Welcome to the Lauderdale County Alabama Genealogy & History Network website providing free information to genealogical and historical researchers.
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Lauderdale County's earliest known inhabitants were pre-historic Native Americans who left behind great earthen mounds along the Tennessee River, although many were subsequently covered by water when dams were built during the early twentieth century. One of the largest and most well known mounds is the Florence Indian Mound located in Lauderdale County.
The county was one of eight created on February 6, 1818, by the legislature of the Territory of Alabama from former Cherokee and Chickasaw Indian lands ceded to the United States in the Treaty of 1816. The county was named for Tennessean Lt. Colonel James Lauderdale, who died December 23, 1814, from wounds he received in the Battle of Talladega. The earliest settlers came from Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, the Carolinas, and Virginia.
Florence was the first county seat of Lauderdale County and remains so today. The initial court sessions were held in the home of William S. Fulton, the county's first judge, until the first courthouse was completed in 1822. The building, a two-story structure, had a wide portico with 10 columns and a tall steeple with a cupola containing a clock. It was demolished in 1899 and replaced with a more modern structure. According to local recollection, the second, red brick courthouse rested on the same foundation as the first, and the columns from the first courthouse were also reused on the second structure. This courthouse was in use until 1965, when the present-day courthouse was built one block from the previous one.
The earliest settlers of Lauderdale County found the level, fertile land good for farming, and agriculture was the prevailing industry until well into the twentieth century. Early farmers grew corn, wheat, and oats and raised cattle and hogs. By 1820, however, cotton had taken over as the major cash crop, and cotton plantations sprang up throughout the county. Textile mills and other cotton-related industries soon followed. Iron mining and manufacturing became established as well.
Industrialization, especially the iron industry, was given a significant boost in the late nineteenth century with the completion of a series of locks and dams along the Tennessee River. In the 1930s, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) constructed a series of dams on the Tennessee, providing Lauderdale and other counties with abundant hydroelectric power. Today, the principal industries in Lauderdale County center on the production of primary and fabricated metals as well as chemical and rubber products. The commercial and economic center of Lauderdale County is located in the metropolitan area in northwest Alabama known as "The Shoals."
The county has a total area of 721 square miles, of which 668 square miles is land and 53 square mile (7.4%) is water. The population recorded in the 1820 Federal Census was 4,963. The 2010 census recorded 92,709 residents in the county.
Neighboring counties are Lawrence County, Tennessee (north), Wayne County, Tennessee (north), Giles County, Tennessee (northeast), Limestone County (east), Lawrence County (southeast), Colbert County (south), Tishomingo County, Mississippi (west), and Hardin County, Tennessee (northwest).
Communities in the county include Florence, Anderson, Killen, Lexington, Rogersville, St. Florian, Waterloo, Underwood, Petersville, Center Star, Cloverdale, Elgin, Green Hill, Oakland, Rhodesville, Smithsonia, Stewartville, Threet, Wright, and Zip City.
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.
Lauderdale County is located in the extreme Northeast corner of Alabama.
A list of Lauderdale County communities & places. Some of these have additional history information.
For a list of Lauderdale County, Alabama Cemeteries, tombstone photos and more.
A list of Lauderdale County, Alabama Churches with photos and additional information for many.