Alabama Archives, Libraries, and Societies

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This entry was originally written by Robert S. Davis and Mary Bess Paluzzi in Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.

This article is part of
Alabama sil.png
the Alabama Family History Research series.
History of Alabama
Alabama Vital Records
Census Records for Alabama
Background Sources for Alabama
Alabama Maps
Alabama Land Records
Alabama Probate Records
Alabama Court Records
Alabama Tax Records
Alabama Cemetery Records
Alabama Church Records
Alabama Military Records
Alabama Periodicals, Newspapers, and Manuscript Collections
Alabama Archives, Libraries, and Societies
Alabama Immigration
African Americans of Alabama
Native Americans of Alabama
Alabama County Resources
Map of Alabama

Alabama Department of Archives and History (ADAH) 624 Washington St. Montgomery, AL 36130 Military and state census records are housed at this repository in addition to most copies of county materials on microfilm. The library’s reference room provides family histories and papers, the state’s most inclusive collection of Alabama newspapers and books, and a card index to the part of their collection that is cataloged. The website has an excellent group of databases for online researching. Alabama Historical Association C/O Alabama Department of History and Archives (see above) Founded in 1947, the association is composed of both lay and professional historians. Birmingham Public Library 2100 Park Pl. Birmingham, AL 35203 The Tutwiler Collection located here is the South’s most comprehensive genealogical collection for southern research. Included are extensive microfilm holdings of U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs records for Alabama, state and U.S. census records, military service and pension records, Jefferson county newspapers, and Alabama county records. The BPL also has WPA compilations of Alabama source material found nowhere else. Book and map collections are among the largest for southeastern United States. The library also maintains the Birmingham Archives. University of Alabama Libraries William Stanley Hoole Special Collections P.O. Box 870266 Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0266 The special collections include published and unpublished records documenting the history of the state. Of particular importance is the comprehensive manuscript collection, which contains business and personal papers. The map holdings cover the Sanborn insurance maps (see page 5) and copies of many original surveyor’s plat maps and field notes. Mobile Public Library 701 Government St. Mobile, AL 36602 The genealogical department is the starting place for research in the state’s colonial Gulf Coast history. The collection has holdings of Mobile newspapers and the WPA transcripts of pre-statehood land records. (Mobile and nearby Pensacola also have other libraries and archives of interest to the Alabama genealogist.) Samford University Library 800 Lakeshore Dr. Birmingham, AL 35229 In addition to housing the Alabama Baptist Historical Society records, the library’s Special Collections also includes extensive family history vertical files and the Albert E. Casey Collection, one of the largest accumulations of research materials on Ireland in the country. A bibliography of the materials is available from the Samford University Library for $10. The Bledsoe-Kelly Collection, gathered by Maude McLure Kelly, contains abstracted local and state records as well as church, family, and correspondence files. See <>. The Samford University Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research was begun in 1965. The institute is cosponsored by the Samford University Library and History Department and the National Board for Certification of Genealogists. The training format includes courses in beginning and intermediate research as well as advanced research in southern states. In recent years, the program has expanded to include a course for research in the British Isles held at Samford’s London Study Center. See <>. Wallace State College Family and Regional History Program P.O. Box 2000 Hanceville, AL 35077-2000 With an extensive genealogical library with public access, the center offers resources for southern and general family history studies, research courses and field trips. It has one of the nation’s most extensive collections for research on individual Civil War soldiers.

There are numerous other genealogical and historical societies scattered across Alabama. For current information, check ADAH’s website at <>.