AL Department of Health  •  How to Order AL Records •  AL Vital Statistics Resources

The registration of Birth & Death Certificates in Alabama on the county level began in 1881; however, state-level registration of deaths in Alabama did not begin until January 1, 1908.

Alabama required births and deaths to be filed starting in 1917. Records prior to 1940 are incomplete.

Some probate court records do include information on deaths and births that took place in Alabama before 1881.

That information could be included in documents like wills, guardianship papers, apprenticeship papers, and related documents. However, those death and birth records are not complete and may be few and far between.

Alabama has Marriage Licenses from 1799. See County Clerk of Courts Office in the county where the license was filed. The county health department should have records on file for marriages after 1936. The Alabama Center for Health Statistics also has copies of those records.

Alabama has Divorce Records from 1819. See Circuit Court’s Office in the county where the suit was filed and/or the divorce was granted. The county health department should have records on file for divorces after 1950.

Local Family History Centers and the Salt Lake City Family History Library (FHL) have copies of these records available to researchers.

Birth Certificates / Death Certificates

Records Available

An act of 1881 provided that all births and deaths were to be registered with a county health officer.

Later legislation required that these registrations be made within the first five days after the birth or death and required that the county health officer’s registry books be deposited with the county probate judge.

Such records, when they survive at all, are found today in the individual county probate courts. The date for the beginning of mandatory state-level registration of births and deaths in Alabama is 1 January 1908.

The Alabama Department of Public Health now has all original death and birth records on file. However, they generally take 6 to 8 weeks to respond to requests for information. Alabama Vital Statistics may be contacted for certified death or birth certificate copies.

How to get a Birth Certificate in Alabama?

The Alabama Department of Public Health now has all original death and birth records on file.

Ancestry.com has a few collections of birth and death records available including:

Marriage Licenses

A marriage license has been required since the territorial period in 1799. Marriage licenses were issued by the clerk of the county Orphans’ Courts in which the bride resided. After 1850 the orphans’ court was superseded by the probate court, which is still charged with the issuance of marriage licenses.

In order to get married, a man had to be at least seventeen years of age and a woman had to be at least fourteen years of age. If the woman was under 18 and the man was under 21, parental consent (or guardian consent) was required.

After the marriage license was issues, the couple’s marriage could be officiated by a justice of the peace, county judge, ordained minister, state judge, or territorial judge, depending on the situation and the time period.

The official who officiated over the marriage ceremony then had to file the certificate of marriage with the county probate judge in the county where the couple was married.

The officiant, bondsman, bride, and groom were listed on marriage certificates that were issued prior to 1888. The marriage date and the license bond were also listed on the certificate.

Records from 1910 and onward may contain additional information, such as physical descriptions of the bride and groom, their ages, their occupations, and the names of their parents. Certificates may also list blood relationship between them, if there was one, as well as the number of times they were each married before, if any.

The county probate judge’s office in the county where the marriage certificate was originally recorded can provide a certified copy of that certificate. However, it may take 6 to 8 weeks for the office to reply to a request and the person making the request will have to pay a fee for the copy.

Ancestry.com has a few collections of marriage records available including:

Divorce Records

Up until 1865, the county chancery tried divorce cases. However, all divorce decrees had to be finalized by the state legislature. Therefore, those early divorce decrees are listed in the legislative records. They are contained in the Senate and House Journals publication.

The power to finalize divorce decrees was given to the county chancery court in 1865. Then, in 1917, the chancery court became part of the county circuit court system. Therefore the county circuit court equity records in the county where the divorce was filed should contain that divorce record, if the divorce occurred after 1819.

Some county clerks also maintained separate divorce records, but it was not a legal requirement for them to do so. Researchers may inquire at the county circuit court clerk’s office for copies of divorce certificates. However, there is usually a wait time of 6 to 8 weeks and a fee associated with such requests.

Ancestry.com has an index to approximately 105,000 divorces that were filed in Alabama from 1950-1959. Subscribers can access this database at Alabama Divorce Index, 1950-1959.

Alabama Department of Public Health Records

Alabama Department of Public Health issues, documents, and stores certified copies of vital Statistics including Birth Certificates, Marriage Licences, Divorce Decrees and Death Certificates for occurrences that took place in Alabama.

Some county court houses may have kept some records, but the best source is the Vital County Records on Microfilm at Alabama Department of Archives and History

To verify current fees or for information on how to expedite a document, call (334) 206-5418. The fee for a any Certificate is $15, which includes one certified copy or Certificate of Failure to Find.  Any additional copies are $6 each if ordered at the same time.

  • Ordering Alabama Birth Certificates and Death Certificates: The Department of Public Health office has Birth and Death Certificates from January 1908 to present.  Birth certificates less than 125 years old and Death certificates less than 25 years old are restricted records.
  • Ordering Alabama Marriage License: The Department of Public Health office has marriage records from August 1936 to present. For marriages Certificates prior to August 1936, contact the Probate Clerk in county where license was issued. The fee for the copy varies.
  • Ordering Alabama Divorce Decrees: The Department of Public Health office has divorce Certificates from January 1950 to present.  For divorce records prior to 1950, contact Clerk of Circuit Court in county where divorce was granted.

How to Order Alabama Vital Statistics

  • Physical Address: Alabama Department of Public Health, The RSA Tower, 201 Monroe Street, Montgomery, Alabama 36104.
  • Mailing Address: Alabama Center for Health Statistics, Alabama Department of Public Health, P.O. Box 5625, Montgomery, AL 36103-5625. All mail orders should include a Personal check or money order made payable to State Board of Health.
  • Website Address: http://adph.org/vitalrecords
  • Ordering Vital Statistics Online – get the certificates within 2-5 days with a credit or debit card from USAVital or Social Security Death Index
  • Ordering Vital Statistics by Mail: You can download an application online for Alabama Birth, Marriage, Divorce or Death Certificates. Allow 4-6 weeks for delivery.
  • In Person:  You may go to any county health department in the State of Alabama to obtain a certified copy of an Alabama birth, death, marriage and divorce certificate. Most certificates can be issued while you wait.

Alabama Vital Statistics Online

You may find the following resources helpful in your research of  Alabama Birth, marriage or death certificates data and records.

U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 currently contains over 94 million records. The database is created from Social Security Administration records of deceased persons possessing social security numbers and whose deaths were reported to the Social Security Administration.

Ancestry.com has a few collections of marriage records available including:

  • Alabama Marriage Records, 1800-1969 database is a collection of Alabama marriage indexes covering various years and counties. It is comprised of indexes created by several agencies – the Alabama Center for Health Statistics, Jordan Dodd of Liahona Research, and Hunting For Bears.
  • Alabama Marriage Records to 1825 database has marriages to 1825 and contains over 12,000 names. Each entry includes groom, bride, marriage date, county, and state. Every name is indexed so you can search for one name, or two names that are linked.
  • Alabama Death Records, 1908-59 database is an index of deaths recorded by the state of Alabama from 1908 to 1959. The index includes name of the deceased, county of death, date of death, and the state certificate number (volume and page).

FamilySearch.org has a few collections available online for free to the public (Due to privacy laws, recent records may not be displayed) including:

  • Alabama, Birth Records and Christenings, 1881-1930: Name index to birth, baptism and christening records from the state of Alabama. Microfilm copies of these records are available at the Family History Library and FamilySearch Centers. The year range represents most of the records. A few records may be earlier or later.
  • Alabama, County Marriage Records, 1809-1950: The browse records are grouped by film number/digital film number (DGS). Each film is arranged by county, volume and date. Digital images and indexes will be added as they become available.
  • Alabama, Death Records and Burials, 1881-1952: Name index to death and burial records from the state of Alabama. Microfilm copies of these records are available at the Family History Library and Family History Centers. This set contains 110,202 records. The year range represents most of the records. A few records may be earlier or later.
  • Alabama, Death Records, 1908-1974: Name index to death certificates from the state of Alabama, 1908-1974
  • Alabama, Marriages, 1816-1957: Name index to marriage records from the state of Alabama. The year range represents most of the records. A few records may be earlier or later.