Rhode Island Cemetery Records
This entry was originally written by Alice Eichholz, Ph.D., CG for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.
Rhode Island cemetery records exist in abundance. As with other New England states, the local DAR chapters have been collecting gravestone inscriptions and indexing them in typed volumes annually. A complete set of their work can be found at the DAR Library in Washington and the Rhode Island Historical Society.
James N. Arnold gathered gravestone inscriptions from many Rhode Island cemeteries. Part of his collection of handwritten bound manuscripts is at the Rhode Island Historical Society, while the notebooks with card index are at the Knight Memorial Library, 275 Elmwood Ave., Providence, RI 02907.
Another excellent collection on microfilm at the Rhode Island Historical Society is the Benns Collection at the East Greenwich Public Library, 82 Pierce St., East Greenwich, RI 02818. Newport Historical Society (see Rhode Island Archives, Libraries, and Societies) has some cemetery records as well. David Dumas, “Rhode Island Grave Records,” Rhode Island Roots 3 (1977): 1-6, is an excellent guide to locating many of the manuscript and typescript collections. The Historic Graves Commission for Rhode Island has devised a list of all cemeteries declared “historical.” The Rhode Island State Archives holds the Graves Registration List, organized by town, of historical cemeteries.
Many online cemetery transcriptions can be located here: Rhode Island Cemetery Records