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Rhode Island Libraries


Newport Historical Society
82 Truro St.
Newport RI 02840
It is generally a good idea to make an appointment to use this library. It is open Tuesday through Friday only. The library focuses on Newport County, but its printed collection covers the entire northeast. They are the repository for the surviving pre-Revolutionary town records of Newport as well as many other manuscript materials. They hold fourteen of the eighteen early churches of Newport. The Society also owns three historic houses and manages a fourth. They update a list of surnames in the society's genealogical collections online.



Knight Memorial Library
275 Elmwood Ave.
Providence RI 02907
The library holds the James N. Arnold Collection, once the largest Rhode Island local history collection. There is no guide or librarian support for this collection. A patron must request access at the main desk and the room will be unlocked for you. This collection may be moved to the Providence Public Library, so call first.



Rhode Island Historical Society
121 Hope St.
Providence RI 02906
This is the largest genealogical library in the state with holdings that cover the entire northeast and an extensive manuscripts collection. The main holdings include most R.I. town records and newspapers on microfilm, Society of Friends records for all meetings that are part of New England Yearly Meeting, R.I. Cemetery database, and R.I. city directories. Their online catalog only has a portion of the holdings, so a visit in person is required to learn of their full holdings. A list of manuscript finding aids are online.



American-French Genealogical SocietyGenealogical Society
78 Earle St.
Woonsocket RI 02895
This is a specialty library focusing on the French Canadians who moved south into New England. The library has thousands of volumes of transcribed church records. Notable references are the Loiselle, Index, Rivest File, Fabien File, Forget File, and “Hard to Find Drouin Marriage” films. Beyond the core of repetoires, the library holds the microfilm vital records indexes for Vermont to 1941, Mass. to 1910, Rhode Island to 1900, New Hampshire to 1900, Maine marriages, 1892-1966, and the Drouin microfilms of church records.