Alabama Periodicals, Newspapers, and Manuscript Collections
This entry was originally written by Robert S. Davis and Mary Bess Paluzzi for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.
Most organizations listed below have websites. For a current list, see Alabama Department of Archives and History at www.archives.state.al.us/referenc/hsglist.html. There are more than thirty-five periodicals published in Alabama by local and state historical and genealogical organizations. The Genealogical Periodical Annual Index and the Periodical Source Index, 1847–1985 (see page 10) survey some of these publications as well as articles on Alabama from periodicals done outside the state.
The following are useful genealogical and historical publications:
- Alabama Family History and Genealogy News (1980-present). Publication of North Central Alabama Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 13, Cullman, AL 35056-0013.
- Alabama Genealogical Register (1959–69).
- Alabama Genealogical Society, Inc. Magazine (1967-present). Publication of the Alabama Genealogical Society, 800 Lakeshore Dr., Birmingham, AL 35229.
- Alabama Historical Quarterly, vols. 1–44 (1930–82). Publication of Alabama Department of Archives and History.
- Alabama Review (1942-present). Publication of Alabama Historical Association.
- Central Alabama Genealogical Society Quarterly (1976-present). Publication of the Central Alabama Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 125, Selma, AL 36701.
- Deep South Genealogical Quarterly (1963-present). Publication of Mobile Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 6224, Mobile, AL 36606.
- Natchez Trace Traveler (1981-present). Publication of the Natchez Trace Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 420, Florence, AL 35631.
- Pea River Trails (1975-present). Publication of the Pea River Historical Society, P.O. 107 Main St., Enterprise, AL 36330.
- Pioneer Trails (1959-present). Publication of the Birmingham Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 2432, Birmingham, AL 35201.
- Settlers of Northeast Alabama (1962-present). Publication of the Northeast Alabama Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 674, Gadsden, AL 35902.
- Tap Roots (1963-present). Publication of the Genealogical Society of East Alabama, P.O. Drawer 1351, Auburn, AL 36831-1351.
- Valley Leaves (1966-present). Publication of the Tennessee Valley Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 1568, Huntsville, AL 35807-0568.
- Wiregrass Roots (1995– ). Publication of Southeast Alabama Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 246, Dothan, AL 36302-0246.
The earliest newspapers in the state were located in the Tombigbee-Mobile area and included the Mobile Sentinel, Fort Stoddert (1811); Mobile Gazette, Mobile (1812); Halcyon, St. Stephens (1815); and Blakeley Sun and Alabama Advertiser, Blakeley (1819). Early newspapers from the Tennessee Valley included the Madison Gazette, Huntsville (1812); Florence Gazette, Florence (1820); and Tuscumbia Advertiser, Tuscumbia (1821). Other pre-statehood papers included the Cahawba Press and Alabama Intelligencer, Cahawba (1819); Alabama Courier, Claiborne (1819); and Tuscaloosa Republican, Tuscaloosa (1819). Books of abstracts from Alabama newspapers compiled and published by Pauline Jones Gandrud, and others by Michael Kelsey, Nancy Graff Floyd, and Ginny Guinn Parsons, are available in print.
Alabama law requires all county newspapers that carry legal notices to be maintained by that county’s probate judge. Few of the county collections are complete.
The Alabama Department of Archives and History has participated in a National Endowment for the Humanities project to preserve old newspapers. A statewide inventory of all repositories was followed by a project to microfilm newspapers of historic significance.
Through the Alabama Newspaper Project, the Alabama Department of Archives and History has microfilmed newspapers from every county in the state. A list of those on microfilm both at the archives and through FHL can be found on its website www.archives.state.al.us/newsmicro/search.cfm. These are available for purchase or through interlibrary loan from the department. A list of other original newspapers, not microfilmed, and a statewide alphabetical collection of funeral notices and anniversary announcement in newspapers 1950 to 1978 is also available.
Several important genealogical manuscript collections concerning Alabama should be considered. The National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections is the first source to check for major collections in Alabama, although many minor collections will not be cited. The Alabama Department of Archives and History is the official repository for records of all state agencies and for the personal papers of many important public figures. Of significance to the genealogist, in the University of Alabama’s William Stanley Hoole Library is the professional correspondence of Pauline Jones Gandrud, a professional genealogical researcher for over forty-five years. Gandrud also compiled 245 volumes of abstracted records from forty Alabama counties. These have been published under the title Alabama Records and are available from Southern Historical Press (1980– ). The Hoole Library also maintains various pre-statehood records for Madison County.