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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

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African American marriage records in Jefferson County, Alabama


We told the story about finding the land deed and plat map of land mortgaged and purchased by Columbus McClure and his wife in Birmingham, Alabama in Our Genealogy Journey to the Jefferson County, Alabama courthouse. We wanted to also share what we discovered about researching marriages in the Jefferson County Alabama courthouse.

We previously searched the collection at, Alabama Marriages, 1816-1957, which is an index:

Name:  Columbus Mcclure
Birth Date: 1879
Age: 25
Spouse's Name: Coreene Jackson
Spouse's Birth Date: 1886
Spouse's Birthplace:
Spouse's Age: 18
Event Date: 25 Aug 1904
Event Place: Irondale, Jefferson, Alabama
Father's Name:
Mother's Name:
Spouse's Father's Name:
Spouse's Mother's Name:
Marital Status:
Previous Wife's Name:
Spouse's Race:
Spouse's Marital Status:
Spouse's Previous Husband's Name:
Indexing Project (Batch) Number: M74609-1
System Origin: Alabama-EASy
GS Film number: 1065252
Reference ID: p 263

"Alabama Marriages, 1816-1957," database, FamilySearch ( : accessed 13 April 2016), Columbus Mcclure and Coreene Jackson, 25 Aug 1904; citing reference p 263; FHL microfilm 1,065,252.

Marriage records are indexed at the Jefferson County, Alabama courthouse. We learned that African American marriage records are in separate index books. There is a book for males and a book for females.
Marriage index for black males 1882-1940.

Marriage index book for black females 1882-1940, Jefferson County, Alabama.

First, look for your ancestor's name on the index. Females will be listed according to their maiden name.  When you find the name on the index, write down the volume number and the page number where the original record is located. 

Ellis searching marrigage index book for McClures for Jefferson County, Alabama.

 Marriage index for McClures, Jefferson County, Alabama.

The third column of the marriage index gives the volume number and page number that corresponds to the original record.

Once you find the entry in the marriage book, you will need to locate the correct volume and page. Below Ellis is searching for the his grandfather's marriage in volume 271, page 30.  The marriages for whites have the same volume numbers, so be sure you pull the volume number for the correct color of your ancestor.

"Jefferson County, Alabama Black Male Marriages, 1882-1940,"  Columbus McClure and Coreene Jackson, 25 Aug 1904; Volume 271 p 30

I always make it a priority to find the original record and not rely too heavily on an indexed record.  From the original marriage record for Columbus and Coreene (sp), we learned that they were married in Irondale, Alabama. Several of the McClures worked the coal mine in Irondale.  They lived there before they moved to Birmingham. 

As you probably know if you follow me on Facebook, we are now researching this family in Cook County, Illinois. We will soon share our findings there in blog posts, so subscribe so that you do not miss!


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