a will recorded from 1857 is most probably in the basement of the Russell co Courthouse. they will tell you that what is in the basement is indexed upstairs, but that is not true. I have been to the Russell co Courthouse and they are very unfriendly and uncooperative as far as the old records from the old courthouse are concerned. They have a new Judge of Probate now so things may be better.
I don't know where you live. The Alabama Department of Archives and History will do a search for you. There is a sizeable sum ($25 nonrefundable)if you are out of Alabama. Just a couple of years ago they microfilmed some records that are stored in the vault that had never been copied. It was called the loose records project. It is searchable at the ADAH website, you should check it out.
Another thing you could try. If you live near a Morman Church with a library, you could order records through them. You pay postage.
Good luck and happy hunting.
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