Shelby has been a registered county since 1818, and is located right in central Alabama. The county seat is in Columbiana, but if you are looking for Shelby County public records, you will need to head to Pelham to get them in person. In particular, it's the health department office there that an issue you certified copies of any Shelby County public records that you are eligible to receive. Not all records are open to the public, with more details on that below.
To place a request, you need to complete the application form and pay a fee for each search you need. If going to the office in person, then you can pay the fees in cash otherwise you will have to have a check or money ordered issued to the State Board of Health. You can send your application either to the Pelham health office or to the state Vital Records office. Either way, you can expect at least a week or 2 wait to get your Shelby County public records back.
The state started to collect birth and death records in 1908, which is when most of the records will start. But if you need older records, there is still a good chance you will find then because the county was already collecting this material before the state mandated it.
Shelby County Birth Records
These records can be a challenge if you are doing research on more distant relatives because of a 125-year privacy period that is in place for all Shelby County birth records. This time period (which includes all records collected since the state began doing so) is restricted to immediate family members only, so you can only request a birth record for your child, parent, sibling or legal spouse. Each copy of a Shelby County birth record will cost $15, whether they find the request file or not.
Shelby County Death Records
It will also cost you $15 for each Shelby County death record you request, and there are still no refunds if they cannot locate the records you're after. There are privacy restrictions with these documents but they only last for 25 years rather than 125. So only fairly recent records are limited to family access. After 25 years, they are considered public domain and you can bypass the certified copy if you wish and just get a photocopy from the library. The State Archive has a full collection of Shelby County death records.
Shelby County Marriage Records
The health department can also issue copies of Shelby County marriage records, even though they are not really health related. These documents are not kept classified for privacy and can be requested by any member of the public. Each copy will be $15, and the general material dates to 1936. Older records may be found at the Probate courthouse in Columbiana.
Shelby County Criminal Records
Criminal records are not given out to the general public so you can only make a request to get copies of your own Shelby County criminal records if you need them. The Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center is responsible for issuing copies, and they accept mailed-in applications. Their website has the forms and fingerprinting instructions, and copies will cost you $25 each.