How to Find Rhode Island Birth Records
State wide registration of births in Rhode Island began in 1853. Earlier birth records dating back to 1636 were kept by the towns.
If you cannot locate your ancestor in the databases below, try searching for birth information in other records.
Next Step: When did the birth occur?
Births 1636 to present
Towns began keeping birth records as early as 1636. In 1700 the laws concerning vital records registration were made more specific and the records after that time are more complete. State wide registration of births began in 1853 and was generally complied with by the 1900s.
For births that occurred in this time period try the following databases:
|Rhode Island Births Databases - Includes Index and Digital Images|
|1600-1914 - At FamilySearch.org||Free; Rhode Island Births and Christenings: Name index to birth, baptism and christening records from a variety of sources.|
|1636-1850 Vital Records of Rhode Island, First Series, Births, Marriages and Deaths: a family register for the people||Ancestry Library edition - Free at FamilySearch Centers and Libraries; Find your local FamilySearch Center OR use your own Ancestry subscription.|
|1636-1899 Rhode Island, Vital Extracts||Ancestry Library edition - Free at FamilySearch Centers and Libraries; Find your local FamilySearch Center OR use your own Ancestry subscription.|
|1636-1930 Rhode Island, Births||Ancestry Library edition - Free at FamilySearch Centers and Libraries; Find your local FamilySearch Center OR use your own Ancestry subscription.|
|Can't find your ancestor in the online index?||Tips for searching online indexes|
|No birth record for your ancestor?||Other records with birth information|
Obtain the Record
|To Order Birth Certificates|
|From Town of Birth||Rhode Island State Archives|
|May be less expensive and faster than ordering from the state||Town websites can be more difficult to use|| records 100 years and older have no restrictions
||May be more expensive than ordering from the Town|
There are no restrictions for obtaining a certificate for a birth that occurred 100 or more years ago.
To obtain a record for a birth that occurred less than 100 year ago you must be:
- person named on the certificate
- a member of his/her immediate family
- his/her guardian, or an authorized agent of these individuals
- Attorneys-at-law, title examiners, or members of legally incorporated genealogical societies conducting their official duties
- person requiring information to determine or protect a personal or property right
- person who has been granted a court order instructing the registrar to provide the document
If you do not want to order the birth record, you can search other records with birth information.
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