Welcome to the Jefferson County Alabama Genealogy & History Network website providing free information to genealogical and historical researchers.
To share your Jefferson County, Alabama genealogy or history information, send an email to email@example.com - we will be pleased to include it here. If you have information to share for other Alabama Counties, visit the Alabama Genealogy & History Network state website and choose the appropriate county.
Jefferson County was created by the Alabama legislature on December 13, 1819, and by 1820 its boundaries were fixed at their current locations. The area now encompassed in Jefferson County was originally part of Monroe County in the Mississippi Territory on land acquired from the Creek Indians in the 1814 Treaty of Fort Jackson. It was then named Blount County in 1816 before the land that became Jefferson County was carved out. The county was named in honor of U.S. President Thomas Jefferson. The first settlers were largely of English descent from the Carolinas, Tennessee, and Georgia.
Carrollsville served as the first county seat of Jefferson County from 1819 to 1821. The courthouse in Carrollsville was a simple log structure that is no longer in existence. In 1821, the county seat moved to Elyton, where it remained until 1873, when the county seat moved to its present location in Birmingham. The first courthouse in Birmingham was a two-story brick structure, followed by a three-story brick courthouse built in the late 1880s. The three-story structure was in use until 1931, when a new granite and limestone courthouse was built. In 1964, the county added an annex to the north side. Sculptured reliefs on the western face of the courthouse depict the history of Jefferson County. In 1920, Jefferson County created the Bessemer Division and built a courthouse in the town. The Bessemer courthouse underwent several enlargements and improvements throughout the twentieth century.
Until well into the twentieth century, farming was the prevailing occupation in Jefferson County. Cotton was the major agricultural product until the early twentieth century, when farmers diversified into corn, wheat, peanuts, soybeans, and vegetables. Early settlers also took advantage of the area's abundant mineral deposits, especially iron ore and coal. Iron production increased throughout the nineteenth century, and Jefferson County became a major supplier of coal to the Confederate Army in the Civil War.
By 1865, the county had become one of the South's major suppliers of iron and steel, with the state of Alabama delivering more iron to the Confederacy than the rest of the southern states combined. Following the war, the county spent a great deal of time and money to improve Jefferson County's transportation system, particularly its rail lines, resulting in the continuing importance of the iron and steel industries up until the present day. Textile mills also benefited from improved transportation and remained an important component of the county's economy well into the twentieth century. By the mid-twentieth century, Jefferson County also benefited from a rise in the health-care industry and became the state leader by the turn of the twenty-first century.
Between 2006 and 2009, six former members of the Jefferson County Commission were convicted of a variety of corruption charges, including bribery, conspiracy, mail fraud, and money-laundering; one of them, Larry Langford, was sitting mayor of Birmingham at the time of his conviction. In November 2011, the county declared bankruptcy; it was the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history at approximately $3.1 billion.
Neighboring counties are Tuscaloosa County (west), Bibb County (southwest), Shelby County (south), Walker County (north), Blount County (north), and St. Clair County (northeast).
Communities in the county include Adamsville, Bessemer, Birmingham (partly in Shelby County), Brighton, Center Point, Clay, Fairfield, Fultondale, Gardendale, Graysville, Helena (partly in Shelby County), Homewood, Hoover (partly in Shelby County), Hueytown, Irondale, Kimberly, Leeds (partly in Shelby and St. Clair Counties), Lipscomb, Midfield, Mountain Brook, Pinson, Pleasant Grove, Sumiton (partly in Walker County), Tarrant, Trussville (partly in St. Clair County), Vestavia Hills (partly in Shelby County), Warrior (partly in Blount County), Argo (partly in St. Clair County), Brookside, Cardiff, County Line (partly in Blount County), Maytown, Morris, Mulga, North Johns, Sylvan Springs, Trafford, West Jefferson, Coalburg, Corner, Dolomite, Hopewell, McCalla, Shannon, Watson, Concord, Edgewater, Forestdale, Grayson Valley, McDonald Chapel, Minor, Mount Olive, and Rock Creek.
Alabama Genealogy & History Network has much information on our county websites - cemetery listings, community data, etc. Please visit the county or counties of interest to you.
Birth Records - The Alabama Department of Public Health maintains records of births from 1908 to present. This was the year Alabama began keeping official birth records. You can obtain official copies of birth certificates by visiting the birth record page on their website and following the instructions. Since there are no official birth records before 1908 for births prior to that date you will need to determine birth information from census records, bible records, baptismal records, cemetery tombstones, etc.
Death Records - The Alabama Department of Public Health maintains death records after 1908 on file. This was the year Alabama began keeping official death records. You can obtain official copies of death certificates by visiting the death record page on their website and following the instructions. Since there are no official death records before 1908 for deaths prior to that date you will need to determine death information from census records, bible records, funeral home records, cemetery tombstones, etc.
Marriage Records - The Alabama Department of Public Health can provide you with information for marriages that took place from 1936 to present by by visiting the marriage record page on their website and following the instructions.
All existing county marriage records for any date not listed above (and for the dates listed above for that matter) may be obtained from the county's Probate Office in which the marriage was held.
Divorce Records - The Alabama Department of Public Health maintains divorce records from 1950 to present. You can obtain official copies of devorce records by visiting the divorce record page on their website and following the instructions. Records for divorces occuring before 1950 may be obtained from the Circuit Clerk in the county where the divorce took place.
Jefferson County is located in central Alabama.
A list of Jefferson County communities & places. Some of these have additional history information.
A list of Jefferson County, Alabama Churches with photos and additional information for many.
For a list of Jefferson County, Alabama Cemeteries, tombstone photos and more.
A list of Jefferson County, Alabama Schools. Some of these have photos and additional information.