Lamar County was founded in 1867 though it was originally called Sanford County after one of the local landowners in the area. In 1877, it was renamed to Lamar County.
Lamar County public records often go back to at least 1867 or farther though they can be inconsistent because the counties were not required by law to keep track of vital events like births and deaths. The state did make it law in 1908 so you may find that records after that date are easier to locate.
When looking to get copies of birth and death certificates, or any other type of Lamar County public record, you just have to go to the health department office. They're located in Vernon and open regular weekday business hours. Your request will include a filled-out form, a search fee and your own photo ID. The forms are available at the counter, or you can download them at home from the Alabama Department of Public Health website.
Lamar County Birth Records
Privacy restrictions are in place for all Lamar County birth records, and you will only have limited access to any records for 125 years after the date of birth. For that time, you can get your own records or records for your children, parents, spouse or siblings. For any older records (previous to 1908) many birth registrations only list the date of birth and the parents with no child's name. This can confound your search so take care to get the parent's names right. Each copy you order is $15.
Lamar County Death Records
After 25 years, all Lamar County death records become public domain and you will be able to make a request for a any copy you want. Prior to 25 years, these records are limited like birth records to only the immediate family. The fees for a certified copy of a death record are $15, though you can get uncertified copies through the State Archives after the 25 year period is up and they are public.
Lamar County Marriage Records
Initially, Lamar County marriage records were kept at the Probate courthouse in Vernon. But in 1936, the state of Alabama required that all counties submit their marriage information to the state. So you can get copies of any marriage record from the health department (they are public domain) but for marriage before 1936, you will have better luck if you make your request directly to the Probate court. At the health office, certified copies are $15 each but the courthouse will have its own pricing for record retrieval. Starting in 1950, the state also started keeping records on divorces, which are also available to the public without restrictions.
Lamar County Criminal Records
These are state records, so when you are searching for a copy of your Lamar County criminal record, you will have to apply to the state rather than county officials. And you are only permitted to have a copy of your own criminal background files, no one else's. Visit the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center's website for blank forms and details on how to make a request. These documents will cost you $25 each.