Free Alabama Digital Archives for Genealogy
are featured in Sassy Jane Genealogy‘s States on Sunday series,
providing links to free digital resources for each of the fifty states.

Alabama Department of Archives and History Digital Archives

The ADAH Digital Collections include photographs, documents, audio, and video material digitized from the vast holdings of the Alabama Department of Archives and History. ADAH staff add more images to the Digital Collections each month, including  photographs, manuscripts, and government records from the collections of the state archives.

Free Alabama Digital Archives

German prisoners outside the barracks at the POW camp in Aliceville, Alabama. (Courtesy ADAH)

Among their many digitized collections, these are of interest to genealogists with Alabama ancestors:

Alabama Photographs and Pictures Collection

“This digital collection contains over 15,000 images from the Alabama Department of Archives and History holdings. It includes a wide range of photographs, prints, and drawings from the early nineteenth century to the present day covering many topics and individuals from all walks of life. Additions are made each month.”

Alabama Textual Materials Collection

“This collection contains a selection of textual materials such as letters, diaries, minutes, fliers, clippings, and excerpts from books. State publications, the Alabama Historical Quarterly, theAlabama Official and Statistical Register, and the History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography are in separate collections.”

Alabama Civil War Newspapers

“ADAH has begun a project to make all of its newspapers from that era available online. These issues have been digitized from microfilm. The quality varies greatly, depending on the condition of the original paper and the film; therefore, some portions of the text may be illegible or difficult to read.” Searchable by county or date.

Alabama Civil War Service Database

[ADAH] staff came across information related to Alabama individuals during the American Civil War, a card was created. Information on individuals exempted from military service, or who served in the militia or home guard, is included. Soldiers from other states that have some connection to Alabama are also included. If new information was discovered from another source, another card was created. Multiple cards for an individual often exist. Sources include muster rolls, governors’ correspondence, veterans’ censuses, manuscript collections, newspapers, and pension records. Names, places and events are often inconsistently spelled. This card file is in no way inclusive. Not every individual who served from Alabama is present in the card file. Every card contains empty fields. Because much of the documentation relating to the Army of Tennessee was lost, soldiers that served in that army tend to be poorly documented.”

History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography

“The History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography, written by Thomas McAdory Owen, was published in 1921…. Dr. Owen had begun gathering materials … in the late 1890s…and worked on the [four-volume]  until his death in March of 1920. Dr. Owen’s wide circle of contacts in the history, library, and manuscript communities helped him to write a comprehensive history of the state and gather biographical information on many Alabamians who helped shape and mold the state.”


Free Alabama Digital Archives

African Americans dressed for church, standing in front of a cabin in Selma, Alabama. (Courtesy Alabama Digital Archives)

AlabamaMosaic is a repository of digital materials on Alabama’s history, culture, places, and people. Its purpose is to make unique historical treasures from Alabama’s archives, libraries, museums, and other repositories electronically accessible to Alabama residents and to students, researchers, and the general public in other states and countries.” Administered by the Network of Alabama Academic Libraries; partners include state agencies as well as public and academic libraries, and other cultural institutions throughout the state.