Start Your Research

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT:

The RIHS Library’s Reading Room will be open to the public on Thursdays and Fridays starting Thursday December 4, 2014 with access limited to the collections in the room. Full Access to all the Library’s Collections and regular hours will resume on Wednesday January 14, 2015. For complete information about the dates, open hours and available collections please click here.

We invite you to visit our library. The Reference Staff will be happy to direct you to resources that may provide the information you seek. We realize that an in-person visit is not always possible. For those of you unable to visit, we can suggest several options based on your topics of interest.

ELEMENTARY AND MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS

Do you have an assignment to find out about Rhode Island history? Elementary students click here (pdf), Middle School students click here (pdf) for a Rhode Island guide prepared especially for you. For current facts about Rhode Island, visit the Rhode Island Unwind and Kids Konnect websites.

The Library holds printed material,  microfilm, microfiche, Manuscripts, and Graphics. Click on the links below to learn more:

General Rhode Island History Information

Frequently Asked Questions page for answers to popular questions about Rhode Island’s history
Rhode Island Facts and Trivia website for more fun and useful information about Rhode Island
Roots Web for a brief history of the state with timeline
RI History Site or Rhode Island Student/Teacher Guide  for a more in-depth treatment of Rhode Island history, by the General Assembly
AskRI: Rhode Island’s Statewide Reference Resource Center is online. This is the place to go with general questions on Rhode Island history. And if you have a card from any of Rhode Island’s public libraries, you can also access a number of electronic resources from this site, including HeritageQuest Online, a resource for genealogy researchers.

Genealogical Research

SELECTED GENEALOGICAL RESOURCES
RHODE ISLAND VITAL RECORDS
NATURALIZATION RECORDS
NATIONAL ARCHIVES AND RECORDS ADMINISTRATION (NARA)
GENEALOGICAL RESEARCH IN THE MANUSCRIPTS COLLECTION
PASSENGER LISTS

Additional genealogical resources are available on our links page

Ask the Reference Staff

See our reference policy for more information.

Hire an Independent Researcher

For questions that require in-depth research beyond the resources of the RIHS staff you may want to hire an Independent Researcher to conduct your research for you. Researchers on our List of Independent Researchers are familiar with our collections and may be able to help you; or click on the link to the website for the Association of Professional Genealogists.

Directory of Rhode Island Historical and Preservation Societies

 

Click here for the directory