In 1850, it was initially established at Hancock County but the name was changed in 1858 to Winston County. It can be important to note the name change if you are looking for older records prior to 1858. Many Winston County public records will date back to this period, but the main collection of available records starts in 1908. That's the year the state made it a requirement.
Any records you find prior to 1908 may be very brief, incomplete or lacking in details that you normally find with more modern records.
You can order a certified copy of most Winston County public records through the health department office in Double Springs. The office is open to the public and you just have to submit the form in to the counter to get your copies. There is a fee involved and some records do have privacy restrictions on them.
If Double Springs is out of your way, they accept mailed-in applications as well. You just need to include your fee as a check or money order (payable to the State Board of Health).
Winston County Birth Records
To prevent fraud, these records are kept confidential for 125 years after the date of birth. While they are private, you are permitted to get a copy of your own Winston County birth record or a copy belonging to your child, parent, sibling or legal spouse only. No other relatives are allowed. Each certified copy will cost $15, whether they find the certificate or not. After 125 years, the records move to the State Archives in Montgomery where they can be looked up for free.
Winston County Death Records
Immediate relatives are permitted to request death certificates, with each copy costing $15 as well. But after 25 years, all Winston County death records become public domain and you can order any one you like. Whether still private or not, getting a copy from the health office will have a fee of $15 but you can also find most of the public records at the State Archives at no cost. Older records will be very brief, with no more than a name, date and location.
Winston County Marriage Records
Marriage records are not private at any time, so there are no restrictions when you make your request. You just have to supply the names of the bride and groom, the date and location of the marriage. The fee for Winston County marriage records is $15 each as well, though you can also go to the Probate courthouse for certified copies that may cost less. The courthouse will also have older records than the state collection that started in 1936.
Winston County Criminal Records
Winston County criminal records cost more than the others ($25) and you can only make an order for your own criminal background file. All others are strictly private. Only legal professionals and employers can have access (employers can only do so for background checks). If you need a copy of your own criminal record, apply to the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center in Montgomery. The ACJIC website has the forms and application instructions. They do accept requests by mail so you don't necessarily have to go to Montgomery.