Rhode Island CensusEdit This Page

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  • If at first you don't find a name, try again under another spelling.
  • Photocopy each ancestor's census. Identify where you found it.
  • Look for an ancestor in every census during her or his lifetime.
  • On the family group record show each person's census listings.
  • Study others in the same household, neighbors, and anyone with the similar names nearby on the census in community context.


  • For a list of the exact date of each federal census, click here.

Online Rhode Island indexes and images

1900-1940

Online Federal and State Population Schedules of Rhode Island 
  Free Free at Some Libraries (usually with a library card)* Pay
Family
Search[1]
Internet Archive[2]  Misc.  Heritage Quest[3] Fold3[4] Ancestry FHL[5] Ancestry Library[5] Ancestry Home[5] Archives[6] Family Link[7]
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1830-1885

Online Federal and State Population Schedules of Rhode Island 
  Free Free at Some Libraries (usually with a library card)* Pay
Family
Search[1]
Internet Archive[2]  Misc.  Heritage Quest[3] Fold3[4] Ancestry FHL[5] Ancestry Library[5] Ancestry Home[5] Archives[6] Family Link[7]
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1774-1820

Online Federal and State Population Schedules of Rhode Island 
  Free Free at Some Libraries (usually with a library card)* Pay
Family
Search[1]
Internet Archive[2]  Misc.  Heritage Quest[3] Fold3[4] Ancestry FHL[5] Ancestry Library[5] Ancestry Home[5] Archives[6] Family Link[7]
1820 indexes Link - - Link - Link Link Link Link -
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  Family Search Internet Archive Misc.  Heritage Quest Fold3 Ancestry FHL  Ancestry Library  Ancestry Home Archives Family Link
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Federal population schedules

Microfilm images

Federal Census Microfilms Available from the Family History Library
1940 N/A 1910 and Soundex 1870  1840-1790
1930 1900 and Soundex 1860
1920 and Soundex 1880 and Soundex 1850


Federal Census Microfilms Available from the National Archives
1940 N/A 1910 T624  1860 M653      1820 M33
1930 T626 1900 T623 and Soundex T1069 1850 M432 1810 M252
1920 T625 and Soundex M1585 1880 T9 and Soundex T770 1840 M704 1800 M32
  1870 M593 1830 M19 1790 M637 

Indexes: fiche, film, or book

For a list of microform and book indexes for the population schedules of Rhode Island, click here

Federal non-population schedules

Online indexes and images

Online Federal Non-Population Schedules for Rhode Island

Free Free at Some Libraries (usually with library card) Pay
Year Type Record Search Census Bureau Google Book Heritage Quest Ancestry FHL Ancestry Library Ancestry Home
1890 Veterans Link - - - Link Link Link
1880 Mortality Link - - - Link Link Link
1870 Mortality Link - - - Link Link Link
1860 Mortality Link - - - Link Link Link
1850 Mortality Link - - - Link Link Link
1840 Pensioners Link BookLink BookLink - Link Link Link

Microfilm images

Freemen of 1747 Males 16 years of age and upwards, 1777

Indexes: fiche, film, or book

For a list of microform and book indexes for the non-population schedules of Rhode Island, click here.

State and colonial censuses

Rhode Island often took censuses in the years between the federal censuses, the dates are listed below. State census records may have columns that were different or more unusual than those found on federal censuses. The responses and years of coverage may give additional information on the family.

Rhode Island state and colonial census schedules[8][9]
Exact Date Population Schedules
1935 *  Exist
1925  Exist
1915  Exist
1905  Exist
1895  All lost, except Warren Town in Bristol County.
1885  Exist
1875  Exist
1865  Exist
1855  Providence City only.
1782   Exist, combination of census and tax lists.
1777   Exist, except for the towns of Exeter, Little Compton, Middletown, Newport, New Shoreham, and Portsmouth. 
1774  Exist
1747  Census of freemen; very illegible. 

*Although the schedules are dated January through March 1936, the data refers to 1935 and this is officially referred to as the 1935 census.

1865 An index to the 1865 census is on Family History Library films 934776-99.

1747 to 1754, 1774, 1782 These censuses generally name the head of the household and the number of persons in the family. Many of these have been published, for example:

  • Mildred M. Chamberlain, The Rhode Island 1777 Military Census (Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1985; Family History Library book 974.5 M2cm).
  • John R. Bartlett, comp., Census of the Inhabitants of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, 1774 (Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1969; Family History Library book 974.5 X2pb, fiche 6046611).
  • Linda L. Matthew, "1774 Census of Rhode Island" in Rhode Island Roots: Journal of the Rhode Island Genealogical Society, 35, no. 4 (Dec 2009): 193 (Last of the publication which started 6 years earlier).

The original 1865, 1875, 1885, and 1905 to 1936 state censuses are at the Rhode Island State Archives.

Existing and lost censuses

For a list of available and missing Rhode Island censuses, click here.

Why use a census?

A well-indexed census is one of the easiest ways to locate where an ancestor's family lived and when they lived there. You can also use censuses to follow the changes in a family over time, and identify neighbors. These and other clues provided by censuses are important because they help find additional kinds of records about the family.

More about censuses

Click here for additional details about how to use censuses, such as:

Sources and footnotes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 FamilySearch, a free online service of the Family History Library, including free images of many federal censuses, including an index of the 1880 federal census of the United States; connected with 1880 census images provided by Ancestry.com, a subscription site.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Internet Archive, a free online service includes free images of most of the federal censuses.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 HeritageQuest has arranged with many subscribing public libraries in the United States to allow users free access on home computers by means of their personal library card numbers. HeritageQuest provides images of all surviving 1790 to 1930 federal censuses, and indexes to many but not all of them.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Fold3, formerly known as Footnote.com, a subscription site partnering with the National Archives and includes some federal censuses. Free access is available at many public libraries.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 5.8 Ancestry.com, a subscription site that provides online indexes and images to all surviving federal and many state census records, among other sources. They have three online editions: (1) an FHL edition free only at the Family History Library and a few Family History Centers, (2) a slightly smaller Library edition free only at some public libraries, and (3) a Home edition subscription service for individuals.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Archives.com, a subscription site that provides online indexes and images to all surviving federal census records, among other sources.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 FamilyLink.com, a subscription site that provides online images (and some indexes) to all surviving federal and many state census records, among other sources.
  8. Ann S. Lainhart, State Census Records (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992), 99-101.
  9. Henry J. Dubester, State Censuses: An Annotated Bibliography of Censuses of Population Taken After the Year 1790 by States and Territories of the United States (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1948), 54-57, 71-72.


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  • This page was last modified on 7 May 2012, at 23:35.
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