Rhode Island, Town Clerk, Vital and Town Records - FamilySearch Historical Records

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Rhode Island,Town Clerk, Vital and Town Records, 1630-1945
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Rhode Island, 
United States
Rhode Island flag.png
Flag of Rhode Island
US Locator Rhode Island.png
Location of Rhode Island
Record Description
Record Type Vital
Collection years 1630-1945
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Archive
Various city archives, Rhode Island


What is in This Collection?[edit | edit source]

This collection contains vital and town records acquired from local town clerk offices for the years 1630 to 1915. Additional images and indexed records will be published as they become available. Some of these records have been indexed and are searchable.

Image Visibility[edit | edit source]

Whenever possible FamilySearch makes images and indexes available for all users. However, rights to view these data are limited by contract and subject to change. Because of this there may be limitations on where and how images and indexes are available or who can see them. Please be aware some collections consist only of partial information indexed from the records and do not contain any images. For additional information about image restrictions see Restrictions for Viewing Images in FamilySearch Historical Record Collections.

To Browse This Collection[edit | edit source]

You can browse through images in this collection using the waypoints on the Collection Browse Page for Rhode Island,Town Clerk, Vital and Town Records, 1630-1945.

What Can These Records Tell Me?[edit | edit source]

The following information may be found in these records:

Vital and town records

  • Name of the primary individuals
  • Date of the event such as marriage or death
  • Place of the event
  • Name of other family members such as parents or spouse
  • Age
  • Birthplace
  • Residence
  • Occupation
  • Officiator at the service or event

Collection Content[edit | edit source]

Sample Images[edit | edit source]

How Do I Search This Collection?[edit | edit source]

Before searching this collection, it is helpful to know:

  • The name of your ancestor
  • Residence
  • Age
  • An approximate year of birth, marriage, or death
  • Any known family relationships

Search the Index[edit | edit source]

Search by name on the Collection Details Page.
  1. Fill in the search boxes in the Search Collection section with the information you know
  2. Click Search to show possible matches

View the Images[edit | edit source]

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page:

  1. Select County
  2. Select Town
  3. Select Record Type, Date Range and Volume to view the images.

What Do I Do Next?[edit | edit source]

When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors.

I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]

  • Add any new information to your records
  • Use the marriage date and place as the basis for compiling a new family group or for verifying existing information
  • Use the birth date or age along with the place of birth of each partner to find a couple's birth records and parents' names
  • Use the birth date or age along with the place of birth to find the family in census records
  • Use the residence and names of the parents to locate church and land records
  • Use the parents' birth places to find former residences and to establish a migration pattern for the family
  • The name of the officiator may be a clue to their religion or area of residence in the county
  • The name of the undertaker or mortuary could lead you to funeral and cemetery records, which often include the names and residences of other family members
  • Compile the entries for every person who has the same surname; this is especially helpful in rural areas or if the surname is unusual
  • Continue to search the records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives who may have been born, married, or died in the same county or nearby. This can help you identify other generations of your family or even the second marriage of a parent. Repeat this process for each new generation you identify
  • When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct
  • The information in marriage records is usually reliable, but depends upon the reliability of the informant
  • Earlier records may not contain as much information as the records created after the late 1900s
  • There is also some variation in the information given from one marriage record to another record

I Can't Find the Person I'm Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]

  • Check for variant spellings of the surnames
  • Search for the marriage record of the marriage partner if known
  • Check for an index. There are often indexes at the beginning of each volume. Local genealogical and historical societies often have indexes to local records
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby counties
  • Search the FamilySearch Catalog to see if other records for this place are available

Research Helps[edit | edit source]

The following articles will help you in your research for your family in the state of Rhode Island.

Citing This Collection[edit | edit source]

Citations help you keep track of places you have searched and sources you have found. Identifying your sources helps others find the records you used.

Collection Citation:
The citation for this collection can be found on the Collection Details Page in the section Citing this Collection.
Record Citation:
When looking at a record, the citation can be viewed by clicking the drop-down arrow next to Document Information.
Image Citation:
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.