Instant Access to State, County and Municipal Records

Are Rhode Island Vital Records Open to the Public?

Rhode Island's vital records are primarily accessible to the registrant, immediate family members, legal representatives of the aforementioned parties, and persons with court-issued rights. In compliance with Rhode Island public record laws, vital records are only open to persons who can prove direct and tangible interest in the records. Essentially, the accessibility of a record is primarily determined by the type of record in question, the date and judicial district of the record and the authority of the requesting party.

 

What Information Do I Need to Search for Rhode Island Vital Records Online?

To order a Rhode Island vital record online, the requesting party will be required to provide information useful for locating the record. The required information typically includes the personal information of the registrant, the place and date of the event, and general information regarding the legal representatives of the parties involved.

The Rhode Island Department of Public Health processes requests for vital records made through its online service. However, there are no electronic self-service options for retrieving vital records in the state.

Publicly available records are also managed and disseminated by some third-party aggregate sites. These sites are generally not being limited by geographical record availability and may serve as a reliable jump-off point when researching specific or multiple records. However, third-party sites are not government-sponsored. As such, record availability may differ from official channels. To find a record using the search engines on third party sites, the requesting party will be required to provide:

  • The location of the record in question including city, county, or state where the case was filed.
  • The name of someone involved providing it is a not a juvenile

 

What Do I Need to Obtain Rhode Island Vital Records?

Where a requestor is seeking access to a public and uncertified record, a written request to the record custodian will suffice. However, access to certified records often requires additional documents to validate the request made. Usually, requesters are required to present a government-issued ID to confirm their identities. In some cases, ID’s are accompanied by a court order which provides legal authorization to record access for otherwise ineligible requestors. Record custodians may sometimes require supporting documents -- these are oftentimes unique to the judicial district.

 

What’s the Difference Between a Certified Record and Informational Copy?

Certified records are official documents that can be used in a variety of legal and official capacities. Primarily, they have the legal authority to establish identity. As such, access to these records is restricted to persons who meet the state’s eligibility requirements and/or can prove a direct/tangible interest in the record. On the other hand, informational copies are available to the public and are rarely used for functions other than genealogical or research purposes. They usually feature a disclaimer to this effect.

Are Rhode Island Marriage Records Public Information?

Marriage records are not public information in Rhode Island. These records are strictly available to persons with a direct and tangible interest in the record. Persons eligible to access these records include the registrant(s) named on the record, legal representatives of both parties and persons legally authorized to access the record.

 

How Do I Find Marriage Records in Rhode Island?

Rhode Island marriage records are maintained by the clerks of various towns and cities as well as the Rhode Island Department of Health Vital Records Office. Interested and eligible persons may obtain these records by querying either office in person, or via mail. Requests generally require that the requesting party download and complete the Marriage Copy Request Form. The completed application must be accompanied by the indicated fees and ID requirements and submitted to:

Rhode Island Department of Health
Vital Records Office, Room 101
3 Capitol Hill
Providence, RI 02908

Are Rhode Island Divorce Records Public Information?

Rhode Island divorce records are available to interested members of the public upon request. While these records are open to the public, selected information relating to the divorce process may be with-held. This includes details of the financial status of the parties and any agreed-upon financial settlements. All restricted information may be accessed by the subjects of the records and persons with adequate legal authority.

 

How Do I Find Divorce Records in Rhode Island?

Rhode Island divorce records can be obtained by querying the office of the Clerk of Family Court in the judicial district where the divorce was granted. To request a divorce record from a court clerk, the requesting party must submit a written request containing details of the divorce required to facilitate the record search. This information includes:

  • The full name of the parties involved
  • The case file or docket number of the record
  • The year, month and date the divorce was granted
  • The place in which the divorce occurred
  • The name of either or both litigants.

In addition to providing the above-mentioned information, requestors will also be required to cover the costs of copying and certification (if required).

Are Rhode Island Birth Records Public Information?

Rhode Island birth records are confidential and available to persons who can sufficiently prove a direct and tangible interest in the records. As such, the only persons eligible to obtain a record are the registrant, their immediate family members, and legal representatives and persons who require the record to determine or protect a personal right or those authorized by court order to access the record of interest.

 

How Do I Find Rhode Island Birth Records?

Interested and eligible persons can access a Rhode Island birth record by querying the state’s Vital Records Office. Requests can be made by downloading the Birth Certificate Copy Request Form which should be legibly filled with information such as:

  • The name of the registrant
  • The maiden name of the registrant’s mother, and the full name of their father
  • The place and approximate date the event occured
  • The registrant’s relationship to the requestor
  • Why the record is being requested

Completed requests must be enclosed along with a cheque or money order payment of $22 (for in-person requests) or $25(for mail-in requests). Requestors are also required to include a copy of a government-issued photo ID such as a driver's license, passport or alternative documents featuring their full name -- i.e. utility bills or bank statements. All requests can be made in person or submitted via mail to:

Rhode Island Department of Health
Vital Records Office, Room 101
3 Capitol Hill
Providence, RI 02908

Are Rhode Island Death Records Open to The Public?

Records of deaths that occurred in Rhode Island are not open to the public but are legally restricted to the deceased’s family members and persons authorized by law or court order. Persons who are not related to the deceased but are interested in accessing these records may do so if they prove that the record is required to stake their claim to a right.

 

How Do I Find Death Records In Rhode Island?

Requests for death records in Rhode Island can be made to the state's vital record office. To obtain a record, interested and eligible persons must download and complete the death certificate copy request form. The completed application must be accompanied by the indicated fees and ID requirements and delivered in person or via mail to:

Rhode Island Department of Health
Vital Records Office, Room 101
3 Capitol Hill
Providence, RI 02908

How Do I Find Sealed Vital Records in Rhode Island

If a requester can sufficiently prove the relevance of a sealed record in exercising, determining or protecting property or personal rights, the state’s public record laws require that the restrictions of the record be waived for the individual alone. Sealed records can be obtained by petitioning a state-licensed judge for a subpoena or by obtaining a written request from the subject(s) of the record. Having obtained either or both documents, the requesting party may proceed to query the appropriate record custodian for their record of interest. However, the request application must be accompanied by the court order or permission indicating their legal authority to access the record.

Rhode Island State Archives

State Archives

Contact: (401) 214-1356

Results Include

Full State Record Report:

  • Marriage Records
  • Divorce Records
  • Death Records
  • Birth Records
  • Criminal Records
  • Assets
  • Property Ownership
  • Bankruptcies
  • Judgments
  • Liens
  • Public Records
  • Addresses
  • Phone Numbers
  • Relatives & Associates

Results are based upon available information from state, county and municipal databases, and may not include some or all of the above details.

Rhode Island

Rhode Island

  • State archives hold over 38,000 cubic feet of records.
  • There are 2 levels of courts – trial and appellate.
  • The Rhode Island Superior Court is the state trial court of general jurisdiction in Rhode Island.
  • The highest court in Rhode Island is the Rhode Island Supreme Court.
  • The Rhode Island Supreme Court is the court of the last resort in the U.S. State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. 

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