Historical Facts of Alabama Counties

Alabama County records differ vastly from county to county in either quality not to mention quantity. Some are already carefully preserved while some have been substantially abused and neglected. Many Wyoming records have merely disappeared. For genealogists carrying out research in Wyoming there is no effective replace to have an on-site search of county court house records. For Definitions of all court terms see the Genealogy Encyclopedia.

The State of Alabama contains 67 counties. Each county is the local level of government within its borders. Alabama Counties were first created under the Mississippi Territory, and after that the Alabama Territory. Washington County was the first county created on June 4, 1800. The last county to be formed was Houston County on February 9, 1903. Jefferson County has the largest population (658,466), and Greene County (9,045) has the lowest, according to the 2010 Census. The Alabama State Government is located in Montgomery.

Alabama Counties

The FHL and the Alabama Department of Archives and History each have microfilmed copies of county records on file. Both the quantity of records and the quality of records can be quite different from one county to the next. Some are fairly complete, and others are missing large chunks of information. Some have also disappeared entirely. The Samford University Library, University of Alabama Library and Alabama Department of Archives and History collections contain a few of those records.

There are local county archives that contain useful information in the following counties: Blount, Cullman, Lawrence, Madison, Morgan, St. Clair.

Many records for Alabama counties have also been lost in fires. Ten counties were hit particularly hard by fire damage. Although, some records still exist.

The county seat circuit court holds county court records. However, not all county court records have been surveyed. Researchers should also note that probate and land records vary greatly from one county to the next. Scattered records are now preserved by the Alabama Department of Archives and History, the University of Alabama Library, and the Samford University Library.

The links in the table below link to county and city government offices and is limited to government-maintained websites. If you know of a Alabama county that has an official government web site but is not linked, or if the link is in error, please contact us so we may edit our database.

County Date
Formed
Parent County County Seat
Autauga Nov. 21, 1818 Montgomery County Prattville
Baldwin Dec. 21, 1809 Washington County and West Florida Bay Minette
Barbour Dec. 18, 1832 former Creek Indian territory and a portion of Pike County Clayton
Bibb Feb. 7, 1818 Monroe and Montgomery Counties  (as Cahawba County) Centreville
Blount Feb. 6, 1818 Montgomery County  and Creek Indian territories Oneonta
Bullock  Dec. 5, 1866 Barbour, Macon, Montgomery and Pike Counties Union Springs
Butler Dec. 13, 1819 parts of Monroe County and Conecuh County Greenville
Calhoun Dec. 18,1832 St. Clair County (as Benton County) Anniston
Chambers Dec. 18, 1832 Montgomery and Shelby Counties LaFayette
Cherokee Jan. 9, 1836 Cherokee Indian territory Centre
Chilton Dec. 30, 1868 Autauga, Bibb, Perry and Shelby Counties Clanton
Choctaw Dec. 29, 1847 Sumter and Washington Counties Butler
Clarke 10 Dec 1812 Mississippi Territory Grove Hill
Clay 7 Dec 1866 Randolph, Talladega Ashland
Cleburne 6 Dec 1866 Calhoun, Randolph, Talladega Heflin
Coffee 29 Dec 1841 Dale Elba & Enterprise
Colbert 6 Feb 1867 Franklin Tuscumbia
Conecuh 13 Feb 1818 Monroe Evergreen
Coosa 18 Dec 1832 Montgomery and Shelby Counties Rockford
Covington 17 Dec 1821 briefly renamed Jones Andalusia
Crenshaw 30 Nov 1866 Butler, Coffee, Covington, Pike, Lowndes Luverne
Cullman 24 Jan 1877 Blount, Morgan, Winston Cullman
Dale 22 Dec 1824 Covington, Henry Ozark
Dallas 9 Aug 1814 Creek Nation Selma
DeKalb 9 Jan 1836 Cherokee Nation Fort Payne
Elmore 15 Feb 1866 Autauga, Coosa, Montgomery, Tallapoosa Wetumpka
Escambia 10 Dec 1868 Baldwin, Conecuh Brewton
Etowah 7 Dec 1866 originally Baine Gadsden
Fayette 20 Dec 1824 Tuscaloosa, Marion Fayette
Franklin 6 Feb 1818 Cherokee & Chickasaw Nations Russellville
Geneva 26 Dec 1868 Dale, Henry, Coffee Geneva
Greene 13 Dec 1819 Marengo, Tuscaloosa Eutaw
Hale 30 Jan 1867 Greene, Marengo, Perry, Tuscaloosa Greensboro
Henry 13 Dec 1819 Conecuh Abbeville
Houston 09 Feb 1903 Dale, Geneva, Henry Dothan
Jackson 13 Dec 1819 Cherokee Nation Scottsboro
Jefferson 13 Dec 1819 Blount Birmingham
Lamar 04 Feb 1867 Marion, Fayette, Pickens Vernon
Lauderdale 06 Feb 1818 Cherokee & Chickasaw Nations Florence
Lawrence 06 Feb 1818 Cherokee & Chickasaw Nations Moulton
Lee 05 Dec 1866 Chambers, Macon, Russell, Tallapoosa Opelika
Limestone 06 Feb 1818 Cherokee & Chickasaw Nations Athens
Lowndes 20 Jan 1830 Butler, Dallas, Montgomery Hayneville
Macon 18 Dec 1832 Creek Nation Tuskegee
Madison 13 Dec 1808 Cherokee & Chickasaw Nations Huntsville
Marengo 06 Feb 1818 Choctaw Nation Linden
Marion 13 Feb 1818 Tuscaloosa Hamilton
Marshall 09 Jan 1836 Blount, Jackson, Cherokee Nation Guntersville
Mobile 01 Aug 1813 West Florida Mobile
Monroe 29 Jun 1815 Creek Nation Washington Monroeville
Montgomery 06 Dec 1816 Monroe Montgomery
Morgan 06 Feb 1818 Cherokee Nation Decatur
Perry 13 Dec 1819 Montgomery Marion
Pickens 19 Dec 1819 Tuscaloosa Carrollton
Pike 07 Dec 1821 Henry, Montgomery Troy
Randolph 18 Dec 1832 Creek Nation Wedowee
Russell 18 Dec 1832 Creek Nation Phenix City
Shelby 20 Nov 1818 Shelby Columbiana
St. Clair 07 Feb 1818 Montgomery Ashville & Pell City
Sumter 18 Dec 1832 Choctaw Nation Livingston
Talladega 18 Dec 1832 Creek Nation Talladega
Tallapoosa 18 Dec 1832 Montgomery and Shelby Counties Dadeville
Tuscaloosa 07 Feb 1818 Cherokee & Choctaw Nations Tuscaloosa
Walker 20 Dec 1824 Marion, Tuscaloosa Jasper
Washington 04 Jun 1800 Mississippi Territory Chatom
Wilcox 13 Dec 1819 Monroe, Dallas Camden
Winston 12 Feb 1850 Walker Double Springs

Interactive Map of Alabama Counties Formation

(Alabama maps made with the use AniMap Plus 3.0 & with the Permission of the Goldbug Company)

Alabama Extinct Counties

Alabama has counties that no longer are in existence. They were organized by the state, provincial, or territorial government. A lot of these counties were established and disbanded within the 19th century; county borders have modified very little since 1900 in the vast most of states. These counties need to be investigated when you are conducting genealogy and family history research. Pay attention where the courthouse records went to if the county was eliminated or joined with some other county. Those counties are:

  • Benton County: (Formed 1832 from former Creek Indian territory and named for Colonel Thomas Hart Benton. Renamed Calhoun County in 1858, honor of John C. Calhoun of South Carolina)
  • Jones County, Alabama: (Formed 1867, renamed Sanford County in 1868, Renamed Lamar County in 1877)
  • Hancock County: (Formed 1850, renamed Winston County in 1858)
  • Sanford County: (Formed in 1867 as Jones County, renamed Sanford County in 1868, renamed Lamar County in 1877)
  • Cahawba County: (Renamed Bibb County in 1820)
  • Baine County (renamed Etowah County in 1868)
  • Baker County (renamed Chilton County in 1874)

Alabama Counties with Burned Courthouses

The harm to Alabama courthouses drastically has a bearing on genealogists in just about every way. Not only are these historic structures torn from our lifetimes, so are the documents they housed: marriage, wills, probate, land records, among others. Once destroyed they are destroyed forever. Even though they have already been put on mircofilm, computers and film burn up too. The most heartbreaking side of this is the reason why virtually all of our courthouses are destroyed from arsonist. However, not all records were damaged or lost. Many Alabama counties have endured a loss of records due to courthouse fires, floods, and theft.

  • Butler Co. Courthouse – Greenville – 1853
  • Calhoun Co. Courthouse – Anniston – 1861, 1895
  • Cherokee Co. Courthouse – Fort Payne – 1882, 1895
  • Chilton Co. Courthouse – Clanton – 1870
  • Choctaw Co. Courthouse – Butler – 1859, 1871
  • Clay Co. Courthouse – Ashland – 1875
  • Coffee Co. Courthouse – Elba – 1851, 1863
  • Conecuh Co. Courthouse – Evergreen – 1868, 1875, 1885, 1895
  • Covington Co. Courthouse – Andalusia – 1895
  • Crenshaw Co. Courthouse – Luverne – 1898
  • Dale Co. Courthouse – Ozark – 1869, 1884
  • Escambia Co. Courthouse – Brewton – 1868
  • Fayette Co. Courthouse – Fayette – 1866
  • Franklin Co. Courthouse – Russellville – 1890
  • Geneva Co. Courthouse – Geneva – 1898
  • Greene Co. Courthouse – Eutaw 1868
  • Jackson Co. Courthouse – Scottsboro – 1864
  • Jefferson Co. Courthouse – Birmingham – 1870
  • Lamar Co. Courthouse – Vernon – 1866
  • Lawrence Co. Courthouse – Moulton – 1859
  • Limestone Co. Courthouse – Athens – 1862
  • Marengo Co. Courthouse – Linden – 1848, 1965
  • Marion Co. Courthouse – Hamilton – 1866
  • Mobile Co. Courthouse – Mobile – 1823, 1840, 1872
  • Morgan Co. Courthouse – Decatur – 1925, 1938
  • Pickens Co. Courthouse – Carrollton – 1876
  • Pike Co. Courthouse – Troy – 1828
  • Randolph Co. Courthouse – Wedowee – 1896
  • Sumter Co. Courthouse – Livingston – 1901
  • Walker Co. Courthouse – Jasper – 1865, 1877, 1896, 1932
  • Winston Co. Courthouse – Double Springs – 1891