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 Providence Census Collection


 Size: 1 linear ft. (5 vol., 1 box)

 Catalog number: MSS 214, sg 6

 Processed by: Rick Stattler, November 1995

 USE MICROFILM    HA730 .P9 A6 (POS, NEG) (1791, 1825, 1845 only, also includes Providence Seaman's Protection Records)

©Rhode Island Historical Society

Manuscripts Division



1. 1791 Census of Providence (on microfilm)

            This slim volume seems to be arranged in order of visitation, and is divided into the north, south and west parts of town. It lists the names of "Heads of Families", and counts for each household of "Number of Dwelling Houses", "Free White Males" over and under 16, "Free White Females", "All Other Free Persons", and "Slaves". Totals are provided for all of these categories. Several entries are noted as "Negro".

            The first four pages of the volume consist of newspaper clippings added at a later date; one article, dated March 20, 1868, discusses this 1791 census. It describes how Charles B. Allen found the volume among papers of his father Philip Allen, and then presented it to the Providence Journal office. The date of its receipt by the Rhode Island Historical Society remains unknown.

2. 1825 Census of the Town of Providence (on microfilm)

            This single volume is arranged by first letter of surname. It lists "heads of families"; numbers of "white males" and "white females" aged under 18, 18 to 45, 45 to 75, and over 75; "coloured males" and "coloured females" aged under 18, 18 to 50, and over 50. It also provides totals for each category, as well as for the town's four residential institutions: Friends Boarding School, Brown University, the Alms House and the Jail. The census taker was Noah Smith, Jr.

            This census was purchased in 1995 from Lawrence DePetrillo, and has accession number #1995.77.1.

3. "City Census for 1845, for one half of the second ward..." (on microfilm)

            This single volume only covers a portion of the East Side of Providence; it is apparently an original copy used on visits from July 26 through August 18, 1845. It is apparently arranged in order of visitation. It lists "Heads of Families", numbers of males and females (presumably white), aged under 5, 5-10, 10-15, 15-20, 20-30, 30-40, 40-50, 50-60, 60-70, 70-80, 80-90, 90-100, and over 100; "Colored Persons", male and female, aged under 10, 24 to 36, 36-55, 55-100, and over 100. Apparently, those between the ages of 10 and 23 were not counted. The numbers of insane, and of children at school in each household, are also listed.

            The census, in addition to providing totals for all of these categories, also includes a complete list, by name, of those residents aged over 70 years. Totals are also given for type of dwelling (brick and stone, wood, or partly both) and use of buildings (dwellings, business, places of worship or public). The census taker, Samuel Brown, also provided notes on several households, such as "Irish", "color'd widow", or "in rear of Franklin House".

            This volume was a gift of Mrs. Frances Brown McElroy of Paterson, New Jersey, year unknown, probably circa 1940. It includes interesting pen sketches, apparently by the census taker, of an eagle and the Rhode Island seal.

4. Persons Liable for Military Duty, 1873 (not available on microfilm)

            This census consists of 19 small pocket notebooks, numbered out of sequence, in a small box. They list, in apparent order of visitation, the names of men deemed eligible for military duty, their age, and their address. Only some of the volumes give the name of the census taker, the exact date, or the ward number. These 19 volumes were donated in 1915 by Eugene King, and have accession numbers #1915.20.1-19.

5. 1881 Military Census of Providence (not available on microfilm)

            This census, in one volume, consists only of a list of names of men eligible for military duty between ages 18 and 45. It is arranged by first letter of surname, and then by ward number. Totals are provided in the back. The census was taken by Edwin M. Snow, M.D., and was donated by Charles V. Chapin, M.D., in 1894. Its accession number is #1894.18.1.

6. 1882 Miliary Census of Providence (not available on microfilm)

            This census, in one volume, contains the same information as the 1881 census, described above. Its accession number is #1894.18.2.

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Censuses - Rhode Island - Providence

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