Rhode Island Church Records

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Before 1900 the largest religious groups in Rhode Island were the Baptist, Congregational, Methodist, Protestant Episcopal, and Roman Catholic. Many of the early settlers were members of the Society of Friends.

Some records of the Baptist, Congregational, Episcopal, Methodist, and Society of Friends churches are published in volumes 7 to 11 of James Arnold, The Vital Records of Rhode Island (see Rhode Island Vital Records). A list of churches and the types of records available in 1941 is Guide to the Church Vital Statistics in the State of Rhode Island (Providence: Historical Records Survey, 1941; Family History Library book 974.5 V2h; film 982351 item 2; fiche 6046673).

The Family History Library has an extensive collection of church records for many denominations in Rhode Island. Many denominations have collected their records into central repositories. You can write to the following addresses to learn where their records are located:


American Baptist-Samuel Colgate Historical Society
1106 S. Goodman Street
Rochester, NY 14620-2532
Telephone: 716-473-1740
Fax: 716-473-1740
Internet: http://www.baptisthistory.us/collections.php

An inventory of their holdings is in American Baptist Historical Society, The Records of American Baptists in Rhode Island and Related Organizations (Rochester, New York: American Baptist Historical Society, 1981; Family History Library book 974.5 Al No. 12; fiche 6093151). Another useful guide is Inventory of Church Archives in Rhode Island: Baptist Bodies (Providence: Historical Records Survey, 1939; Family History Library book 974.5 K23n; film 982350 item 2).


The Congregational Library
14 Beacon Street
Boston, MA 02108-3704
Telephone: 617-523-0470
Fax: 617-523-0491
Internet: http://www.14beacon.org/


Diocese of Connecticut
135 Asylum Avenue
Hartford, CT 06105-2295
Telephone: 860-233-4481
Fax: 860-523-1410
Internet: http://www.ctdiocese.org/index.cfm


Boston University Theological School Library
745 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
Telephone: 617-353-3034
Fax: 617-353-3061
Internet: http://www.bu.edu/sth/library/

United Methodist Archives Center
Drew University Library
P.O. Box 127
Madison, NJ 07940
Telephone: 201-408-3189
Fax: 201-408-3909
Internet: http://depts.drew.edu/lib/methodist/

Roman Catholic

Diocese of Providence
The Chancery Office
34 Fenner Street
Providence, RI 02903-3695
Telephone: 401-278-4500
Fax: 401-278-4548
Internet: http://www.dioceseofprovidence.org/

A helpful history of the Roman Catholic Church is Thomas F. Cullen, The Catholic Church in Rhode Island(North Providence, Rhode Island: Franciscan Missionaries of Mary, 1936; Family History Library book 974.5 K2c; film 1598368 item 12).

Society of Friends

Archives of the New England Yearly Meeting of the Society of Friends
Internet: http://www.neym.org/

Rhode Island Historical Society
121 Hope Street
Providence, RI 02906
Telephone: 401-331-8575
Fax: 401-751-7930
Internet: http://www.rihs.org/