State- and County-wide Genealogical Books and Resources
for Providence County, Rhode Island
- Bamberg, Cherry Fletcher. “RI Genealogy FAQ.” Rhode Island Genealogical Society website. http://www.rigensoc.org/cpage.php?pt=24 : 2015.
- Leclerc, Michael J. Genealogist’s Handbook for New England Research, 5th Edition. Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2012.
- Taylor, Maureen A. “Genealogical Research in Rhode Island.” National Genealogical Society Quarterly 88 (March 2000): Image copy. http://www.ngsgenealogy.org/cs/ngsq_archives [see vol. 88] : Accessed 2015.
- Sterling, John E. North Burial Ground, Providence, Rhode Island, Old Section 1700-1848. Greenville, Rhode Island: Rhode Island Genealogical Society, 2000.
- Rhode Island Historical Cemetery Commission. Search Web Databases. Database. http://www.rihistoriccemeteries.org/ : 2015. [builds on more than a century of work by Rhode Islanders such as James N. Arnold and John Sterling to offer a compiled index to what were previously separate resources. Click on “details” for the entry to see further info and, sometimes, a picture.]
- Rhode Island Historic Cemetery Commission. Map of Rhode Island Cemeteries: http://www.rihistoriccemeteries.org/cemmap.aspx [a very helpful map to many of the Rhode Island cemeteries – some are very tiny and away from the road. Clicking a location brings up the cemetery information.]
[In addition to the federal census 1790-1940, there are specific census collections for Rhode Island.]
- Bamberg, Cherry Fletcher. “Early Rhode Island Censuses.” Rhode Island Genealogical Society website. http://www.rigensoc.org/cpage.php?pt=32 : 2015.
- Bartlett, John R., “arranged by.” Census of the Inhabitants of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations 1774. 1858. Reprint, Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co, 1969. [Access on Ancestry.com at http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=3081 ]
- Chamberlain, Mildred M. The Rhode Island 1777 Military Census. Baltimore: Clearfield, published under the direction of the R.I. Genealogical Society, 1985. [Access on Ancestry.com at http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=49316 ]
- Holbrook, Jay Mack. Rhode Island 1782 Census. Oxford, Mass.: Holbrook Research Institute, 1979.
- MacGunnigle, Bruce C. Rhode Island Freemen, 1747-1755. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1982.
- Rhode Island. “Rhode Island, State Censuses, 1865-1935.” Database with images. Ancestry.com. http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=4721 : 2015 [no 1895 state census available. Be sure to check out the 1865 census whenever possible; it is incredibly thorough. When searching by time period on Ancestry.com know that all years are indexed under “1935.” When looking at the 1905 cards, go to the NEXT card to see the back of each card – 1905 collects some important data including birth date.]
- Rhode Island. “Rhode Island, State Censuses, 1885-1935“. Database with images. Familysearch.org. http://www.familysearch.org : 2015 [note: no 1895 state census available].
- Waterman, Katherine U., transcriber. “The Rhode Island Census of 1782.” New England Historic Genealogical Register, volumes 127 (1) (January 1973) through 129 (4) (October 1975). [this is preferred to the Bartlett book, above, as explained in Cherry Fletcher Bamberg’s article at the top of this section.]
- Inventory of the Church Archives of Rhode Island. Society of Friends. Providence: Historical Records Survey, 1939. [ online: http://hdl.handle.net/2027/mdp.39015049869467 ]
- Inventory of the Church Archives of Rhode Island. Baptist. Providence: Historical Records Survey, 1941. [online: http://hdl.handle.net/2027/mdp.39015049870267 ]
- Arnold, James N. Vital Records of Rhode Island, 1636-1850. [Note: Volumes 11 – 21 contain many church records. For a guide to all volumes, and links, see https://onerhodeislandfamily.com/free-r-i-vital-records/ ]
- Fiske, Jane Fletcher. Gleanings from Newport Court Files 1659-1783. Boxford, Massachusetts: 1998.
- Fiske, Jane Fletcher, transcriber. Rhode Island General Court of Trials 1671-1704. Boxford, Massachusetts, 1998.
- Rappaport, Diane. New England Court Records. Burlington, Mass.: Quill Pen Press, 2006. [a guide to finding records in the New England states]
- Anderson, Robert Charles. The Great Migration Study Project, including The Great Migration Begins (3 volumes) and The Great Migration (7 volumes). Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1995-2011. [this is the most authoritative compiled source for the earliest New England settlers, arriving 1620-1640. Many original Rhode Island settlers first arrived in Massachusetts during those years. Try the master index: The Great Migration Directory to be sure you are seeing all entries.]
- Austin, John Osborne. One Hundred and Sixty Allied Families. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2009.
- Austin, John Osborne. The Genealogical Dictionary of Rhode Island; Comprising Three Generations of Settlers who Came Before 1690. With Additions and Corrections. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1978. [The most important book in early Rhode Island genealogy. Always use a version with the additions and corrections; there are some notable mistakes in the 1885 original which is available online.]
- Bartlett, John Russell. Records of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations in New England. Volumes 1 – 10. Reprint, New York: AMS Press, 1968. [contains many personal details including date of freeman status, military appointments, state purchases from residents, tensions between towns, roads, and criminal matters. Can be accessed online, see https://onerhodeislandfamily.com/records-of-the-colony-of-rhode-island/ ]
- Bowen, Richard LeBaron. The Providence Oath of Allegiance and Its Signers 1651-2. Providence: Issued from the General Court of the Society of Colonial Wars in the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, 1943.
- Field, Edward. Tax Lists of the Town of Providence During the Administration of Sir Edmund Andros and His Council 1686-1689. Providence: Howard W. Preston, 1895.
- Godfrey Memorial Library, comp. “American Genealogical-Biographical Index (AGBI).” Database on-line. Ancestry.com. http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=3599 Original data: Godfrey Memorial Library. American Genealogical-Biographical Index. Middletown, CT, USA: Godfrey Memorial Library. [A complied index to many of the holdings of the Godfrey Memorial Library (a genealogy library in Connecticut); an index of names. Also available at larger genealogy libraries in hard copy (over 200 volumes). Once a citation is found, Godfrey has a photocopy service where they will, for a fee, copy the particular item that was cited. Content includes the Genealogy Column of the Boston Transcript, which is likely to contain a reader query about an ancestor and, possibly, in a subsequent entry, an informed response from a genealogist.]
- Rhode Island Land Evidences, Volume 1, 1648-1696. ABSTRACTS. Providence: 1921. [access online: https://dcms.lds.org/delivery/DeliveryManagerServlet?dps_pid=IE7738541 ]
- Bayles, Richard Mather, ed. History of Providence County, Rhode Island. 2 volumes. New York, W. W. Preston, 1891. [access online at Hathitrust.org: http://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/009580123 ]
- Parker, J. Carlyle, compiler. Rhode Island Biographical and Genealogical Sketch Index. Turlock, CA, Marietta Publishing Co., 1991. [a handy guide to various “mug books” published in the late 1800’s, useful if your ancestor was prominent during that period. ]
- Taylor, Maureen A. Rhode Island Passenger Lists – Port of Providence 1798-1808; 1820-1872 – Port of Bristol and Warren 1820-1871; Compiled from United States Custom House Papers. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1995.
- Ancestry.com. “Rhode Island, Indexes to Naturalization Records, 1890-1992.” Database on-line. Ancestry.com. http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=2897
Manuscript and archival collections
- Rhode Island Archival and Manuscript Collections Online (RIAMCO). http://library.brown.edu/riamco/index.html [note: only the index, not the materials, are online. Advanced Search points you to paper archives at various locations in Rhode Island.]
- Rider, Sidney S., editor. Rhode Island Historical Tracts. Series 1, 1 – 20, Series 2, 1 – 5. [mostly quirky historical topics, but check the index to series 1, found in volume 20. Access all volumes here: https://onerhodeislandfamily.com/rhode-island-historical-tracts/ ]
- Ancestry.com. “U.S., Civil War Draft Registrations Records, 1863-1865”. Database on-line. Ancestry.com. http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=1666
- Chapin, Howard M. Rhode Island in the Colonial Wars: A List of Soldiers and Sailors in King George’s War 1740-1748 and A List of Rhode Island Soldiers and Sailors in the old French & Indian War 1755-1762. 1918 & 1920. Reprint, Genealogical Publishing Co, 2010. [access online: https://dcms.lds.org/delivery/DeliveryManagerServlet?dps_pid=IE3190801]
- Cowell, Benjamin. Spirit of 76 in Rhode Island, or, Sketches of the Efforts of the Government and People in the War of the Revolution. 1850. Reprint, Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1973. [Cowell assisted many veterans with their pension applications in Rhode Island in the decades leading up to the publication of the book.]
- Peirce, Ebenezer W. Peirce’s Colonial Lists: Civil, Military and Professional Lists of Plymouth and Rhode Island Colonies, 1621-1700. Reprint, Baltimore: Clearfield, 2001.
- Rhode Island Historical Society. Register of Seamen’s Protection Certificates from the Providence, Rhode Island Custom District 1796-1870. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1995.
- Rhode Island in the American Revolution: A Source Guide for Genealogists and Historians by Eric G. Grundset for the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR Source Guides on the American Revolution Series No. 4), 2014. [An excellent bibliography – not limited to military – also covers any materials from that era]
- Smith, Joseph Jencks. Civil and Military List of Rhode Island. 1647-1800. Providence: Preston and Rounds, 1900. [See also New Index to the Civil and Military Lists of Rhode Island by Joseph Jencks Smith, 1907.]
- Chronicling America: U.S. Newspaper Directory. Database. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/search/titles/ Search “Select State” = Rhode Island. [there are 742 different titles – click “Libraries that Have It” to see if you can find it at a nearby library. This is just a guide; there are no online R.I. newspapers at that site yet.]
- Genealogy Bank. Image database. http://www.genealogybank.com/ [Browsing by state is possible.]
- Marks, Kenneth R. “Rhode Island Online Historical Newspapers Summary – Updated 2015.” The Ancestor Hunt. 8 June 2015. http://www.theancestorhunt.com/blog/rhode-island-online-historical-newspapers-summary-updated-2015 : 2015.
[The most needed newspaper resource for Providence County would be an indexed, digital archive of The Providence Journal since 1829. This does not yet exist.]
- Ancestry.com. “Rhode Island, Wills and Probate Records, 1582-1932.” Ancestry.com. http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=9079 : 2015.
- Arnold, James N. Vital Records of Rhode Island, 1636-1850. Volumes 1 – 21. [for a guide to all volumes, and links, see https://onerhodeislandfamily.com/free-r-i-vital-records/ ]
- Beaman, Alden G. Rhode Island Vital Records, New Series. Volumes 1 – 13. [Some coverage in Newport, Washington, and Kent Counties only. Vital records often gleaned from other types of records, like gravestones or probate. May be useful as an index to seek out the original record to make your own interpretation. ]
- “Rhode Island Births and Christenings, 1600-1914. “ Abstracts. FamilySeach.org. https://familysearch.org/search/collection/1675525 : 2015. [“compiled from a variety of sources” “not complete for any region.”]
- “Rhode Island, Deaths and Burials, 1802-1950. “ Abstracts. FamilySeach.org. https://familysearch.org/search/collection/1675536 : 2015. [“compiled from a variety of sources” “not complete for any region.”]
- “Rhode Island, Marriages, 1724-1916.” Abstracts. FamilySeach.org. https://familysearch.org/search/collection/1675538 : 2015. [“compiled from a variety of sources” “not complete for any region.”]
- Torrey, Clarence Almon. New England Marriages Prior to 1700. Volumes 1 – 3. Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2011. [Torrey is essentially a bibliography of any mention of the married couple in various older sources. Consult the sources noted for specifics. Use the most recent edition of Torrey available to benefit from modern additions and corrections.]
- Narragansett Historical Register, 1-9, 1882-1891, published by James Newell Arnold. Facsimile reprint published by Heritage Books. [See all original copies online here: https://onerhodeislandfamily.com/2012/05/28/the-narragansett-historical-register-free/ ]
- Rhode Island Genealogical Register. Volumes 1 – 20, 1978-1996. Rhode Island Families Association (founded by Alden Beaman). [not available online. Contains vital record abstracts, articles, and brief genealogies. Volume 16 “Rhode Island Will Index” is a compiled index of will abstracts contained in volumes 1 – 15.]
- Rhode Island History. Rhode Island Historical Society. [Search and access 1942-2010: Rhode Island History. http://www.rihs.org/publication_search.php ]
- Rhode Island Roots, 1975-present. Rhode Island Genealogical Society. [To search and access back issues of Rhode Island Roots see the instructions on the RI Genealogical Society website: http://www.rigensoc.org/cpage.php?pt=14 . ]
[Additional note: Rhode Island families can be found in any of the major U.S. genealogy journals, or statewide journals. For instance, Vermont and New York State were common destinations for those who left Rhode Island around 1800. Try the journal search at the NEHGS AmericanAncestors.org site. ]
- Keach, Howard A. Burrillville: As It Was and Is. Providence: Knowles, Anthony & Co., printers, 1856.
- Haley, John Williams, Roscoe Morton Dexter, Mrs. Herbert Gould Beede. The lower Blackstone river valley; the story of Pawtucket, Central Falls, Lincoln, and Cumberland, Rhode Island; an historical narrative. Pawtucket, R.I.: E.L. Freeman Co., 1937.
- Clauson, J. Earl. Cranston: A Historical Sketch. Providence: T.S. Hammond, 1904.
- Balfour, David W and Joyce Hindle Koutsogiane. Cumberland by the Blackstone: 250 Years of Heritage. Virginia Beach: The Donning Company: 1997.
- Ray, Judith Jenckes. Founders and Patriots of the Town of Cumberland, Rhode Island. Baltimore : Gateway Press, 1990.
- Rhode Island Historic Preservation Commission. Historical and Architectural Resources of Cumberland, Rhode Island. RIHPC: 1990.
- Simpson, Robert. North Cumberland: A History.[Chelsea, Vt.] : [Acorn Press], .
- Sprague, Abigail A. (Field). “Abigail Sprague’s History of Cumberland.” Mss. 1023. The Rhode Island Historical Society Research Center, Providence, Rhode Island.
- Conforti, Joseph. Our Heritage: a history of East Providence. White Plains: Monarch, 1976.
- Faig, Kenneth W, Charles C. Beaman, Casey B. Taylor. Early Historical Accounts of Foster, Rhode Island. Glenview, Ill.: Moshassuck Press, 1993.
- Fiske, Jane Fletcher, transcriber. Glocester 1778 Tax List: “A List of the Polls and Estates Real and Personal of the Proprietors and Inhabitants of the Town of Glocester in the State of Rhode Island.” Rhode Island Roots, volumes 19 (1993) through 20 (1994).
- Perry, Elizabeth A. A Brief History of the Town of Glocester, Rhode Island. Providence: Providence Press Co, 1886.
- Nebiker, Walter, Russell Wright, and the Rhode Island Historical Preservation Commission. Preliminary survey Report: Town of Johnston. Providence, R.I.: Rhode Island Historical Preservation Commission, 1976.
- Greene, Welcome A. Historical Sketch of the Town of Lincoln, in the State of Rhode Island. Central Falls, R.I.: E.L. Freeman, 1876.
- Angell, Frank C. Annals of Centerdale In the town of North Providence, Rhode Island Its Past and Present. 1636-1909. By author, 1909.
- Nebiker, Walter E. The History of North Smithfield. North Smithfield Bicentennial Commission, 1976.
- Rhode Island Historic Preservation Commission. Historical and Architectural Resources of North Smithfield, Rhode Island: A Preliminary Report. Providence: RIHPC, 1980.
- Historical Sketch of the Town of Pawtucket, Rhode Island, prepared by Rev. Massena Goodrich. Originally Pawtucket, R.I., 1876, reprinted Heritage Books, 2012.
- Bamberg, Cherry Fletcher. 1776 Census of Providence, Rhode Island. New England Historic Genealogical Register, 159 (Jan 2005): 12-24 and (April 2005) 141-154.
- Hopkins, Charles Wyman. Home Lots of the Early Settlers of the Providence Plantations. 1886, reprinted Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co, 2007.
- Lemons, J. Stanley. Baptists in Early North America: Volume II, First Baptist Church in Providence. Macon, Georgia: Mercer University Press, 2013.
- Mathew, Linda L. “Gleanings from Rhode Island Town Records: Providence Town Council Records, 1770-1788.” Rhode Island Roots. Special Bonus Issue 2006 (April 2006).
- Mathew, Linda L. “Gleanings from Rhode Island Town Records: Providence Town Council Records, 1789-1801.” Rhode Island Roots. Special Bonus Issue 2007 (April 2007).
- The Providence House Directory and Family Address Book, various issues, 1895-1935. Providence: Sampson & Murdock Co. Image copy. Providence City Archives. https://www.providenceri.com/archives/providence-house-directory-0 : 2015. [note: see a few other directories at https://onerhodeislandfamily.com/providence-city-directories/ ]
- Rogers, Horatio, George Moulton Carpenter and Edward Field. The Early Records of the Town of Providence, v. 1 – 21. Providence: Snow & Farnham, 1895. [note: contains many personal references, for instance, early marriage banns were read at the town council, instead of church. Access all volumes here: https://onerhodeislandfamily.com/early-records-of-the-town-of-providence/ ]
- Woodward, Wm. McKenzie and Edward F. Sanderson. Providence: A Citywide Survey of Historic Resources. Providence: Rhode Island Historic Preservation Commission, 1980.
- Cady, John Hutchins. The Civic and Architectural Development of Providence 1636-1950. Providence: The Book Shop, 1957. [note: reviews the growth and development of the various neighborhoods.]
- Grandchamp, Robert. “With Their Usual Ardor”: Scituate, Rhode Island and the American Revolution. Westminster, Maryland: Heritage Press, 2006.
- Mathew, Linda L. “Gleanings from Rhode Island Town Records: Scituate Town Council Records, 1731-1786.” Rhode Island Roots. Special Bonus Issue 2011 (April 2011).
- [Fiske, Jane Fletcher, transcriber?] Smithfield 1778 Tax List: “A List of the Polls and Estates Real and Personal of the Proprietors and Inhabitants of the Town of Smithfield in the State of Rhode Island.” Rhode Island Roots, volumes 21 (1995) through 23 (1997).
- Sanborn, Melinde Lutz. “Smithfield, Rhode Island Death Records Culled from Probates.” New England Historic Genealogical Register 146 (October 1992): 343-351.
- Steere, Thomas. History of the Town of Smithfield from its Organization, in 1730-1, to its Division, in 1871. Providence: E.L. Freeman, 1881.
- Richardson, E. History of Woonsocket. Woonsocket: S.S. Foss, Printer: [note: contains a genealogy section. Access book online at: https://archive.org/details/historyofwoonsoc00rich ]
[Additional note: various city directories are also available on Ancestry.com: http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=8778 ]
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