The Birmingham Public Library has vast online and onsite genealogical collections. Records include church records, naturalization records, obituaries, cemetery and burial records, and more. The have an advanced search for searching all their digital collections.



Birth Marriage and Death records #OnGenealogy

 Alabama Birth, Marriage, & Death Records




Red Mountain Cemetery Record of Interments, 1888-1906 – Red Mountain Cemetery (map), sometimes called Southside Cemetery, was used by the City of Birmingham from 1888 to 1906 as a place to bury the indigent dead. The cemetery contains 4,711 burials and was located south of the city on the site that is now Lane Park and the Birmingham Zoo. The graves were not removed, but decades after the cemetery ceased to be used, the park and zoo were built over the graves.

Shadow Lawn Memorial Gardens Cemetery Interments – This database is a work in progress and does not currently include the name of every person buried at Shadow Lawn Memorial Gardens. When the database is complete, it will include the name and grave location for every person identified in the cemetery’s surviving records.

Oak Hill Memorial Cemetery Interments – In 1871 the City of Birmingham purchased from the Elyton Land Company 21.5 acres of land (map) for a city cemetery (later named Oak Hill). The deed was issued December 29, 1873. As the first city cemetery, Oak Hill became the resting place for virtually all of the Birmingham pioneers. Although the majority of burials at Oak Hill Cemetery date back before the 1930’s, it remains an active cemetery, averaging fifteen burials per year.



Funeral Programs

Funeral Programs – The Funeral Programs Collection is composed of materials donated by Birmingham-area families. These programs are an excellent source for biographical information, family histories, and photographs.




Obituary Index: Birmingham Area Newspapers

Birmingham News (Jul 1920-Dec 2018)

Birmingham Post Herald (May 1938 – Oct 1993)

Birmingham Reporter (Jan 1918 – Oct 1982)

Birmingham Times (Oct 1942 – Feb 1985)

Birmingham World (Sep 1940 – Nov 2002)

Methodist Christian Advocate / Alabama Christian Advocate (Jan 1925 – Dec 1979)

Shelby County Reporter (Jan 1932 – Dec 1979)



Wills & Probate 

Jefferson County Probate Court, Loose Records (1852-1936) – Jefferson County Probate Court, Loose Records is an Index for Boxes 1-637 (Birmingham) and Bessemer – 1916-1936. These records, microfilmed “loose records” and records that were not filmed, can be accessed only through the Probate Records Room in the Jefferson County Courthouse

Deeds, Wills, Administrations of Jefferson County, State of Alabama, Book 1: 1818-1833

Name Index

Slave Name Index

Place Name Index

Deeds, Wills, Administrations of Jefferson County, State of Alabama, Book 2: 1833-1844





Residence records census land migration voting taxation #OnGenealogy

Alabama Residence Records




Street Name Changes in Birmingham (New to Old)

Street Name Changes in Birmingham (Old to New)




Cartography Collection – The Cartography Collection contains regional and historical maps and atlases from the 16th through the 20th centuries. Emphasis of the collection is on the area of the globe occupied by Alabama, with historic maps that retrace the development of the region over centuries and illustrate the evolution of mapmaking. Featured in this online collection are many of the library’s notable and important maps.

Maps – The Maps Project is the temporary location of recently scanned and cataloged maps. These maps will eventually be merged with the Cartography Collection.



Naturalization & Citizenship Records

Naturalization Records, 1887-1911 – This collection consists of over one thousand naturalization records for Jefferson County, Alabama. The name of the citizen as well as the family name is cataloged by subject. All other information is handwritten.







Daily Life Records school work church court government library social life #OnGenealogy

Alabama Daily Life Records


African American

Birmingham Black Barons – one of the most successful baseball teams in the Negro Leagues, played from the 1920’s until the 1950’s. The team played their home games at Rickwood Field. This database is a keyword index to articles that appeared in local newspapers including the Birmingham News, the Birmingham Worldand the Birmingham Reporter. The Government Documents Department of the Birmingham Public Library is compiling this database which is being updated regularly. Database Coverage (as of May 01, 2019) 1827 entries from 1919 to 1962

Scrapbooks – The Scrapbooks Collection is compiled of newspaper clippings covering different historical events in Alabama, Mississippi, and other states in the nation.




Founders of Birmingham, Alabama (short biographies)

WPA Index to Alabama Biography – The “WPA Index to Alabama Biography” was a Works Progress Administration project begun in the 1930’s then abandoned when funding for the WPA was curtailed. Although the index was never completed, over 97 titles such as Who’s Who in America, other biographical dictionaries, and local histories were indexed by the workers. It is an invaluable tool for researching Alabama biographical sources.




Books and Documents – This collection contains books, journals, and documents on the history of Birmingham.

BPL Digitized books hosted at FamilySearch



Church & Synagogue

Alabama Episcopal Church Registers – The Alabama Episcopal Church Registers database lists confirmations, baptisms, marriages and burials for more than 14,000 people in sixteen Alabama parishes for the period of the 1830s to the 1970s. The parishes are:

All Saints (Birmingham, Jefferson County)
Cathedral Church of the Advent (Birmingham, Jefferson County)
Christ Church (Avondale in Birmingham, Jefferson County)
Church of the Good Shepherd (Birmingham, Jefferson County)
Faunsdale Chapel (Faunsdale, Marengo County)
Grace Church (Oakdale in Mobile, Mobile County)
St. Andrew’s (Macon, Hale County)
St. Andrew’s (Oak Grove, Mobile County)
St. James (Perdue Hill, Monroe County)
St. John’s (Elyton in Birmingham, Jefferson County)
St. Luke’s (Cahaba, Dallas County)
St. Luke’s in the Pines (Mobile County)
St. Mark’s (Barnwell, Baldwin County)
St. Mark’s (Oakman, Walker County)
St. Michael’s (Faunsdale, Marengo County)
Trinity (West End in Birmingham, Jefferson County)

Temple Emanu-El Scrapbooks – Temple Emanu-El was established in 1882 as Birmingham’s first synagogue and the congregation constructed a temple on the southwest corner of Fifth Avenue and 17th Street, North in 1889. A new temple was completed on Highland Avenue in 1908. These scrapbooks cover the life of the Temple and its members.




Alabama Coal Mine Fatalities, 1898 – 1938 – The Alabama Coal Mine Fatalities Database consists of 2188 records compiled by the staff of the Government Documents department using available annual reports of Alabama mine inspectors from 1898 through 1938.

Alabama Inventors – inventors who lived in Alabama at the time they received their patents




Sketches of Alabama Towns and Counties, Consolidated IndexCompiled by the Alabama Genealogical Society.

 A History of Birmingham and Its Environs by George M. Cruikshank, 1920. The entire text and indexes for both volume one and volume two are available online.



Libraries, Museums, & Archives

Birmingham Library Board Minutes



Manuscript Collections

Scrapbooks – The Scrapbooks Collection is compiled of newspaper clippings covering different historical events in Alabama, Mississippi, and other states in the nation.

Birmingham Zoo – From 1954 to 2003, Birmingham Zoo employees kept scrapbooks of newspaper articles, brochures, and pamphlets about the zoo. These thirty-three scrapbooks are preserved in the Archives Department. All volumes were digitized in 2015. 

Theophilus Eugene “Bull” Connor Papers, 1959-1963 – The papers, which consist of letters, memoranda, clippings, photographs and reports, are the office files kept by Theophilius Eugene “Bull” Connor during his last five years as Commissioner of Public Safety. The papers from Connor’s earlier years in office have not been found and are assumed destroyed. The filing system and file headings used by Connor’s office have been maintained. In some cases material from different years was filed together. Files indicated as “empty” came to the archives empty.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens Collections – This collection contains three scrapbooks covering the WPA’s gardening efforts in the 1940s. Includes photos of, and newspaper clippings about, the enormous number of parks, gardens, and trails in Alabama. (From the Birmingham Botanical Gardens Library)

Temple Emanu-El Scrapbooks – Temple Emanu-El was established in 1882 as Birmingham’s first synagogue and the congregation constructed a temple on the southwest corner of Fifth Avenue and 17th Street, North in 1889. A new temple was completed on Highland Avenue in 1908. These scrapbooks cover the life of the Temple and its members.



Names & Surnames

Surname Index to Jefferson County, Alabama Naturalization Records, 1887-1991 – There are twelve volumes in this collection that list immigrants to the United States who either applied for naturalization in Birmingham, or were naturalized in Birmingham.

Surname Index to Jefferson County Board of Revenue Minutes 1856-71




Newspapers (1874-1901) – This collection contains the Birmingham Iron AgeThe Weekly Iron Age, The Weekly Age, and the Pratt City Herald newspapers spanning the years 1874-1901.

Birmingham Iron Age, 1874-1885

Weekly Iron Age, 1884-1887

Weekly Age, 1888-1899

Pratt City Herald, 1899-1901

The Avondale Sun 1924-2006The Avondale Sun, a newspaper published by Avondale Mills for its employees, ran from 1924-2006. Over its 82 year history it produced community and employee news, company information, and photographs. A. G. Stephen Felker, chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Avondale Mills, Inc., donated The Avondale Sun newspaper collection to the B.B. Comer Memorial Library in 2006. (From the B.B. Comer Memorial Library Avondale Mills Collection)

Newspaper Clippings – The clipping files, created by librarians and dating from 1930 to the early 1980s, covers various aspects of Birmingham society, culture, politics, and history-making events.



Oral Histories

Oral Histories – This collection includes transcriptions of interviews about Birmingham events and personalities.




Photographs -A collection of photographs of the architecture, businesses, and people of Birmingham. Included in the collection are portraits of prominent historical figures and photographs that document the civil rights movement in the city.

Houses (Board of Equalization Photographs) – This collection contains photographs of Birmingham-area homes from the Board of Equalization files requested by patrons

Birmingham Memory Project – snapshots taken by the public of  Birmingham residents, visitors, and events over a period of many years

Alabama Decorative Arts SurveyThis database contains digitized photographs and survey sheets for 877 objects from the Alabama Decorative Arts Survey. The database will be expanded as funding becomes available.

Temple Emanu-El Scrapbooks – Temple Emanu-El was established in 1882 as Birmingham’s first synagogue and the congregation constructed a temple on the southwest corner of Fifth Avenue and 17th Street, North in 1889. A new temple was completed on Highland Avenue in 1908. These scrapbooks cover the life of the Temple and its members.

Preston Photograph Collection – As a commercial photographer Preston completed more than 27,000 commissions, or “shoots” for a variety of customers, including individuals for portraits or wedding pictures,  businesses opening new locations, and politicians recording campaigns.

O.V. Hunt Photograph Collection – Hunt had his own studio by the early 1920s and also took photographs for the Birmingham Ledger newspaper. Hunt often focused on Birmingham streetscapes in his photographs and documented Birmingham area manufacturing and mining, trains and streetcars and the construction of downtown buildings.




LGBTQ Publications – The LGBTQ collection currently features the queer publications: The Alabama Forge, TAF Press, and Noise Magazine. Other LGBTQ collections available in the Archives Department include papers of local LGBTQ organizations and leaders as well as papers, photographs, and ephemera from a several citizens of Birmingham. Many of these will be digitized in the future, so stay tuned!




School Directories – Birmingham City Schools Directories (1919-1991) and  Jefferson County Schools Directories (1925-1986) Collections include the names of teachers, administrators, board members, staff, schools, school calendars, departments, salaries and school statistics. 




Birmingham Audubon Society – The Birmingham Audubon Society was founded in 1946. Its members are concerned with the conservation of birds, their habitats, and the natural world. They provide opportunities for the community to explore recreational birding, participate in educational programming, and engage in conservation events.




Yearbooks – A collection of yearbooks from local schools.

Banks High School
Berney Points Baptist School 
Berry High School 
Bessemer Academy 
Bessemer High School 
Bible Tabernacle Academy 
Birmingham High School (See also: Central High School and Phillips High School
Birmingham University School 
Bottenfield Middle School 
Briarwood Christian School 
Brooke Hill School 
Carver High School  (Bessemer)
Carver High School (Birmingham)
Cathedral Christian School 
Center Point Elementary School 
Center Street Middle School 
Central High School (See also: Birmingham High School and Phillips High School)
Cherokee Bend Elementary School 
Clay Chalkville High School 
Concord Elementary School 
Corner High School 
Crumly Chapel Elementary 
Edgewood Elementary School 
Ensley High School 
Epic School 
Erwin High School 
Faith High School 
Fairfield High School 
Franklin Academy 
Fultondale High School 
Gardendale Elementary School 
Gardendale High School 
Garywood Christian School
Gilmore-Bell High School 
Glen Iris Baptist School 
Glenn High School 
Grace Christian School 
Greenwood Junior High School 
Gresham Middle School
Hayes High School
Hewitt-Trussville High School
Hewitt-Trussville Junior High School 
Highlands Day School
Holy Family High School 
Homewood Middle School
Hueytown Elementary School
Hueytown High School
Huffman High School
Huffman Middle School
Indian Springs School
Jackson-Olin High School
Jefferson Christian Academy
Jefferson County High School
Jess Lanier High School
John Carroll High School 
Jones Valley High School (Digital images donated by Bob Roper)  
Leeds High School 
Loulie Compton Seminary 
McAdory High School 
Margaret Allen School 
Midfield High School 
Minor High School 
Mortimer Jordan High School
Mountain Brook High School 
Oak Grove High School 
Parker High School 
Parkway Christian Academy
Phillips High School (See also: Birmingham High School and Central High School)
Pinson Valley High School 
Pleasant Grove High School 
Producing Faith Academy
Ramsay High School
Rogers Vocational Center
Shades Valley High School 
Simpson High School
Tarrant High School
University High School
Vestavia Hills High School
Wenonah High School
West Blocton High School
West End High School (WEHS Alumni 1934-1958 Website – Created by Hinda Hewitt with the help of many alumni, this site is now archived at Birmingham Public Library to provide ongoing access to the original material)
Woodlawn High School





Onsite Collections

Genealogical Research – How to Begin

Genealogy Pathfinder

Birmingham Obituary Research Guidelines

Tips for African-American Genealogical Research

Collections of government records, business records, maps, photographs, letters, diaries, scrapbooks, and other primary material documenting the history and development of Birmingham, Jefferson County and the surrounding area of Alabama known as the Birmingham District.

Genealogy Resources
Extensive collections of genealogically relevant material, including the Southern history collection.

Government Documents
Collection of documents and publications issued by federal, state, and local (Jefferson County and Birmingham) governments.

From Birmingham, Alabama and around the country

Cartography Collection
Contains original printed maps from the sixteenth century forward with a primary concentration on Birmingham and Alabama.

Soundex Converter
The Soundex system is a method of indexing names in the 1880, 1900, 1910, and 1920 US Census. Soundex can also aid genealogists by identifying spelling variations for a given surname. This form will return the soundex code for the entered surname, plus other surnames/spellings sharing the same soundex code.

2019 Beyond the Basics of Genealogy Schedule
The Beyond the Basics of Genealogy (BtB) workshops cover various topics of genealogical research and build upon the content covered in our Introduction to Genealogy class. These workshops are offered throughout the year and are taught by the staff of the Southern History Department and guest speakers. Workshops are free of charge, but registration is requested. To register, contact the Southern History Department of the Birmingham Public Library at 205-226-3665 or online through the library’s calendar.

Bibliographies to Help With Genealogical Research

Local Indexes

Family Files

Census on Microfilm

Newspapers on Microfilm



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