Rhode Island Archives and Libraries
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These archives, libraries, societies, and museums preserve sources, maintain indexes, and provide services to help genealogists document their ancestors who lived in Rhode Island.
- 1 Wiki Articles on Major Repositories in Rhode Island
- 2 Rhode Island Online Records
- 3 National Repositories
- 4 Statewide Repositories
- 5 Regional Repositories
- 5.1 Brown University Rockefeller Library
- 5.2 Davisville Free Library
- 5.3 East Greenwich Free Library
- 5.4 Newport Historical Society
- 5.5 Providence City Archives
- 5.6 Providence Public Library
- 5.7 Roger Williams University Library
- 5.8 Tiverton Public Library
- 5.9 University of Rhode Island Carothers Library
- 5.10 Westerly Public Library
- 6 Guide
- 7 Websites
- 8 Sources
Wiki Articles on Major Repositories in Rhode Island[edit | edit source]
American Antiquarian Society · American-French Genealogical Society · National Archives at Boston · New England Historic Genealogical Society · Judicial Records Center · Rhode Island Genealogical Society · Rhode Island Historical Society · Rhode Island State Archives · Rhode Island State Library · Brown University Rockefeller Library · Davisville Free Library · East Greenwich Free Library · Newport Historical Society · Providence Public Library · Roger William University Library · Tiverston Public Library · Westerly Public Library
Rhode Island Online Records[edit | edit source]
National Repositories[edit | edit source]
American Antiquarian Society[edit | edit source]
- Best known for its U.S. newspaper collection of over 18,000 bound volumes 1704-1820, history, genealogy, Bibles, maps, biography, directories, Native Americans, women, canals, railroads, photos, manuscripts. They have Rhode Island vital records, newspapers, and town histories. One of the best genealogy centers in America.
American-French Genealogical Society[edit | edit source]
- Has collections pertaining to cultural, genealogical, historical and biographical matter relating to Americans of French and French Canadian descent. Collections include databases, cemetery, headstone and obituary records, as well as French-American marriage records for Rhode Island (see The Forget Files). The website has genealogy links and includes a section on Acadian heritage.
National Archives at Boston[edit | edit source]
- Collects Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Rhode Island documents, photos, and maps of 80 federal agencies, War of 1812, fortifications, coastal facilities, World War II research at Harvard and MIT, federal bankruptcy courts, First Circuit Court of Appeals, Navy, Coast Guard, westward expansion, ethnology, genealogy, Revolutionary War, Civil War, captured German records, territorial papers, censuses, passenger arrival records for Boston and New England, and Canadian border crossings.
New England Historic Genealogical Society[edit | edit source]
New England Historic Genealogical Society
101 Newbury Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02116-3007
Telephone: 617-536-5740; Library 617-226-1231
- Best overall collection for New England (and Rhode Island) vital records and probates, and excellent collection for Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, and Europe. The manuscript collection for members-only has diaries, letters, account books, business papers, church and town records, sermons, maps, wills, deeds, unpublished town and family genealogies, photos, and papers of the region's best genealogists since 1850.  
Statewide Repositories[edit | edit source]
Judicial Records Center[edit | edit source]
- Rhode Island state and county civil, criminal, and divorce cases 1671-1900, and naturalizations 1671-1982.
Rhode Island Genealogical Society[edit | edit source]
- Website provides some listings of holdings in Rhode Island libraries pertaining to RI genealogical and historical research. Some online resources available to members only.
Rhode Island Historical Society[edit | edit source]
121 Hope Street
Providence, RI 02906
Website: Rhode Island Historical Society
- Houses the state's largest genealogical collection including local histories, manuscripts, census, cemetery, military, economic, social, church records, family Bibles, family histories, newspapers, genealogy, women’s history, and business records.
Rhode Island State Archives[edit | edit source]
- The earliest town records collection from 1638 to the present, state censuses at ten year intervals between 1865-1935; state birth and marriage records for the years 1853-1897, state deaths for the years 1853-1947; and military records. The archives also maintains a large map collection.
Rhode Island State Library[edit | edit source]
Rhode Island State Library
- They have the largest book collection in the state, including almost all state and town histories, biographies, and genealogies.
Regional Repositories[edit | edit source]
Brown University Rockefeller Library[edit | edit source]
- Virtually a second state archives with a huge book collection, manuscripts regarding New England settlers, biographies, and genealogies.
Davisville Free Library[edit | edit source]
Davisville Free Library
- This a good book collection with good genealogical reference works. It includes genealogical periodicals and family folders.
East Greenwich Free Library[edit | edit source]
- Researchers will find town histories, digital RI newspaper archives, and the RI Sanborn map collection online (this last requires user ID and password). Also, they have a good collection of genealogical reference books periodicals, and family folders.
Newport Historical Society[edit | edit source]
- The Library dates to the founding of the Newport Historical Society in 1854 and includes works on the history of Newport County and the surrounding area. The collection contains approximately 12,000 volumes reflecting the settlement and development of Newport County. Because Rhode Island was established by settlers and refugees from other colonies, the collection includes works on early Southeastern New England families and governments that contributed to the history of Rhode Island and the Providence Plantations. Also included are general reference works.
Providence City Archives[edit | edit source]
- Holdings include early town records, vital records (including indexes to births, marriages, and deaths 1636 to mid-20th century - some restrictions may apply), tax records, probate records and indices, various property records, records of government proceedings, etc. For additional information, see Basic Holdings and Research.
Providence Public Library[edit | edit source]
- This is a very good collection of published genealogies, biographies, periodicals and family folders.
Roger Williams University Library[edit | edit source]
Roger Williams University Library
- Their huge book selection includes periodicals, newspapers, biography indexes, genealogies, family folders and histories, indexes and the largest Baptist collection in New England.
Tiverton Public Library[edit | edit source]
- They have a good collection of published genealogies.
University of Rhode Island Carothers Library[edit | edit source]
University of Rhode Island Carothers Library
- This collection has books, maps, biographies, and histories about Rhode Island residents.
Westerly Public Library[edit | edit source]
Westerly Public Library
- There large genealogical book collection includes family folders, family histories, and indexes regarding Rhode Island families.
Guide[edit | edit source]
- Clarence S. Brigham, Annual Report of the American Historical Association for the Year 1903, Volume 1 (Washington, D.C.: American Historical Association, 1904) WorldCat 1150082; FHL film 896553 item 2; book 973 C4ah. An important inventory of manuscript records including Rhode Island state, county, and town archives.
Websites[edit | edit source]
You can find computerized research tips and information about ancestors from Rhode Island in a variety of sources at local, state, national, and international levels. The list of sources is growing rapidly. Most of the information is available at no cost. Addresses on the Internet change frequently. The following sites are important gateways linking you to many more sites:
- The USGenWeb Project A cooperative effort by many volunteers to list genealogical databases, libraries, bulletin boards, and other resources available on the Internet for each county, state, and country.
- Roots-L A useful list of sites and resources. Includes a large, regularly-updated research coordination list.
- FamilySearch™ FamilySearch is a collection of computer files containing several million names. FamilySearch is a good place to begin your research. Some of the records come from compiled sources; some have been automated from original sources.
Sources[edit | edit source]
- William Dollarhide and Ronald A. Bremer. America's Best Genealogy Resource Centers (Bountiful, Utah: Heritage Quest, 1998), 59. WorldCat 39493985; FHL Ref Book 973 J54d.
- Dollarhide and Bremer, 53.
- Dollarhide and Bremer, 124.
- "New England Historic Genealogical Society" in Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_England_Historic_Genealogical_Society (accessed 30 August 2010).
- Using the NEHGS Library in American Ancestors" (accessed 21 September 2015).
- Dollarhide and Bremer, 5, 57, and 59.
- Archives-Research in Judicial Records Center (accessed 11 April 2015).
- Dollarhide and Bremer, 99.