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Revised 27 December 2010

ALABAMA

 

Alabama saw its first permanent white settlers in approximately 1699 through 1702. The Spanish explorers De Vervaes and Cabeza de Vaca passed through this area in their exploration trips. The earliest settlers were Spanish and French. Mobile was established in 1702 as the first community.

Many British sympathizers living in Georgia moved into Alabama in 1775 to evade participation in the Revolutionary war. In 1783, other planters from Georgia, Virginia and the Carolinas began migrating to the area. A group of Scotch-Irish moved into the northern part of Alabama from Tennessee in 1809.  They moved into the  Tennessee Valley district.

In the early 1800s, people from the Carolinas and Virginia came into the central part of the territory. The next area to settle was along the Tombigbee and the Black Warrior rivers.

After the war of 1812, Alabama experienced a rapid influx of settlers. Four states gained statehood between 1816 through 1819, the last of which was Alabama.

The territory of Alabama was created from the Territory of Mississippi on 3 March 1817. St. Stephens was the capital of the territory. in November of 1818, the capital was moved to Cahaba.. Alabama became our 22nd state December 14, 1819.  The temporary state capital was, Huntsville, the seat of Madison County,  Alabama officially became a state on 14 December 1819.  You will not find most of the Alabama census for 1820 because all but eight counties of this census were lost. Montgomery became the final capital of the state.  

For information regarding the Indian land Cessions and treaties mentioned below, please refer to the US Genweb project.  They have extensive information on this.  All underlined links will take you off site.  You will need to use your back arrow to return to this site.  Where possible, you will be directed to the website for that county for further information.  For the State of Alabama, I highly recommend you visit the Alabama Department of History and Archives website.  They have extensive information on the county formations and current county governments.

When researching in Alabama, be mindful of the state formation dates and how they were formed. Also check the dates the counties changed their boundaries. If you have people living in the areas where these have changed, you will need to check in all of the appropriate locations to find your records. Records may or may not have moved into the new territory. They may also have been sent directly to one or the other state's archives and not be where you expect to find them. The Alabama Genweb project is an excellent resource for information on this state. I have included a link to their site below.

COUNTY FORMATIONS

Name Date Formed Parent County County Seat
Autauga November 21, 1818 Montgomery Prattville
Blaine December 7, 1800 Discontinued in 1867 and incorporated into Etowah Gadsden
Baker (see Chilton) December 30 1868 Changed to Chilton in 1874 Grantville
Baldwin December 21, 1809 Washington, part of Florida Bay Minette
Barbour December 18, 1832 Creek Cession 1812 Clayton 
Benton (see Calhoun) December 18, 1832 Changed to Calhoun on 29 January 1858 Jacksonville
Bibb (changed from Cahawba 1820) February 7, 1818 Cherokee Cession, Montgomery Centerville
Blount February 6, 1818 Cherokee Cession Oneonta
Bullock December 5, 1866 Barbour, Macon, Montgomery, Pike Union Springs
Butler December 13, 1819 Conecuh, Montgomery Greenville
Cahawba (See Bibb February 7, 1818 Changed to Bibb in 1820 Cahawba
Calhoun (Name changed from Benton 29 Jan 1858) December 18, 1832 Creek Cession of 1832 Anniston
Chambers December 18, 1832 Creek Cession of 1832 Lafayette
Cherokee January 9, 1836 Cherokee Cession 1835 Centre
Chilton (Changed from Baker 1874) December 30, 1868 Autauga, Bibb, Perry, Shelby Clanton 
Choctaw December 29, 1847 Sumter, Washington Butler
Clarke December 10, 1812 Washington Grove Hill
Clay December 7, 1866 Randolph, Talladega Ashland
Cleburne December 6, 1866 Calhoun, Randolph, Talladega Heflin
Coffee December 29, 1841 Dale Elba
Colbert February 6, 1867 Franklin Tuscumbia
Conecuh February 13, 1818 Monroe Evergreen
Coosa December 18, 1832 Creek Cession of 1832 Rockford
Cotaco (see Morgan) February 8, 1818  named for local Indian Chief.  Renamed Morgan County in 1821 Somerville
Covington December 17, 1821 Henry Andalusia
Crenshaw November 30, 1866 Butler, Coffee, Covington, Lowndes, Pike Luverne
Cullman January 24, 1877 Blount, Morgan, Winston Cullman
Dale December 22, 1824 Covington, Henry Ozark
Dallas February 9, 1818 Montgomery Selma
Decatur December 7, 1821 Jackson. Abolished by Legislature of 1823/24 Woodville
DeKalb January 9, 1836 Cherokee Cession of 1835 Fort Payne
Elmore February 15, 1866 Autauga, Coosa, Montgomery, Tallapoosa Wetumpka
Escambia December 10, 6868 Baldwin, Conecuh Brewton
Etowah (changed from Blaine 1868 December 7, 1866 Blount, Calhoun, Cherokee, Dekalb, Marshall, St. Clair Gadsden
Fayette December 20, 1824 Marion, Pickens, Tuscaloosa Fayette
Franklin February 6, 1818 Cherokee & Chickasaw Cession of 1816 Russellville
Geneva December 26, 1868 Dale, Henry, Coffee Geneva
Greene December 13, 1819 Marengo, Tuscaloosa Eutaw
Hale January 30, 1867 Greene, Marengo, Perry, Tuscaloosa Greensboro
Hancock (See Winston) February 12, 1850 Changed to Winston 1858 Double Springs
Henry December 13, 1819 Conecuh Abbeville
Houston February 9, 1893 Dale, Geneva, Henry Dothan
Jackson December 13, 1819 Cherokee Cession of 1816 Scottsboro
Jefferson December 13, 1819 Blount Birmingham
Jones (See Lamar) February 4, 1857 Abolished 3 Nov. 1867.  On 8 Oct 1868, recreated as Sanford County;. in 1877 name changed to Lamar County Vernon
Lamar  February 4, 1867 (Jones Co. formed 4 Feb 1867, abolished 3 Nov. 1867 & returned to parent counties.  Sanford County org. 8 Oct 1868 from original Jones, name changed to Lamar 1877.  Parts of Marion, Fayette, Pickens added Vernon
Lauderdale February 6, 1818 Cherokee & Chickasaw Cession in 1816 Florence
Lawrence February 6, 1818 Cherokee & Chickasaw Cession 1816 Moulton
Lee February 5, 1866 Chambers, Macon, Russell, Tallapoosa Opelika
Limestone February 6, 1818 Cherokee & Chickasaw Cession 1816 Athens
Lowndes January 20, 1830 Butler, Dallas, Montgomery Haynesville
Macon December 1832 Creek Cession of 1832 Tuskegee
Madison December 13, 1808 Cherokee & Chickasaw Cession 1806-7 Huntsville
Marengo February 6, 1818 Choctaw Cession of 1816 Linden
Marion February 13, 1818 Tuscaloosa Hamilton
Marshall January 9, 1836 Blount, Cherokee Cession 1835, Jackson Guntersville
Mobile December 18, 1812 West Florida Mobile
Monroe June 29, 1815 Creek Cession 1814, Washington Monroeville
Montgomery December 6, 1816 Monroe Montgomery
Morgan (name changed from Cotaco 1821) February 8, 1818 Cherokee Turkeytown Cession Decatur
Perry December 13, 1819 Montgomery Marion
Pickens December 20, 1820 Tuscaloosa Carrollton
Pike December 17, 1821 Henry, Montgomery Troy
Randolph December 18, 1832 Creek Cession 1832 Wedowee
Russell December 18, 1832 Creek Cession 1832 Phenix City
Sanford (See Lamar) February 4, 1867 Created out of former Jones County; Name Changed to Lamar in 1877 Vernon
St. Clair November 20, 1818 Shelby Ashville
Shelby February 7, 1818 Montgomery Columbiana
Sumter December 18, 1832 Choctaw Cession of 1839 Livingston
Talladega December 18, 1832 Creek Cession of 1832 Talladega
Tallapoosa December 1832 Creek Cession of 1832 Dadeville
Tuscaloosa February 6, 1818 Cherokee & Choctaw Cession 1816 Tuscaloosa
Walker December 26, 1823 Marion, Tuscaloosa Jasper
Washington June 4, 1800 Mississippi Territory, Baldwin Chatom
Wilcox December 13, 1819 Dallas, Monroe Camden
Winston (Name changed from Hancock 1858) February 12, 1850 Walker Double Springs
For books on Alabama History, visit the THE COUNTRY STORE.  Proceeds from sales of books through this link-over to Amazon.com will help to support this website.

ALABAMA HISTORICAL WEBLINKS

ALGenWeb- Alabama Genealogy on the Internet Alabama History On-Line
Alabama Archaeological Society Alabama Cemetery and Volunteer List
Alabama Center of Military History Alabama Civil War Regimental Histories
Alabama County Historical and Genealogical Societies Alabama Department of Archives and History
Alabama Genealogy and History Alabama Genealogy Resource Center
Alabama Heritage Magazine Alabama Historical Commission
Alabama Historical Quarterly Alabama Obituary Links
Alabama's Historic African American Places Historic Postcards of Alabama
Cemeteries of Alabama Tombstone Transcription Project- Alabama