Pro Research Tip: Rhode Island Cemeteries Database

Do you utilize cemetery records for your family research?  Locating the burial sites of your ancestors can provide a great deal of information about your family members.  The marker or stone can provide full name information, birth and death dates, and often may note other family members including spouse and children.   The burial might have occurred in a family plot or near other relatives so that you can often document details about whole family groups.  And visiting the site can provide many people with a sense of connection to those long passed.  

A fantastic resource for those trying to locate the burial sites for ancestors who died in Rhode Island is the R.I. Historic Cemeteries Database is available online as well as at the Providence Public Library through the Reference Dept.  The database has been compiled by many volunteers since 1990 and comprises the locations of burial sites of more than 435,000 individuals.  Rhode Island has more than 3,200 documented cemeteries including small family plots and expansive cemeteries.  If you're interested in volunteering to help document burial sites or care of the cemeteries, check in with the R.I. Historic Cemeteries Commission for information on opportunities in your area. 

*Gravestone of Elizabeth Alden Pabodie, daughter of Plymouth Pilgrims John and Priscilla Adlen and the "first white girl born in Rhode Island", Little Compton, RI.  Courtesy of Rhode Island Collection, Providence Public Library. 

kwells's picture
Kate Wells

As the Rhode Island Collection librarian at Providence Public Library, Kate Wells helps bring Rhode Island history to light by increasing access to the collection and providing research assistance to patrons. In the “Rhode Island Red” blog, Kate showcases interesting materials from the collection, provides research tip & techniques, and highlights local history. Feel free to contact her if you have any Rhode Island related questions; she is always happy to help. Email:


Post new comment

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options