Houston County public records do not go back as far as most other states because it did not become an official county until 1903. It was actually the very last county to be established in Alabama so its county records aren't much more extensive than the state records (which began in 1908).
The Houston County seat is Dothan, and that is also where the local health department office is located. That's where you need to go in order to get copies of most Houston County public records. They can issue certified copies while you wait, once you have the forms filled out and the fee paid. They also accept mailed-in requests at this office, or at the state Vital Records department office in Montgomery. Mailed requests take between 7 and 10 days to be returned.
The fees will vary by record, but you should know they are not refunded if the records are not found. So if you are unsure of any information on your request form, you may want to wait until have you have better details before wasting your money.
Houston County Birth Records
There is a time restriction on all Houston County birth records that lasts for 125 years after the recorded date of birth. During that time period, the only people who can request copies are immediate family members of the person on the record or that person themselves. The fee for each record search is $15 though any records older than 125 can be accessed for free through the State Archives because they become public domain. Houston County birth records that old may not have the name of the child on them, which can make searching difficult.
Houston County Death Records
On the other hand, Houston County death records become public domain in only 25 years. So after that point, anyone can request anyone else's death records without any relationship limitations. Until then, you will still have to be an immediate family member (children, parents, siblings or spouses). The cost per record is $15. Older records are very bare and will not provide much information about the deceased, except their name, and date of death.
Houston County Marriage Records
Starting in 1936, the state began recording marriage information from the counties though Houston County marriage records will go back many years before that. The Probate court in Dothan will have their own archive of old marriage records for anything before 1936, possibly back into the 1800s. For certified copies from the health department, the cost will be $15 but the Probate court will have its own fees if you are getting copies from them. There are no time or relationship restriction on getting Houston County marriage records.
Houston County Criminal Records
Alabama does not release any criminal records to the public, so you are going to be limited to getting a copy of your own background history only. These are not county records, so to get a Houston County criminal record, you will have to put in a request to the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center. It costs $25 per copy, and the forms will require you to submit your fingerprints for ID.