It was founded in 1866 but getting Clay County public records is usually easiest for dates after 1908. That was the year the state begin requiring birth and death registrations, so the data collection was more consistent and wide-spread.
The county seat is in Ashland, but the health department office where you can order copies of vital records is in Lineville. The office is open during standard business hours and offers while-you-wait service for Clay County public records requests. All you need to do is fill out the application form and pay the current search fee.
For anyone not in the Lineville area, you can also just drop your completed application in the mail either to the health office or directly to the state Vital Records office in Montgomery. Both offices will have full access to all Clay County public records. Your fee will have to be included as a check or money order, made out to the State Board of Health. Be warned that if the records you request are not found, there are no refunds.
Clay County Birth Records
Birth records from any county in Alabama will have a 125-year waiting period, keeping them confidential except to family members until that time. You are only permitted to make a request for a more recent Clay County birth record if it is your own, or if it belongs to your child, parent, sibling or current spouse. Most records are from after 1908, but older ones may not have the name of the child included. So make sure you have as much other information as possible to ensure the right record is found. Each Clay County birth record will cost $15 for the first, and $6 for any additional copies.
Clay County Death Records
Clay County death records also have a confidentially period attached to them but it is only 25 years, so it will be easier to access family records outside your immediate relatives. You can order a certified copy of a death certificate for $15 USD, but most records past 25 years are available through the State Archive or even online through many genealogy websites since they are open to the public.
Clay County Marriage Records
Marriage records typically begin in 1936, but you can also find older records if you contact the local Probate courts where they would have been filed before the state began collecting the information in 1936. But other than that, you can just put in an application with the health department to get a copy of a Clay County marriage record. There are no privacy restrictions and they are public information.
Clay County Criminal Records
Criminal records are different from the vital records listed above, and are not freely available by request. They are maintained by the state, so to get a copy of a Clay County criminal record, you will have to make your request to the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center. You can only have access to your own records unless you are an employer doing legal background checks on potential employees. These records will cost $25 USD each.