Birmingham Public Library
2100 Park Place
Birmingham, Alabama 35203
http://www.bplonline.org
Southern History
FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions
  1. Can you research my family history for me?
  2. What are your hours?
  3. Can books and other materials from the Southern History Department be checked out?
  4. Where can I obtain copies of Alabama birth, death, and marriage records?
  5. What are your U.S. Census holdings?
  6. Do you have copies of ships passenger lists?
  7. Is it possible to research an ancestor's U.S. military service in the Southern History Department?
  8. Do you have city directories?
  9. Can you search for obituaries which may have appeared in Birmingham newspapers?
  10. Are any materials from the Southern History Department available online?
  11. Can copies be made from Southern History's books, periodicals, and microfilm?
  12. For patrons who cannot visit the Library, can you provide the names of independent researchers?
  13. Do you have photographs of Birmingham, AL?
  14. What history or genealogy databases are available at the Library?
  15. Why are your call numbers different from the ones used in the rest of the library?
Can you research my family history for me?

The staff of the Southern History Department cannot undertake genealogical research for patrons. We will be happy to suggest sources and research strategies. If you are unable to visit the Library and need research performed for you, please see our list of independent researchers.

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What are your hours?

The Southern History Department is open on Monday and Tuesday from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.; Wednesday thru Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.; and Sunday from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. A complete list of the Library's hours and locations is available.

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Can books and other materials from the Southern History Department be checked out?

All of the materials in the Southern History Department are for reference use only and must be used in the Library. They cannot be checked out or loaned via inter-library loan.

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Where can I obtain copies of Alabama birth, death, and marriage records?

The Southern History Department has the following indexes to Alabama vital records:

Copies of Alabama vital records can be obtained from any county health department in Alabama or from the Alabama Department of Public Health.

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What are your U.S. Census holdings?

The Southern History Department has microfilm copies of the U.S. Census of Population schedules, 1790-1930 for selected states. Our holdings vary according to census year but are complete for Alabama. We also have a subscription to the library edition of ancestry.com which includes access to digitized images of the Census, with linked name indexes. Access to ancestry.com is freely available to patrons who visit any location of the Birmingham Public Library.

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Do you have copies of ships passenger lists?

The Southern History Department has copies of passenger lists and indexes in books, as well as microfilm copies of lists and indexes held by the National Archives. We regret that our small staff cannot search these records for you.

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Is it possible to research an ancestor's U.S. military service in the Southern History Department?

The Library has a large collection of items relating to military service in the United States. We have Revolutionary War service records and pension applications. We have indexes to service records and pension applications for the War of 1812. We have numerous Civil War unit and regimental histories as well as service records for Confederate units in Alabama and Alabama Confederate pension applications. Unfortunately, due to our small staff, we cannot research the military records for patrons.

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Do you have city directories?

The Southern History Department has an excellent collection of Birmingham city directories beginning in 1883. We also have directories for select years for other Alabama cities available on microfilm.

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Can you search for obituaries which may have appeared in Birmingham newspapers?

The Library has an extensive collection of Birmingham newspapers on microfilm. With the proper information, we are often able to locate obituaries which ran in the local newspaper. For more information, see the Library's Obituary Research Guidelines before submitting your request.

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Are any materials from the Southern History Department available online?

Although all of the books and periodicals in the Southern History Department are listed in our online catalog, you must come to the Library to use them.

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Can copies be made from Southern History's books, periodicals, and microfilm

Yes, depending on the age and physical condition of the original. Two self-service photocopiers are available to researchers in the Southern History Department. Microfilm reader/printers are available in the Microforms Center. Copies can be ordered through the mail. Please see our guidelines for more information on ordering copies by mail.

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For patrons who cannot visit the Library, can you provide the names of independent researchers?

The Library maintains a list of independent researchers who have expressed an interest in performing research for a fee.

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Do you have photographs of Birmingham, AL?

The Library's Archives and Manuscripts Department houses a large collection of Birmingham images and photographs. For more information on this collection, please contact the Archives Department.

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What history or genealogy databases are available at the Library?

The Library maintains subscriptions to several databases that are of interest to genealogists and historians. Please see the Library's list of databases and subscriptions for information about accessing these and other databases.

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Why are your call numbers different from the ones used in the rest of the library?

The books in the Southern History Department are cataloged using the Library of Congress Classification System. While most public libraries use the Dewey Decimal System, the Library of Congress (LC, for short) Classification is better for a large, very specific collection such as ours. For more information on this system, an outline is available from the Library of Congress.

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Page Last Modified: 3/10/2014 8:58 AM