Background Sources for Alabama

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

This article is part of
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


A statewide guide to Alabama research is Robert S. Davis, Tracing Your Alabama Past (Jackson, Miss.: University Press of Mississippi, 2002). Additional excellent guides to local sources include Marcia K. Smith Collier, Alabama County Data and Resources (Titus, Ala.: the author, 1999), and Marilyn Davis Barefield, Researching in Alabama: A Genealogical Guide (Birmingham: Birmingham Public Library, 1998). Ralph N. Brannen’s Alabama Bibliography (Oxford, Ala.: the author, 1996) provides bibliographic sources for Alabama history.

The WPA project, “Index to Alabama Biography: An Index to Biographical Sketches of Individual Alabamians in State, Local, and to Some Extent National Collections” (Birmingham: WPA Project sponsored by the Birmingham Public Library, 1956) can assist the researcher looking for persons in Alabama in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The project indexed over 100 biographical and historical works. Some of the titles included are:

  • DuBose, Joel C. Notable Men of Alabama. 2 vols. Atlanta: Southern Historical Association, 1904.
  • Memorial Record of Alabama. 2 vols. Madison, Wis.: Brant & Fuller, 1893.
  • Moore, Albert Burton. History of Alabama and Her People. 3 vols. Chicago: American Historical Society, 1927.
  • Owen, Thomas McAdory. History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography. 4 vols. Chicago: S. J. Clark, 1921.
  • Saunders, James Edwards. Early Settlers of Alabama. New Orleans: L. Graham & Sons, 1899.

The index is available in the Tutwiler Collection of the Birmingham Public Library (see Alabama Archives, Libraries, and Societies).

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