Rhode Island Genealogy

This guide contains a sample of The Newberry's resources on this topic. To locate additional resources, please check our catalog or consult a reference librarian.

Guides and Bibliographies

Chudacoff, Nancy F. A Guide to Finding Genealogical Materials at the Rhode Island Historical Society Library. Providence, RI: 1975. Call # E65.168. Provides tips for navigating the collections at the Rhode Island Historical Society.

Parks, Roger. Rhode Island: A Bibliography of Its History. Hanover, MA: University Press of New England, 1983. Call # Local History Ref 1331.R58 (2nd floor open shelf). List source materials written about Rhode Island; broken down by county.

Sperry, Kip. Rhode Island Sources for Family Historians and Genealogists. Logan, UT: Everton, 1986. Call # Local History Ref F78.S64 (2nd floor open shelf). Provides lists of resources including military and church records.

Atlases and Gazetteers

DenBoer, Gordon. Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island: Atlas of Historical County Boundaries. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1994. Call # Local History Ref. G1201.F7A8 1993 (2nd floor open shelf).

Compendium of New England Gazetteers (electronic resource): A Collection of 10 Early New England Gazetteers. Columbia, MD: Archive CD, 2007. Call # CD-ROM F2 .C66. See specifically “Gazetteer of the States of Connecticut and Rhode Island” by John Hayward.


All federal census population schedules for Vermont are available online through Ancestry.com. Published indexes 1790-1860. Some colonial and Revolutionary era census transcriptions shelved with the federal census indexes, in addition to The Rhode Island 1777 Military Census (Call # Local History Ref F78.R46 on 2nd floor open shelf).

Source Materials and Local Histories

Check the catalog under the name of the town or city, as well as under the name of the county as a subject heading to determine the Newberry's holdings for Rhode Island local histories and records. The following titles should also be of interest:

Arnold, James N. Vital Record of Rhode Island, 1636-1850. Providence, 1891-1912. 21 vols. Call # E6975.1. Consult catalog for volume contents. Note that there is no subject cataloging by county for volumes in this set. For example, the vital records from Kent County towns in this set are not to be found under a Kent County subject heading. The index for the set as a whole will tell you what volume to request for those records.

Austin, John Osborne. Genealogical Dictionary of Rhode Island. Reprint with additions and corrections by J.O. Austin and G.A. Moriarty. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1978. Call # folio E6975.141. Starting point for much early Rhode Island genealogy, covering three generations of settlers who arrived prior to 1690 with several families carried to the fourth generation.

Beaman, Alden G. Rhode Island Genealogical Register. 1978-1996. 20 vols. Call # F76.R55. A useful periodical that details various lines of family descent, as well as scattered articles about collecting Rhode Island genealogies.

Genealogies of Rhode Island Families from Rhode Island Periodicals. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1983. 2 vols. Call # Local History Ref F78.G46 (2nd floor open shelf). The two volumes of this collection provide a wide range of family history selections taken from six periodicals (three of which were published by the Rhode Island Historical Society). Entries are alphabetically listed by family.

Parker, J. Carlyle. Rhode Island Biographical and Genealogical Sketch Index. Turlock, CA: Marietta, 1991. Call # Local History Ref Z1331.P37 (2nd floor Open Shelf). Provides a pathfinder for biographical sketches of Rhode Islanders provided in city, county, regional, and state sources.


Cowell, Benjamin. Spirit of '76 in Rhode Island. Boston: A.J. Wright, 1850. Call # F845.19. Contains rosters, but is not indexed. Also consult the Newberry's pathfinder sheet Genealogical Research on Revolutionary War Patriots.

Daughters of the American Revolution. Minority Military Service: Rhode Island 1775-1783. Call # E263 .R4 M55. Lists names of African Americans (both enslaved and free) as well as American Indians who enlisted with the U.S. Army.

Rhode Island Adjutant General. Report. Providence, 1866. Call # Local History Ref E528.2.R47 1865 (2nd floor open shelf). Regimental rosters for the Civil War.

The Roster of Union Soldiers 1861-1865: Rhode Island, Connecticut. Wilmington, NC: Broadfoot, 1997. Call # Local History Ref. E494.R67 1997 (2nd floor open shelf).

Specific Populations

Henry, Lorraine Rainwaters. Native American Directory: Vital Records of Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, and Wisconsin. Bowie, MD: Heritage, 1998. Call # E 76.2 .H47. Names are organized alphabetically, not by region. Good source for a researcher who already has the name of their subject.

Quintin, Robert J. (publisher). Franco-American Burials of Rhode Island. Call # folio F90 .F85 Q56. Lists names of Franco-Americans as listed in Rhode Island cemeteries; most entries date from the 20th century.