Whether you need your birth certificate to enroll in school or obtain a passport, if your parents did not keep your birth
record, you will have to get it yourself. No two states are the same in how they store birth records. Here are the steps
to obtaining a birth record.
You must determine where you were born. Your birth record will often be in the county where you were
Once you determine the county and state, you have to find out which agency in that area keeps the records.
In many states, the Department of Health is responsible for keeping the birth records. In some states births are recorded at local
After you find out who has the birth record, you need to determine the policy for obtaining a copy. Some
larger states will allow you to order a copy of your birth certificate online. If you order a birth record online,
you have to wait for it to be mailed. Most states however, will require you to apply in person. Some states have
extended the requirement to allow immediate family members to pick up the records. Make sure you ask about fees as most
states charge for copies of birth certificates.
You can make the task of searching for birth
records easier. You can eliminate an important step by searching for
birth records online. How does it work?
- Find a reputable online record search company that has
access to birth records.
- Fill out your information. Reputable
companies will keep your information confidential.
Learn about the specific payment plans. In
many cases, if you are just looking for one birth record, it
will cost less than $20. If you need a lot of birth records,
you can sign up for a plan that will give you unlimited
searches for less than $50.
You will not be able to purchase a copy of the
birth record from an online search service, you will be able to find
the birth record faster. An online record search company stores
birth records from across the country in one place. You won’t have
to call agency after agency in different parts of your state or in
different parts of the country. By the time you get ready to request
the birth record of make the drive to health department, you will
know that the record is in that county.
The Following genealogical information is available directly from Alabama agencies:
Alabama vital records include birth, death, marriage and divorce records. Alabama law did not require the recording of birth or
death certificates until 1908. The statewide recording of marriage certificates began in 1936 and divorce certificates in 1950.
The Alabama Department of Archives and History has indexes to those records, but original certificates must be obtained from the
Alabama Center for Health Statistics.
Alabama Department of Public Health
The RSA Tower
201 Monroe Street
Montgomery, Alabama 36104
Prior to 1908 some vital records were recorded at the county level. Generally this practice began around 1880. Most birth records
list sex, race, place and date of birth of individual but no name. The names of parents and physician/midwife attending are
also sometimes listed. Most death records list name of individual, and place of death, age at death and attending physician.
Some include place of burial and cause of death. Most marriage records include names of husband and wife, presiding official
at marriage, and signatures of two people who posted the marriage bond. Most divorce records list only date of divorce and names of
the parties and officials involved. Not all records are complete. Each county had vital events which went unrecorded or records
which were lost or damaged. Many courthouses have burned and the records they contained may be limited. Some counties separated
vital records by race, with records for whites and African-Americans recorded in separate books. The original designations recorded
on the volumes (White, Black, Colored) have been maintained on the records listed.