Rhode Island Compiled Genealogies
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 (Family History Library 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 on 23 microfilms (on Family History Library films beginning with 855238). 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 (Family History Library 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 Family History Library 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 (Family History Library 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 (Family History Library 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 (Family History Library film 022423) and the index (Family History Library film 022392).
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. (Family History Library book Q 974.5 D26a 1978; 1887 ed. on 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. (Family History Library book 974 D2c 1913; films 164686-89; and Family History Library book 974 D2c 1914; films 962340-41; fiche 6051510-12.) 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?; Family History Library book 974 D2ci; film 1036507 item 6; fiche 6046737).
- Genealogies of Rhode Island Families: From Rhode Island Periodicals. Two Volumes. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1983. (Family History Library 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. (Family History Library 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. (Family History Library book 974 D2e; fiche 6047919-21; second series 974 D2en; fiche 6047922-24.)
- Rider, Fremont, ed. American Genealogical-Biographical Index. Volumes 1-186+. Middletown, Connecticut: Godfrey Memorial Library, 1952-. (Family History Library book 973 D22am.) 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. (Family History Library book 973 D22am; films 1425577-86.)
- 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. (Family History Library book 974 D2s; film 1321056 items 1-4.)
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: