Rhode Island Land and Property

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Prescott Farm in Middletown, Rhode Island

Online Resources[edit | edit source]

Colony Records[edit | edit source]

The earliest land grants were made by the colony. The records of these grants are known as "land evidences." The original documents are at the Rhode Island State Archives.

Land evidences can also be found in:

  • Records of Rhode Island, 1638-1644, (Microfilm of manuscripts in the Rhode Island State Archives in Providence, Rhode Island. Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1974.) FHL film 954960 Item 3
  • Louise Prosser Bates, Peirce Manuscripts of Rhode Island Land Evidences 1686-1826, (Microfilm of manuscripts in the Rhode Island Historical Society. Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1950.) FHL films 22291 and 22292

Proprietors' Records[edit | edit source]

In the colonial period, the general assembly granted land to groups of colonists who became the proprietors of towns. These proprietors divided the land into portions owned by individuals and portions owned in common. The proprietors, in turn, sold land to other individuals. The proprietors' records begin as early as 1659 for the Narragansett area (southern Rhode Island). Transcripts of some of the records, 1659 to 1686, are in James N. Arnold, The Records of the Proprietors of the Narragansett (Providence, Rhode Island): Narragansett Historical Publishing, 1894. At various libraries (WorldCat); (FHL Collection film 1033805 item 2).

Colony and State Records[edit | edit source]

Some land transfers and grants are recorded in the Proceedings of the General Assembly, 1646 to 1851. These are at the Rhode Island State Archives and at the Family History Library on 18 microfilms FHL films starting with film 954959

Town Records[edit | edit source]

After proprietors sold their land or a town was incorporated, the town recorded deeds and mortgages. The Family History Library has copies of the town records to about 1880. From the Recorder of Deeds, for example, the library has 218 microfilms of deeds and mortgages for the years 1677 to 1901. Documents from the town of Providence and other early settlements have been published in many volumes.

The FamilySearch Catalog has more than 250 matching titles for a keyword search of "Rhode Island land records".Go to the FamilySearch Catalog Online

Deeds and other land records for most Rhode Island towns are on film and can be found in the FamilySearch Catalog by doing a Place Search under:




References[edit | edit source]