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.
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 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. Copies of the records on microfilm are available for purchase.
Prior to the Native American land being taken over by white settlers, some censuses were taken of Native American tribes.
Alabama veterans of the Confederacy were enumerated in a 1907 census. This census was taken based on those who received Confederate pensions at that time. Records were taken by the county tax assessors. Those census records include: Name, Place of Residence, Birthplace, Birthdate, Enlistment, Discharge, or Parole, Rank, Military Unit
The Alabama Department of Archives and History is home to those original records. 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.
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.
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 counties with surviving records from that census are: Baldwin, Conecuh, Dallas, Franklin, Limestone, St. Clair, Shelby, Wilcox. All of those records are published. They also each have indexes.
Searchable Alabama Census Databases and other Helpful Links