CGS Library Collections: Alabama

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First in a series by CGS member Chris Pattillo, highlighting some of our holdings at the Library in Oakland. For a fuller listing of our books, journals, and more, consult the CGS Library catalog. Our catalog is also included in WorldCat.

A portion of our collection on Alabama books

Did you know that the California Genealogical Library has 36 books on Alabama? Plus three sets of journals – The Alabama Genealogical Registry 1959-1967, Montgomery Genealogical Society Quarterly 2005-2009 and the Deep South Genealogical Society 1970-2003.

The collection includes multiple state histories and a few county histories. There are the usual collections of records books and some sources books like Family Maps of County Alabama by Gregory A. Boyd, J.D. This book includes 3 maps of each town. One shows homestead lands, another shows roads, and the third shows features like creeks, rivers, and railroads. Cemeteries are included as well as maiden names.
Tracing Your Alabama Past
I am always attracted to the books that look old. One that caught my eye was a small book titled History of Alabama Adapted to the Use of Schools and for General Reading by L.D. Miller, published in 1901. The book has character and includes a wonderful portrait captioned “Old Plantation Couple”. 

Tracing Your Alabama Past by Robert Scott Davis looks like a good source. The back cover explains that “This comprehensive reference book leads to the wide array of facts and essential data – public records, census figures, military statistics, geography, studies of African American and Native American communities, local and biographical history, internet sites, archives and more.”

One of several Alabama county books
Another old book that urged me to take it off the shelf was History of Conecuh County, Alabama by Rev. B.F. Riley, Pastor of the Opelika Baptist Church. This book was published in 1881. The subtitle of the book highlights the contents. It says, “Embracing a Detailed Record of Events from the Earliest Period to the Present; Biographical Sketches of Those Who Have Been Most Conspicuous in the Annals of the County; A Complete List of the Officials of Conecuh, Besides Much Valuable Information Relative to the Internal Resources of the County.” 

The prose in this volume approaches poetry

I selected that last book for this article because the red leather cover appealed to me. It was Early Settlers of Alabama Col. James Saunders Notes & Genealogies written by his granddaughter, Elizabeth Sauders Blair Stubbs in 1961. Inside I found this description of the contents of the book and knew it was a good one, “Most lovingly does Colonel Saunders relate the story of her people, from the humble mechanic at his forge, to the noble Governor in his chair of State. Her whilom ministers, merchants, lawyers, planters, statesmen, come, at his gentle summons near and take on the semblance of the vivid life they lived. Youth and lovers, the jest, the chase – threads of gold in the noble tapestry – each plays their part.” 

Just for fun I checked the index for my family name and was amused to find a listing for Henry Patillo on page 472. Henry is identified as “of Colonial and Revolutionary fame.” I have three Henrys in my RootsMagic database, but none went to Alabama so I cannot claim him.

If I’ve piqued your interest, you can see a complete listing of all our Alabama books on WorldCat

A rare photo

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