Up in the north-west corner of Alabama is Lauderdale County, founded in 1818 from what was originally Chickasaw and Cherokee land. Once the area was officially a county, the local government began collecting a lot of vital statistics such as birth and death registrations. But it wasn't until 1908 when it became a requirement by the state, so not all records will be complete between 1818 and 1908.
If you need to get a copy of a Lauderdale County public record, you can do so in person or by mail at the local health department office in Florence. The forms are available there, or you can also download a blank form from the Alabama Department of Public Health website. It's not too difficult to complete, just fill in your own contact information and identifying details about the records you want.
With the forms, you have to include the fee for the search and show the person running the desk your own photo ID. For mailed in applications, include a photocopy of your ID (like a driver's license). Mailed requests are usually answered within a week or two, and you will have your certified Lauderdale County public records while you wait if you go to the counter in person.
Lauderdale County Birth Records
To protect privacy and to prevent identity fraud, all Lauderdale County birth records are held from the public for 125 years after the date of birth. While these restrictions are active, you can make a request for a copy of your own birth certificate or records for anyone in your immediate family. All others are out of bounds until the time has passed. Each certified copy of Lauderdale County birth record that you request will cost $15 for the first one, and $6 for extra copies of the same record.
Lauderdale County Death Records
It is considerably easier to get a Lauderdale County death record than it is to get a birth record because the privacy limits only last for 25 years. You'll still be limited to getting copies of death certificates for immediate family members until then. After 25 years, the material moves to the public domain and copies can be requested by anyone. The State Archives also has the same records and you can get copies for free (though uncertified). Otherwise, the health office will charge their usual $15 per record request.
Lauderdale County Marriage Records
Lauderdale County marriage records are not limited by time or relationship, and anyone can make a request for a copy of anyone's marriage certificate. They can be requested just like the birth or death records, from the health department office for the same price of $15 per certified record. Officially, the state started to record marriage registrations in 1936, and divorces have records back to 1950. Check the Probate court if you need older records.
Lauderdale County Criminal Records
Criminal records are never public domain, no matter whose they are or how old they are. You are only permitted to request your own criminal background files, and Lauderdale County criminal records are maintained by the state (all counties' are). You can mail an application and $25 fee to the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center to make your request. Their website has more details as well as blank forms.