Rhode Island Military Records

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United States Gotoarrow-kelly.png U.S. Military Records Gotoarrow-kelly.png Rhode Island Gotoarrow-kelly.png Introduction

United States Military Records provides more information on federal military records and search strategies.

Many military records are found at the Family History Library, the National Archives and other federal and state archives. For Rhode Island, the following sources are also very helpful:

Colonial Wars (1731-1774)

Published rosters of soldiers include:

  • Chapin, Howard. M. A List of Rhode Island Soldiers and Sailors in King George's War: 1740-1748. Providence: Rhode Island Historical Society, 1920. (Family History Library book 974.5 M2ch; film 1425647 item 11.)
  • Chapin, Howard M. Rhode Island in the Colonial Wars; A List of Rhode Island Soldiers and Sailors in the Old French and Indian War 1755-1762. Providence: Rhode Island Historical Society, 1918. (Family History Library book 974.5 M2c; film 1425576 item 5.)

The Rhode Island Historical Society has additional military records of soldiers who served from 1731 to 1774 (Family History Library films 953925-30).

Revolutionary War (1775-1783)

The Family History Library and the National Archives have the federal service and pension records and indexes for the Revolutionary War. The Rhode Island Historical Society also has military papers for 1774 to 1792 (Family History Library film 953931-37; 954925-55).

The 1835 Pension Roll of Rhode Island is available twice at Ancestry.com ($):

  1. The Pension Roll of 1835, Vol. I
  2. Rhode Island Pensioners, 1835

War of 1812 (1812-1815)

The Family History Library has copies of the National Archives federal service and pension indexes. The library also has state military papers that include some enlistment certificates for soldiers (Family History Library films 954957-58).


Fort Adams -- Textual records of this fort, 1851-1913, including registers, reports, and correspondence, are in the National Archives and are described in Records of United States Army, Continental Commands, 1821-1920, under the section entitled Records of Posts, 1820-1940 (Record Group 393.7).

One fort on Goat Island, Rhode Island, was given the following 5 names over a period of many years: Fort Liberty, Fort Anne, Fort George, Fort Washington and Fort Wolcott.  See "Goat Island".

Civil War (1861-1865)

See Rhode Island in the Civil War for information about Rhode Island Civil War records, web sites, etc. with links to articles about the Rhode Island regiments involved in the Civil War. The regimental pages often include lists of the companies with links to the counties where the companies started. Men in the companies often lived in the counties where the companies were raised. Knowing a county can help when researching more about the soldiers and their families.

The Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System allows name searching for soldiers. The result set gives the regiments for the soldiers. Then you can check the Wiki regiment pages to determine counties. Often knowing the counties that had men in a regiment will help you determine if a soldier was your ancestor.

World War I (1917-1918)

World War I draft registration cards for men age 18 to 45 may list address, birth date, birthplace, race, nationality, citizenship and next of kin. Not all registrants served in the war. For registration cards for Rhode Island, see:

  • United States. Selective Service System. Rhode Island, World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. National Archives Microfilm Publications, M1509. Washington, DC: National Archives, 1987-1988. (On Family History Library films beginning with 1852212.)

Or Ancestry.com has these cards online for a fee.

To find an individual's draft card, it helps to know his name and residence at the time of registration. The cards are arranged alphabetically by county, within the county by draft board, and then alphabetically by surname within each draft board.

Most counties had only one board; large cities had several. A map showing the boundaries of individual draft boards is available for most large cities. Finding an ancestor's street address in a city directory will help you in using the draft board map. There is an alphabetical list of cities that are on the map. For a copy of this map, see:

  • United States. Selective Service System. List of World War One Draft Board Maps. Washington, DC: National Archives. (Family History Library film 1498803.)

Additional Military Records

The Rhode Island State Archives has a card index to military and naval records for the years 1774 to 1805. The Family History Library has a copy on 19 microfilms (Family History Library films 934758-74 and 1000369).

State records from the World War I to the present are at the Adjutant General's Office, Command Readiness Center, 645 New London Ave., Cranston, Rhode Island 02920- 3097, Telephone: 401-457-4102, Fax: 401-457-4338.

Rhode Island USGenweb Project Archives

Web Sites


Rhode Island Research Outline. Salt Lake City, Utah: Intellectual Reserve, Inc., Family History Department, 1998, 2001.

NOTE: All of the information from the original research outline has been imported into this Wiki site and is being updated as time permits.