, Dallas, De Kalb, Franklin, Greene, Henry, Jefferson, Lawrence, Macon, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Mobile, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Perry, Pike, Randolph, Sumter, Tuscaloosa, Washington, and Wilcox counties
The 1855 Alabama state census includes Autauga, Baldwin, Blount, Coffee, Franklin, Henry, Lowndes, Macon, Mobile, Montgomery, Pickens, Tallapoosa, Tuscaloosa counties
The 1866 census records are also still extant today. The 1850 and 1855 records don’t include much information. They simply list the demographic enumeration and the name of the head of household.
However, the 1866 records are more detailed, also including household members who went missing or were killed during Civil War conflicts. The Alabama Department of Archives and History holds those original records.
The 1866 Alabama state census includes Autauga, Baldwin, Barbour, Bibb, Blount, Butler, Calhoun, Chambers, Cherokee, Choctaw, Clarke, Coffee, Conecuh, Coosa, Covington, Dale, Dallas, De Kalb, Fayette, Franklin, Greene, Henry, Jackson, Jefferson, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Limestone, Lowndes, Macon, Marengo, Marion, Marshall, Mobile, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Perry, Pickens, Pike, Randolph, Russell, Shelby, St Clair, Sumter, Talladega, Tallapoosa, Tuscaloosa, Walker, Washington, Wilcox and Winston counties.
Alabama Census of Confederate Soldiers
The Alabama, Census of Confederate Soldiersin 1907 and 1921 are censuses of Confederate Soldiers residing in Alabama in the early 1900s. Both were carried out more for pension purposes than for numbering purposes, but the census counted any Confederate veterans residing in Alabama, not just those who served for a regiment or company from Alabama.
1907 Confederate Census
Alabama veterans of the Confederacy were enumerated in a 1907 census. This established a record of Confederate soldiers who resided in Alabama, whether they had served for Alabama or some other state. It didn’t matter if they had served in the Army, Navy or any other organizations from other states.
This census was taken based on those who received Confederate pensions at that time. Records were taken by the county tax assessors.
The census was arranged by county because it was taken by the individual county’s tax assessors and then alphabetically by name. Two copies were made at the same time. One was sent to the Department of Archives and History, the other was kept by the county.
Confederate pensioners were also listed in Alabama Genealogical Society, Inc. Magazine between 1958 and 1982. Those publications listed information regarding Confederate veterans in multiple Alabama counties.
Those 1907 Alabama Census of Confederate Soldiers records include:
Place of residence
Termination of service
Brief mention of conscript, staff or ordinance officer, home guard, escort or reserve company
1921 Confederate Census
In 1921, another Confederate pensioners census was taken. It was done via the postal service. Each of the pensioners was requested to fill out and return the included form.
The Alabama Department of Archives and History has those original forms on file, but microfilmed copies are also available from other sources. The 1927 widows of pensioners census records are also widely available.
Searchable Alabama Census Databases and other Helpful Links
Alabama State Census, 1820-1866 is a free database index that contains state censuses from Alabama for the years 1820, 1850, 1855, and 1866. Each of these censuses recorded the names of the head of households and the number of other household inhabitants according to gender and age categories. Some years also included race categories and distinguished between individuals who were free and slave.
1860 Federal Slave Schedule Guide database details those persons enumerated in the Slave Schedule of the 1860 United States Federal Census, the Eighth Census of the United States. In addition, the names of those listed on the slave schedule are linked to the actual images of the 1860 Federal Census, copied from the National Archives and Records Administration.