Rhode Island Church Records
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:
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.
The Congregational Library
14 Beacon Street
Boston, MA 02108-3704
Phone: (617) 523-0470
Fax: (617) 523-0491
135 Asylum Avenue
Hartford, CT 06105-2295
Phone: (860) 233-4481
Fax: (860) 523-1410
- 1686-1691 - De Forest, L. Effingham. "Records of the French Church at Narragansett 1686-1691," The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, Vol. 70, No. 3 (Jul. 1939):236-241; Vol. 70, No. 4 (Oct. 1939):359-365; Vol. 71, No. 1 (Jan. 1940):51-60. Digital version at New York Family History ($); At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 974.7 B2n v. 70-71.
Sacred Journey Church of Providence, Rhode Island
91 Fricker St.
Phone: (401) 484-0752
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
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).
Society of Friends
Rhode Island Historical Society
121 Hope Street
Providence, RI 02906
Phone: (401) 331-8575
Fax: (401) 751-7930
Wiki articles describing online collections are found at:
- Rhode Island Births and Christenings (FamilySearch Historical Records)
- Rhode Island Deaths and Burials (FamilySearch Historical Records)
- Rhode Island Marriages (FamilySearch Historical Records
- William Chamberlin Hunt and United States Bureau of the Census, Religious Bodies: 1906 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1910), Vol. 1:352. Digital version at Google Books.