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Rhode Island Genealogy
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The overall history of Rhode Island can go back to the late 1600s if you are lucky, though the general collection of records will not go back nearly that far. Such older Rhode Island genealogy records will have to be sought out through individual town and county clerk offices, but the main state collection starts around 1915.
Rhode Island Vital Records
Getting copies of birth, death and marriage records will typically take you to the Division of Vital Records. At least for material after 1915. Older records than that are housed at the State Archive and that will be covered below.
All you have to do is submit a request form to the Vital Records office, except that there are some privacy restrictions in place that may prevent you from getting the certificates you want. Birth records and marriage records are confidential for 100 years, but death records are only private for 50 years. During that time period, you can only make a request if the record is your own, or you are the parent, child, sibling, grandparent or grandchild of the person on the record. Documentation of this relationship will have to be included with your request.
The forms can be downloaded from the Department of Health website. Once completed, send or drop off the forms along with copies of your own ID and the payment for the search to the Vital Records office in Providence. You can drop off at the counter for immediate service, or mail it all in for a 2 month wait.
The above-mentioned search fees are not refundable, so make sure you provide accurate information so they can locate the right record. You should pay by check or money order made out to the General Treasurer of RI. The current fee is $20 per record requested and $15 for additional certified copies of the same record. If you cannot wait for 2 months, write RUSH on the envelope and add $7 to your payment. Then you should have your papers back in about a week.
Rhode Island State Archives
For all pre-1915 material, you will want to get in touch with the various archives around the state. The best location for Rhode Island genealogy material is the Rhode Island Historical Society library. The official State Archive handles mainly government material and is not as relevant for Rhode Island genealogy.
The Historical Society library holds material back as far as the 1500s in some areas though not everything is quite that old. They have military records, tax documents, church archives, personal correspondence documents, old maps and photographs and a large number more. Their website does not outline their complete holdings so you will need to contact them directly to see what they have access to.
The library is not free and there is a small cost for anyone who is not a member of the Historical Society. There are also fees for photocopies. Their facility is located in Providence and they are open 3 to 4 days per week (again, contact them for a current schedule of their hours).
Rhode Island Genealogy in Our Databases
Rhode Island Lost Female Ancestors
Post and view queries with Rhode Island connections.
Surname Queries Registry
Surnames with Rhode Island connections being researched by our visitors.
Rhode Island Attorneys Listed in Graft's Legal Directory 1908 - 09
Rhode Island School Superintendents and Normal School Principals 1907
Rhode Island Genealogy Data Sources
Rhode Island Records on Other Sites
1880 Public Lights Department Employees Providence Rhode Island
Including those who were lamplighters of the city's gas lights in the city in 1880 from the City Manual published by the City of Providence in 1880.
See if they are your RI ancestors.
Obituaries, newspaper articles, and other documents with Rhode Island connections submitted by visitors.
Marriage records with Rhode Island connections posted by visitors.
Colonial Rhode Island
1922 YearbookBrown University
Graduate Students Providence, Rhode Island
Faculty of Brown University 1922 Yearbook Providence, Rhode Island
Find Rhode Island Societies, & Biographies
Rhode Island Genealogical Societies
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Rhode Island Biographies
Biographies with Rhode Island ties.
Biographies on Geneabios
View biographies, find links to other online biographies.
Rhode Island Genealogy Links
GeneaLinks Rhode Island
Links to Rhode Island genealogy information.
Rhode Island County Genealogy Resources
Genealogy Sites with Alabama County Genealogy information.
Links on A Surname Site
Links with names and families in Rhode Island
Genealogy on All Links
A variety of sites.