The confidentiality issues for Alabama death records are less stringent than for birth records and anyone can access a person's death record after 25 years after the date of death. If you are looking for someone who died more recently than that, you can only get a copy of the record if you are one of the following relations: a parent, spouse, child, grandchild or sibling. Legal representatives are also permitted to request death certificates.
You can either request Alabama death records in person if you are able to visit any of the county health departments in the state, otherwise you can just send in the application form by mail. You will be able to get your copy of the death certificate in about half an hour if you go to an office but it will take between 1 and 2 weeks if you do it the mail-in way.
Either way, you'll need to fill out the proper form. You can get a copy from the Alabama Department of Public Health website (http://adph.org/vitalrecords/assets/hs14eng.pdf). The form will request information on the type of vital records you are seeking (death records, in this case) and you will have to supply as much information on the person as you have. Their name, date of death, social security number, city or county of death, date of birth (or approximate age at time of death) and names of spouses or parents are all important.
If you don't have all the information, provide as much as possible. You will also need to identify yourself by name and your relation to the deceased.
Along with the application form, you'll need to submit the $15 USD fee for each Alabama death record you are searching for. Cash is not always accepted (and not a good idea through the mail) and checks are preferred. They need to be made out to the State Board of Health. If they are unable to find the record you are looking for, you will receive a notice of "failure to find" but no refunds.
Once you have your certified copy, the information on the death certificate should include the name of the deceased, their age at death, the date of death and the attending doctor. Some records will also include a cause of death as well as the place where the person was buried.
The state did not start recording death certificates until 1908 so any ancestor who may have died before that time will be harder to track down. To find the Alabama death record from before 1908, you'll have to do more research through the microfilm indexes that exist for all the individual counties that house their own death records for that time period.
Some genealogy websites offer free searches of cataloged microfilm, and you can also purchase reels from the Alabama Department of Archives and History. Typically, you would use the indexes to find the relevant records, then purchase the corresponding reels. Of course, this can be cumbersome and you'll need a way to read the microfilm.
To receive copies of accessible Alabama death certificates, follow the steps highlighted below:
Download and fill out the Alabama Death Certificate form.
Provide as much information about the person listed in the Alabama death record as possible. This includes: the full name of the deceased, their date and county of death, gender, social security number, birth date, and name of spouse and parents. You will also need to include your name, signature, relationship and contact address and phone number.
Return the completed form by mailing it in to Vital Records. You will also need to include a check or money order covering the $15 fee.
For more details, please feel free to contact the office below:
Alabama Department of Public Health
Alabama Vital Records
P.O. Box 5625
Montgomery, AL 36103-5626
Accessing Alabama Death Records
If you need Alabama death records for legal or genealogical purposes, they can be obtained from the Alabama Department of Public Health. Keep in mind that Alabama death records that are less than 25 years old are still considered confidential records and access is restricted.
Obtaining Death Certificates Online
You can obtain Alabama death records by visiting your county health department. Alternatively, Alabama death records can also be ordered electronically online, or you can download a mail-in form to send directly to the Vital Records Department.
Death Records: Restrictions to Access
According to Alabama state law, records less than 25 years old are considered confidential. You can only access them if you are the parent of the person named, the spouse of the person named, the child or grandchild of the person named, a sibling of the person named, a legal representative of the family, or the informant listed on the certificate. However, for Alabama death records older than 25 years, the record is considered public information and can be accessed by anyone who pays the appropriate fees.