Welcome to the Winston County Alabama Genealogy & History Network website providing free information to genealogical and historical researchers.
To share your Winston County, Alabama genealogy or history information, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org - 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.
Winston County was created by the Alabama General Assembly on February 12, 1850, from land taken from the northern portion of Walker County. The county was originally known as Hancock County, named for John Hancock, governor of Massachusetts and famous signer of the Declaration of Independence. In 1858, the county's name was changed to Winston County in honor of John A. Winston (1812-1871), the first governor of Alabama to be born in the state.
In 1877, the eastern portion of Winston County was carved out to create Cullman County. The earliest settlers came to Winston County from Tennessee, the Carolinas, Georgia, and Virginia. Some of the first towns included Houston (now known as Lynn), Addison, Double Springs, and Haleyville.
Winston County gained notoriety during the Civil War because the residents of the county did not want to join the Confederacy. The county had no large plantations and virtually no enslaved labor. During the war, the county suffered a number of raids by Confederate soldiers, who considered the residents of Winston to be traitors to the Southern cause. Leaders of Winston County met at Looney's Tavern in Double Springs, where they attempted to declare the independent Republic of Winston and made plans to secede from the Confederacy. Though the secession never occurred, Winston County continues to be referred to as the "Free State of Winston."
Houston served as the first county seat, although little is known about the courthouse(s) there. In 1883, the county seat was moved to the more centrally located Double Springs. The first wooden courthouse burned in 1891. The main section of the present stone courthouse was completed shortly thereafter in 1894. Several additions have since been made to the courthouse, which remains in service to the residents of Winston County.
Like much of Alabama, farming was the prevailing occupation of Winston County until the early twentieth century. Although Winston County did not have large plantations, small subsistence farming occurred throughout the county. Row crops and cotton farming were eventually replaced by cattle farms and chicken production.
By the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, small factories tied to local timbering were established. Centered around the industrial Corridor X, Winston County's economy continues to focus on the timber industry, producing mobile homes, lumber, and wooden furniture.
The county has a total area of 631 square miles, of which 613 square miles is land and 18 square miles (3.0%) is water. The population recorded in the 1850 Federal Census was 1,542. The 2010 census recorded 24,484 residents in the county. Neigboring counties include Lawrence County (north), Cullman County (east), Walker County (south), Marion County (west), and Franklin County (northwest).
Communities in the county include Haleyville (partly in Marion County), Addison, Arley, Double Springs, Lynn, Natural Bridge, Nauvoo (partly in Walker County), Boar Tush, Delmar, Glen Mary, Houston, Posey Field, Batts Nest, Booger Tree, and Corinth.
Alabama Genealogy & History Network has many records on our county websites - marriage records, cemetery listings, 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 - We have thousands of county marriage records on our county websites. These dates will assist you greatly in obtaining a copy of the original marriage license. 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.
Winston County is located in the Northeastern portion of Alabama.
A list of Winston County communities & places. Some of these have additional history information.
For a list of Winston County, Alabama Cemeteries, tombstone photos and more.
A list of Winston County, Alabama Churches with photos and additional information for many.