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Source Information

Ancestry.com. Rhode Island, State Censuses, 1865-1935 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2013.
Original data: Rhode Island State Census, 1865. Microfilm. New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, Massachusetts.

Rhode Island State Census, 1875. Microfilm. New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, Massachusetts.

Rhode Island State Census, 1885. Microfilm. New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, Massachusetts.

Rhode Island State Census, 1915. Microfilm. New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, Massachusetts.

Rhode Island State Census, 1925. Microfilm. New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, Massachusetts.

Rhode Island State Census, 1935. Microfilm. New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, Massachusetts.

About Rhode Island, State Censuses, 1865-1935

Rhode Islanders took statewide censuses beginning in 1865 and continuing through 1935. This collection includes images and an every-name index to six of these censuses. The exceptions are the 1895 census, which is missing, and the 1905 census. State censuses like these are useful because they fall in between federal census years and provide an interim look at a population.

What You Can Find in These Records

While the questions asked on the censuses varied somewhat from year to year, they all requested the following details:

  • location, often including street address
  • names of everyone in the household and, except 1865 and 1935, the relationship to the head of household
  • age
  • gender
  • color
  • place of birth, and for some years parents’ birthplace
  • occupation

Other details you may find include military service (in 1865), literacy, whether in school (1865 and 1875 asked for the type of school, and 1935 asked for the name), and disabilities. In 1935, the state even asked whether your relative had had the measles, scarlet fever, diphtheria or a "Schick test" (Schick tests determined whether you were susceptible to diphtheria). The 1935 census was transcribed onto the cards provided in this collection. There were some transcription errors when the cards were written.

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