Rhode Island GenealogyEdit This Page
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Most archives, historical societies, and genealogical societies have special collections and indexes of genealogical value. These must usually be searched in person.
Manuscript Collections and Indexes
- Rhode Island Historical Society. The largest collection of manuscript genealogical material is at the Rhode Island Historical Society. The society's catalog indexes both published and manuscript genealogies, the DAR collection, Benn's index to Rhode Island grave records, and some genealogies of Rhode Island families that have been published in periodicals. The catalog was filmed in 1950. FHL films 022425-26
- Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Collection. This collection consists of transcripts of Bible, cemetery, church, marriage, death, obituary, and will records. It was microfilmed in 1971 at the DAR Library in Washington, D.C., and is available at the Rhode Island Historical Society and at the Family History Library. FHL films 855238 (first of 23) The volumes are generally arranged by county, and each is indexed. The Rhode Island Historical Society has a DAR Records Card Index to the volumes.
- Sidney S. Rider Collection. This valuable, though difficult to use, collection is at the John Hay Library (Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island 02912). This collection of 5,000 books and 10,000 pamphlets includes periodicals, correspondence, newspaper clippings and index (about 1808 to 1868), church histories, military records, city directories, local histories, biographies, and many manuscript sources such as private journals, deeds, and wills.
- Bates Collection of Genealogical Databy Louise Prosser Bates. This 88-volume collection is on microfilm at the Rhode Island Historical Society and at the Family History Library. FHL films 022275-90 It contains abstracts of deeds, land grants, probate records, genealogies, town records, and cemetery records. The index to the collection is on FHL films 022268-74.
- Genealogical Index Rhode Island Records by Frank T. Calef. This is a card index to Rhode Island town vital records, freeman lists, cemetery burials, colonial censuses, and other records. It was microfilmed in 1950 at the Rhode Island Historical Society and is at the Family History Library FHL films 022431-72 It is listed in the Family History Library Catalog under RHODE ISLAND - VITAL RECORDS - INDEXES.
- Briggs Collection by Anthony Tarbox Briggs. This large collection is at the Rhode Island Historical Society. It contains typed transcripts of wills, cemetery records, vital records, and family records for families from the towns of West Greenwich, Exeter, and Coventry. The volumes and an index were microfilmed in 1950. FHL films 022293-317
- Collection Rhode Island Family Records by Martha A. Benns. This is a collection of will abstracts and family records at the Rhode Island Historical Society. The Family History Library has a microfilm copy. FHL film 022423 and FHL film 022392 index.
- To locate genealogies through the Family History Library catalog, use the Place-names Search for:
- RHODE ISLAND - GENEALOGY
- RHODE ISLAND, [COUNTY] - GENEALOGY
Many additional collections, some of which are listed in the Family History Library Catalog, are described in Rhode Island Sources for Family Historians and Genealogists (see Rhode Island For Further Reading).
Published Genealogies and Indexes
Many genealogies have been researched and published for the colonial states. Names of the earliest immigrants and settlers have been identified. Examples of numerous published sources are:
- Austin, John Osborne. The Genealogical Dictionary of Rhode Island: Comprising Three Generations of Settlers Who Came Before 1690 (with Many Families Carried to the Fourth Generation). Reprint with additions and corrections. (Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1978.) FHL book Q 974.5 D26a; film 022257; index on film 022258
- Cutter, William Richard. New England Families: Genealogical and Memorial. Four Volumes. 1913. Reprinted and enlarged. (New York, NY: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1914.) FHL films 164686-89; book 974 D2c 1913; and FHL films 962340-41; fiche 6051510-12; book 974 D2c 1914 A surname index to this and other series by Cutter relating to New England is Norma Olin Ireland and Winifred Irving, Cutter Index: A Consolidated Index of Cutter's Nine Genealogy Series (Fallbrook, California: Ireland Indexing Service, 197?) FHL film 1036507 item 6; fiche 6046737; book 974 D2ci
- Genealogies of Rhode Island Families: From Rhode Island Periodicals. Two Volumes. (Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1983.) FHL book 974.5 D2g. This indexes six periodicals.
- Greenlaw, William Prescott. The Greenlaw Index of the New England Historic Genealogical Society. Two Volumes. (Boston: G. K. Hall, 1979.) At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL book Q 974 D22g This is an index to many local histories and genealogies published between 1900 and about 1940.
- New England Historic Genealogical Society. English Origins of New England Families: From the New England Historical and Genealogical Register. First Series, Three Volumes, 1984. Second Series, Three Volumes, 1985. (Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Co.) FHL fiche 6047919–21; book 974 D2e second series FHL fiche 6047922-24; 974 D2en
- Rider, Fremont, ed. American Genealogical-Biographical Index. Volumes 1-186+. (Middletown, Connecticut: Godfrey Memorial Library, 1952-.) FHL book 973 D22am Digital version available through the FHL catalog entry. This is a continuing series. As of 1997, surnames A-Walker have been indexed. An earlier version in 48 volumes was published as The American Genealogical Index, 1942-51. FHL films 1425577-86; book 973 D22am Digital version available through the FHL catalog entry.
- Savage, James. A Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England. . . . Four Volumes. 1860-62. Reprint with added cross-index. (Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1965.) FHL film 1321056 items 1-4; book 974 D2s Digital version available through the FHL catalog entry.
- De Breffny, Brian, "The American Sailor Who Succeeded to an Irish Peerage." Genealogy of John de Courcy who became 25th Baron Kingsale, from Newport Rhode Island, covering years 1642-1763. Article in The Irish Ancestor vol. IV, no. 1. 1972 pages 1-7. Family History Library Ref. 941.5 B2i
- FamilySearch™ Internet Genealogy Service - Trees contains lineages organized into family groups and pedigrees with an every-name index. This was created from a database formerly known as Ancestral File.
- The Family History Library has an extensive collection of almost 50,000 published U.S. family histories and newsletters. Copies at the library are listed in the Last names Search of the Family History Library Catalog.
- Major collections of printed family histories are also found at most of the archives and libraries listed in United States Archives and Libraries. Most large libraries have indexes and catalogs to published family histories. For a list of the indexes and catalogs available at the Family History Library see the Family History section of United States Genealogy in the Wiki.
- National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections (NUCMC). "The National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections, established in 1959, is a cooperative cataloging program in which repositories from all over the United States open to the public report their holdings of manuscript collections to the Library of Congress. Staff members of the Manuscripts Section of the Library's Special Materials Cataloging Division prepare catalog entries for these reports, which are published annually in book form by the Library of Congress"--Index to personal names in the National Union Catalog of manuscript collections, 1959-1984, p. vii. An index is available at the Family History Library FHL book 016.091 N21 1959 to 1984
- Ancestry.com ($) Public and Private member trees.
- World Connect includes hundreds of thousands of ancestors in pedigrees and family trees with an easy to use index.
- Periodical Source Index (PERSI). There are more than 126,000 surnames included in the PERSI database which is available on the Internet at HeritageQuestOnline.com as well as at Ancestry.com. Both are subscription websites, but often available at local libraries.
Writing and Sharing Your Family History
Sharing your own family history is valuable for several reasons:
- It helps you see gaps in your own research and raises opportunities to find new information.
- It helps other researchers progress in researching ancestors you share in common.
- It draws other researchers to you who already have information about your family that you do not yet possess.
- It draws together researchers with common interests, sparking collaboration opportunities. For instance, researchers in various localities might choose to do lookups for each other in remote repositories. Your readers may also share photos of your ancestors that you have never seen before.
- See also:
- Genealogy Today
- Access Genealogy
- Rhodeisland Genealogy
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