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How to Find Rhode Island Death Records

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Finding Rhode Island Death Records[edit | edit source]

State wide registration of deaths in Rhode Island began in 1853. Earlier death records dating back to 1636 were kept by the towns.


If you cannot locate your ancestor in the databases below, try searching for death information in other records with death information.


1. Look first in 2. Then search
Church Records

Newspapers
Military Records
Obituaries

Census Records

Cemetery Records
Death Records
Bible Records



Next Step: When did the death occur? [edit | edit source]

Death Records
Choose a time period:

Learn more about U.S. Death Records


Deaths 1636 to present[edit | edit source]

Towns began keeping death records as early as 1636. In 1700 the laws concerning vital records registration were made more specific and the records after that time are more complete. State wide registration of deaths began in 1853 and was generally complied with by the 1900s.

For deaths that occurred in this time period try the following databases:

Rhode Island Deaths Databases - Includes Index and Digital Images

Try 1st:


1724-1916 at FamilySearch.org Free; Rhode Island, Marriages, 1724-1916: Name index to death records from the state of Rhode Island. Index only.
Try 2nd:


1802-1950 at FamilySearch.org Free; Rhode Island, Deaths and Burials, 1802-1950: Name index to death and burial records from the state of Rhode Island. Index only.
Try 3rd:
1846-1898, 1901-1953 at FamilySearch.org Free; Rhode Island, Vital records, 1846-1898, 1901-1953: Death certificates from the State Archives in Providence. Index and images.
Try 4th:


1636-1850 at Ancestry.com ($) Free at family history centers; Find your local FamilySearch Center; Vital Records of Rhode Island, First Series, Births, Marriages and Deaths: a family register for the people. Also digitized on the Family History Library Catalog.
Try 5th:


1630-1930 at Ancestry.com ($) Free at family history centers; Find your local FamilySearch Center; Rhode Island, Deaths taken from existing copies of town and county records.
If these searches don't work, try:

Can't find your ancestor in the online index? Tips for searching online indexes
No death record for your ancestor? other records with death information.

Obtain the Record[edit | edit source]

With the approximate death date and place, you can locate death records available through the city or town  where the death occurred or from the Rhode Island State Archives.

To Order Death Certificates
From Town of the Death Rhode Island State Archives
Pros Cons Pros Cons
May be less expensive and faster than ordering from the state Town websites can be more difficult to use records 100 years and older have no restrictions
May be more expensive than ordering from the Town

Record Restrictions[edit | edit source]

There are no restrictions for obtaining a certificate for a death that occurred 50 or more years ago.

To obtain a record for a death that occurred less than 50 year ago you must be:

  • person named on the certificate
  • a member of his/her immediate family
  • his/her guardian, or an authorized agent of these individuals
  • Attorneys-at-law, title examiners, or members of legally incorporated genealogical societies conducting their official duties
  • person requiring information to determine or protect a personal or property right
  • person who has been granted a court order instructing the registrar to provide the document


If you do not want to order the death record, you can search other records with death information.

1. Look first in 2. Then search
Church Records

Newspapers
Military Records
Obituaries

Census Records

Cemetery Records
Death Records
Bible Records

Return to top: Choose another death year



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