Alabama Births - Why can't I find the record?
This page will give you additional guidance and resources to find birth information for your ancestor. Use this page after first completing the birth section of the Alabama Guided Research page.
Other records to search
Mandatory birth registration started in 1908. Some counties began recording births in 1867, although registration was often incomplete. Births found before 1867 are from delayed birth records filed with the county and are only available for a few counties.
Additional Databases and Online Resources
Additional Records with Birth Information
Substitute records can contain information about more than one event, and are used when records for an event are not available. Because the substitute records may not be created at the time of the event, it may contain incorrect information. Search for as many substitute records as possible to corroborate information found in substitute records to help improve accuracy.
|Use these substitute records to locate birth information about your ancestor:|
|Why to search the records|
|Go back to the Alabama Guided Research page, and click on "Death". Death records may include the deceased individual's birthday or age at death is given, suggesting an approximate birthdate by subtracting the age from the death date.|
|Tombstone inscriptions and records created when a deceased individual was interred in a cemetery.|
|Census records from 1830 onward give ages of the recorded individuals, allowing researchers to calculate birth years.|
|Include baptism records, which occasionally give the individual's birthday. Also includes death and burial records, sometimes giving individual's age at death, allowing researchers to calculate approximate birth years. In order to access these records, researchers need to know the church their ancestor attended.|
|Contain obituaries. Before the 21st century, obituaries were mostly restricted to leading members of a community or for those who died in an unusual manner. While the majority of the population did not have their own obituaries, such records often give the individual's age at death, and sometimes include birth information.|
|Obituaries often include the birth date and place of the deceased.|
|May provide the age and/or birth date of the individuals who served in military positions.|
|May include dates of birth for family members.|
Tips for finding births
Success with finding birth records in online databases depends on a few key points:
- Your ancestor's name may misspelled. Try the following search tactics:
- Try searching for the parents if known. Sometimes a child's first name is not on the birth record.
- Try different spelling variations of the first and last name of your ancestor.
- Try a given name search (leave out the last names)
- Expand the date range of the search.
- Try searching with the state name only instead of by county.
- If your ancestor's name is common, try adding more information to narrow the search.
Why the record may not exist
Known Record Gaps
Collection coverage tables show the places and time periods of original records published. Check the coverage table for the collections you searched which did not include your ancestor. Gaps in the online collection may require searches in other records or original birth records at an archive.
United States Counties With Records Loss shows which counties and when the loss happened. Zoom in to the state and click on a county marked in red to see date details.