Genealogy Resources

Our Library offers free access to, putting billions of genealogical resources at your fingertips. Explore your family’s story using one or more of the Library’s workstations or your Wi-Fi-enabled device inside the library. Please contact library staff with any questions at 256-232-1233.

Genealogy Classes

Our Library offers instructional classes to teach you how to search your family’s history. Our classes are hosted as a series, each class building upon the previous. To inquire about our next round of classes or to register, please contact library staff at 256-232-1233

Obituary Records

The library has obituaries from the Athens News Courier dating back to 1994. If you seek obituaries before 1994, please see the Limestone County Archives or

The Shelby Southard History Room

The Shelby Southard History Room of the Athens-Limestone County Public Library focuses on genealogical research, Limestone County history, and Alabama history. The collection includes various materials such as census records, marriage records, and family documents. Alabama Collection books are not available for check out, but you can make copies of pages using the Library’s copy center. For more information, please contact the library staff at 256-232-1233.

Vertical Files & Periodicals

The library encourages patrons to look through the Shelby Southard History Room’s vertical files and periodicals. The vertical files include newspaper articles on historical municipal events and family files for genealogical research. The library also has an assortment of magazines and periodicals. Below is a partial list of the periodicals in the history room.
  • Alabama Heritage
  • The Alabama Historical Quarterly
  • The Alabama Review
  • The Alabama Valley Leaves
  • Daughters of American Revolution Magazine
  • Journal of Southern History
  • Limestone Legacy
  • Natchez Trace Traveler
  • United Daughters of the Confederacy
  • Virginia Magazine of History and Biography
  • Athens News Courier, Bound Volumes (1973-2017)

Free Online Genealogy Resources

There are many free resources online for genealogy research. Click the links below to learn more about each.

Alabama Department of Archives and History

Local government and country records


Archive of digital material of Alabama’s culture and history

Encyclopedia of Alabama

Free, online reference resource on Alabama’s history, culture, geography, and natural environment


Access to genealogical records and family trees

Find a Grave

Cemetery records and obituaries

Freedmen’s Bureau Online, Alabama

Established by the War Department in 1865, the Bureau supervised all relief and educational activities relating to refugees and freedmen, including issuing rations, clothing, and medicine.

Library of Congress ‘Chronicling America’

Library of Congress’ online repository of America’s historic newspapers

Library of Congress ‘Local History & Genealogy Reference Services’

A comprehensive collection of local history & genealogical resources provided by the Library of Congress

Limestone County Archives

More than 6,000 books and files from Alabama and Limestone County dating back to 1818

National Archives

Federal records, veteran’s records, and teaching resources

Sanborn Fire Maps, Alabama

A searchable database of the fire insurance maps published by the Sanborn Map Company (1867 – Present) provided by the Library of Congress

The USGenWeb Project

Comprehensive genealogical database of each U.S. state

University of Alabama’s Historical Map Archive

Wide variety of American and Alabama maps

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