Rhode Island, State Census, 1915 (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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Rhode Island State Census, 1915 .
This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Rhode Island, United States
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Flag of Rhode Island
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Location of Rhode Island
Record Description
Record Type State Census
Collection years 1915
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites

What is in the Collection?

The collection consists of an index to population schedule of the census of Rhode Island taken by the state in 1915. The 1915 state census of Rhode Island lists residents of Rhode Island as of April 15, 1915. Residents are listed by household and relationship to head of household is given. Children born after April 15, 1915 were not included. The census is arranged by county and then enumeration district. Microfilm copies of original records are available at the Family History Library and at Family History Centers.

Enumeration Districts 108 through 113 (Cranston, Ward 2) are missing.

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Rhode Island State Census, 1915.

Collection Content

Rhode Island began taking its own census every ten years beginning in 1865. Includes most individuals within the counties enumerated.

The state census was taken in order to enumerate the population for representation purposes. Censuses are usually reliable, depending on the knowledge of the informant and the care of the census enumerator. Information may have been given to a census taker by any member of the family or by a neighbor. Some information may have been incorrect or deliberately falsified. Population schedules were handwritten on printed forms by the enumerators. They are arranged by county and community.

What Can this Collection Tell Me?

Information found in the Rhode Island State Census for the year 1915 includes:

  • City/town, county and congressional district of enumeration
  • Full name of individuals living in household on 15 Apr 1915
  • Relationship to head of household
  • Gender, race and age of each person
  • Date and place of birth of each person
  • Parents' birthplace
  • Naturalized citizen or alien
  • Occupation
  • Self-employed of working for another on 1 Apr 1915

How Do I Search the Collection?

Search by Name by visiting the Collection Page:
Fill in your ancestor’s name in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about those in the list to what you already know about your own ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person.

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page:
To view the images you will need to follow this series of links:
⇒Select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page
⇒Select the appropriate "County"
⇒Select the appropriate "Township/City/Town/Village/Ward"
⇒Select the appropriate "Enumeration District" which takes you to the images.

Look at each image comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine if the image relates to them. You may need to look at several images and compare the information about the individuals listed in those images to your ancestors to make this determination.

With either search keep in mind:

  • There may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
  • You may not be sure of your own ancestor’s name.
  • Your ancestor may have used different names or variations of their name throughout their life.

For tips about searching on-line collections see the on-line article FamilySearch Search Tips and Tricks.

What Do I Do Next?

When you have located your ancestor in the census, carefully evaluate each piece of information about them. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors.

I Found Who I was Looking for, What Now?

  • Use the age listed to determine an approximate birth date. This date along with the place of birth can help you find a birth record. Birth records often list biographical and marital details about the parents and close relatives other than the immediate family.
  • Birth places can tell you former residences and can help to establish a migration pattern for the family.
  • Use the race information to find records related to that ethnicity such as records of the Freedman’s Bureau or Indian censuses.
  • Use the naturalization information to find their naturalization papers in the county court records. It can also help you locate immigration records such as a passenger list which would usually be kept records at the port of entry into the United States.
  • Occupations listed can lead you to employment records or other types of records such as school records; children’s occupations are often listed as “at school.”
  • It is often helpful to extract the information on all families with the same surname in the same general area. If the surname is uncommon, it is likely that those living in the same area were related.
  • Be sure to extract all families before you look at other records. The relationships given will help you to organize family groups. The family groupings will help you identify related families when you discover additional information in other records.
  • Married family members may have lived nearby but in a separate household so you may want to search an entire town, neighboring towns, or even a county.
  • You may be able to identify an earlier generation if elderly parents were living with or close by a married child.
  • You may be able to identify a younger generation if a young married couple still lived with one of their sets of parents.
  • Additional searches may be needed to locate all members of a particular family in the census.
  • The census may identify persons for whom other records do not exist.

I Can't Find Who I'm Looking for, What Now?

  • Look for variant spellings of the names. You should also look for nicknames and abbreviated names.
  • Be sure to search both the male section (listed first) and the female section.
  • Try alternative search methods such as only filling in the surname search box (or the given name search box) on the landing page leaving the other box empty and then click on search. This should return a list of everyone with that particular name. You could then browse the list for individuals with the same family number.
  • There is also the possibility that a family was missed in the census.

For a summary of this information see the wiki article: United States, How to Use the Records Summary (FamilySearch Historical Records)

Citing this Collection

Citing your sources makes it easy for others to find and evaluate the records you used. When you copy information from a record, list where you found that information. Here you can find citations already created for the entire collection and for each individual record or image.

Collection Citation:

"Rhode Island State Census, 1915." Database with Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2016. Citing Census Board. State Archives, Providence.

Record Citation (or citation for the index entry):

The citation for a record is available with each record in this collection, at the bottom of the record screen. You can search records in this collection by visiting the search page for Rhode Island State Census, 1915.

Image Citation:

The image citation is available by clicking on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen. You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Rhode Island State Census, 1915.

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