Difference between revisions of "Rhode Island, State Census, 1885 (FamilySearch Historical Records)"

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.
Access the records: Rhode Island State Census, 1885 .
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Style Guide

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Collection Time Period

This census enumerated the population in 1885.

Record Description

The census information was handwritten on pre-printed sheets. The census is arranged by town and then alphabetically by males and females.

Record Content

Rhode Island 1885 State Census (10-0056) DGS 4539678 75.jpg

The census includes the following information:

  • Name of every person who resided in the family
  • Relationship to head of household
  • Age
  • Marital status
  • Sex
  • Race
  • Place of birth
  • Nativity of parents
  • Voting information for males over 21
  • Whether an alien or naturalized
  • Whether literate or not
  • Number of months in school
  • Any disabilities
  • Occupation


How to Use the Record

Begin your search by finding your ancestors in the index. Name indexes to marriages make it possible to access a specific marriage record quickly. Remember that these indexes may contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned.

When searching the index it is helpful to know the following:

  • The county where the marriage occurred.
  • The name of the person at the time of marriage.
  • The approximate marriage date.
  • The marriage place.
  • The name of the intended spouse.

Use the locator information found in the index (such as page, entry, or certificate number) to locate your ancestors in the marriage records. Compare the information in the marriage record to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct person. You may need to compare the information of more than one person to make this determination.

When you have located your ancestor’s marriage 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. Add this new information to your records of each family. For example:

  • 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.
  • Occupations listed can lead you to employment records or other types of records such as military records.
  • Use the parent’s birth places to find former residences and to establish a migration pattern for the family.
  • The name of the officiator is a clue to their religion or area of residence in the county. However, ministers may have reported marriages performed in other counties.
  • Compile the marriage entries for every person who has the same surname as the bride or groom, this is especially helpful in rural areas or if the surname is unusual.
  • Continue to search the marriage records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives of the bride and groom who may have married 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.

Keep in mind:

  • 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 1800s.
  • There is also some variation in the information given from one marriage record to another record.

If you are unable to find the ancestors you are looking for, try the following:

  • Check for variant spellings of the surnames.
  • Search for the marriage record of the marriage partner if known.
  • Check for a different index. There are often indexes at the beginning of each volume.
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby counties.

Record History

Rhode Island took state censuses in the following years:

  • 1865
  • 1875
  • 1885
  • 1905
  • 1915
  • 1925


Why This Record Was Created

The census was compiled to obtain a count of the population to determine how many representatives the state had for legislative purposes.

Record Reliability

Reliability of information in the census is determined by the accuracy of the knowledge of the informant. Informants could have been any member of the family or even a neighbor.

Related Websites:

This section of the article is incomplete. You can help FamilySearch Wiki by supplying links to related web sites here.

Related Wiki Articles

Rhode Island Censuses Existing and Lost


Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections

This will help you or others to find the record again. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the When you copy information from a record, you should also list where you found the information. records.

A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the Wiki Article: How to Cite FamilySearch Collections


Examples of Source Citations for a Record in This Collection:

Please add sample citations to this article following the format guidelines in the wiki article listed above.

Examples of citations:

  • United States. Bureau of the Census. 12th census, 1900, digital images, From FamilySearch Internet (www.familysearch.org: September 29, 2006), Arizona Territory, Maricopa, Township 1, East Gila, Salt River Base and Meridian; sheet 9B, line 71
  • Mexico, Distrito Federal, Catholic Church Records, 1886-1933, digital images, from FamilySearch Internet (www.familysearch.org: April 22, 2010), Baptism of Adolfo Fernandez Jimenez, 1 Feb. 1910, San Pedro Apóstol, Cuahimalpa, Distrito Federal, Mexico, film number 0227023

How Has This Article Helped You?

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Style Guide

For guidelines to use in creating wiki articles that describe collections of images and indexes produced by FamilySearch, see: FamilySearch Wiki:Guidelines for FamilySearch Collections pages

Sources of Information for This Collection

“Rhode Island State Census, 1885,” database, FamilySearch (http://familysearch.org/); from Rhode Island State Archives, Providence. FHL Microfilm, 12 rolls, Family History Library Salt Lake City, Utah.



We welcome your assistance in adding source citation information for individual archives when collection data was collected from various sources or archives. The format for citing FamilySearch Historical Collections, including how to cite individual archives is found in the following link: How to Create Source Citations For FamilySearch Historical Records Collections