The Alabama Department of Archives and History describes these voter registration records as follows:
The Alabama 1867 voter registration records were created as a direct result of a Reconstruction Act passed by the United States Congress on March 23, 1867. The act required the commanding officer in each military district to hold, before September 1, 1867, a registration of all male citizens, 21 years and older, in each county who were also qualified to vote and who had taken the loyalty oath. Each registrant visited the local registration office, took the oath, and was listed in the Voter Registration record.
The volumes are significant genealogical records as this is one of the first statewide government documents that record African-American males living in Alabama.
There are several points that users should understand about the 1867 Voter Registration Records before using the database. 1) Because the local military authorities responsible for registering individuals in 1867 may have interpreted the Act regarding the creation of the records differently, a number of otherwise eligible citizens living in the county may not be reflected in the volumes. 2) Each volume has columns for the following information: Name, Race, County of residence, Precinct, Length of residence (in state, in county, in precinct), Book and page where the individual's Loyalty Oath is recorded, Native country or state, and other remarks. However, not every entry includes each piece of information. 3) Many entries have the first names abbreviated. The common abbreviations used are:
- Chas = Charles
- Geo = George
- Danl = Daniel
- Jas = James
- Jno = John
- Jos = Joseph
- Robt = Robert
- Thos = Thomas
- Wash = Washington
- Wm = William
Several Alabama counties were not yet established at the time of the 1867 voter registration: Chilton, Cullman, Escambia, Geneva, and Houston. There is no voter registration book available for Clarke County.
The books for the following counties were severely damaged from mold: Dallas, Franklin, Lauderdale, Limestone, Lowndes, Monroe, Randolph, and Washington. Some information may be missing due to the extent of the mold damage.