Alabama Vital Records

Alabama State Vital Records

Vital Records

The Office of Vital Records is responsible for maintaining all state-level vital records created, administered and maintained by the state of Alabama regarding a person’s most important life events. These records include such documents as birth certificates, marriage licenses, and death certificates and are compiled and stored in a permanent central registry state entities uses to develop statistical analysis of its population.

Birth Records

A birth certificate is a vital record that documents the birth of a child. The term "birth certificate" can refer to either the original document certifying the birth or to a certified copy or representation of the original document. The state of Alabama divides the birth records catalog into three categories: early-1881, 1881-1908, and 1908-present. In the early-1881, no births were recorded by the government; some of them were recorded by the church. Starting in 1881, the State of Alabama required individual counties to register the birth of children. Because most counties were slow to comply, not all births were recorded. In addition, many records from this time period are missing or were destroyed. Birth registers from this time period usually do not list the name of the child. The state of Alabama required the registration of births on a state level beginning in 1908, but most births were recorded in 1927. Birth Certificates are confidential for 125 years following the date of birth, all birth records are kept under the Alabama Department of Public Health.

Death Records

A death record is most likely a copy of the information contained in a person’s death certificate. The state of Alabama organizes death records in the following categories:  early-1881, 1881-1908, and 1908-present. The state did not require recording the death records up till 1908 when the statewide death registration law was enacted.  In 1881 the State of Alabama required individual counties to register deaths. Most counties were slow to comply, so not all deaths were recorded. Starting in January of 1908, Alabama State Law required the registration of all deaths occurring within the state of Alabama. Copies of death certificates were filed with the Alabama Center for Health Statistics.

Marriage/Divorce Records

A marriage/divorce record is issued by a government official only after civil registration of the marriage/divorce occurs. The state of Alabama recognizes three categories of marriage records catalog: 1799 - March 3, 1817, Mississippi Territory, 1818-1957 Alabama Territory/state and 1936-present. In 1799, a law passed in the Mississippi Territory (including present-day Alabama) requiring marriage licenses and bonds to be registered at the Orphans Court in the county of the bride's residence.   Starting in 1888, bonds were only required if the groom was under the age of 21 or the bride was under the age of 18. All the records from this category were and are collected at Probate Court in the county where the license was issued. In August 1936 the state of Alabama started keeping statewide marriage records, so all the records are kept by the Alabama Department of Public Health.

Why Vital Records are Available to the Public?

In 1923, the Alabama State Legislature passed a law named the Alabama Public Records Law. This law was enabled with the last changes in 2004 and aims to ensure disclosure of court records and other public records to the public: Alabama FOIA Laws. Every person throughout the state can request access to access all public records through the assigned specialized offices within its determined terms.

What Does Vital Records Access mean to You?

The Alabama Public Records Law is a series of laws designed to guarantee that the public has access to the records of government bodies at all levels, and people’s conduct in  Alabama. The law can be found at statutes 36.12.40-41 and 41.13.1 - 41.13.44 of the Code of Alabama. The law was first enacted in 1923 and changed in 1983, and then in 2004.


Alabama State Archives

State Archives

Contact: (205) 224-9332

Results Include

Full State Record Report:

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Alabama Marion Perry County Courthouse 1856

Alabama Marion Perry County Courthouse 1856

  • State Archives hold over 470 cubic feet of records.
  • There are 544 judges employed in the State courts.
  • There are 2 levels of Courts: trial and appellate.
  • There are 67 Trial courts in Alabama: one in each county.
  • There are 2 types of Court of Appeal in Alabama: Alabama Court of Civil Appeals and Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals.
  • The highest Court in Alabama is the Alabama Supreme Court.
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