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Contents

Introduction

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; At various libraries (WorldCat); 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:

Baptist

American Baptist-Samuel Colgate Historical Society
1106 S. Goodman Street
Rochester, NY 14620-2532
Phone: (716) 473-1740
Fax: (716) 473-1740

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; At various libraries (WorldCat); 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).

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons)

Early church records, for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for Rhode Island Wards and Branches can be found on film and are located at the LDS Family History Library in Salt Lake City. The film numbers, for each ward, can be locate through the Family History Library Catalog. Or by refering to Jaussi, Laureen R., and Gloria D. Chaston. Register of Genealogical Society Call Numbers. 2 vols. Provo, Utah: Genealogy Tree, 1982. (FHL book 979.2258 A3j; fiche 6031507). These volumes contain the film numbers for many (but not all) membership and temple record films.

Congregational

The Congregational Library
14 Beacon Street
Boston, MA 02108-3704
Phone: (617) 523-0470
Fax: (617) 523-0491

Episcopal

Diocese of Connecticut
135 Asylum Avenue
Hartford, CT 06105-2295
Phone: (860) 233-4481
Fax: (860) 523-1410

Huguenot

Reformed

Sacred Journey Church of Providence, Rhode Island
91 Fricker St.
Providence, RI
Phone: (401) 484-0752

Methodist

Boston University Theological School Library
745 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
Phone: (617) 353-3034
Fax: (617) 353-3061

United Methodist Archives Center
Drew University Library
P.O. Box 127
Madison, NJ 07940
Phone: (201) 408-3189
Fax: (201) 408-3909

Roman Catholic

Diocese of Providence
The Chancery Office
34 Fenner Street
Providence, RI 02903-3695
Phone: (401) 278-4500
Fax: (401) 278-4548

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; At various libraries (WorldCat); Family History Library book 974.5 K2c; film 1598368 item 12).

The diocese includes the counties of: Kent, Newport, Providence and Washington

Society of Friends

New England Yearly Meeting of the Society of Friends

Rhode Island Historical Society
121 Hope Street
Providence, RI 02906
Phone: (401) 331-8575
Fax: (401) 751-7930


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