Instant Access to State, County and Municipal Records
Rhode Island Vital Records
The Office of Vital Records maintains all vital files in the state of Rhode Island, including documents regarding a person’s key life events. These events may include births, deaths, marriages, and divorces. The documents stored on these events can include divorce decrees, divorce certificates and other divorce records, birth certificates, death certificates, marriage licenses, marriage certificates. All these vital records are stored in a central registry to be used for statistical analysis.
Divorce records are handed out by government officials in the state of Rhode Island, after said event is registered. Divorce records are split into two categories in Rhode Island, town records and state records. A state-wide registration of divorce records was introduced in 1915. County records began from when the county in question first formed, and were collected by county clerks. When a person files for a divorce or an annulment in Rhode Island, the records are kept the central registry, along with all other state vital files. These can include divorce certificates, divorce decrees, and other divorce-related records. It depends on the state in question as to whether these documents can be viewed by the public. Divorce record copies can be purchased for $3 in Rhode Island. There was a divorce rate of 2.9 per 1,000 inhabitants in Rhode Island in 2017.
Marriage records are also handed out by government officials after the wedding is registered in Rhode Island. These records are split into two categories, town records and state records. The state-wide registration of marriage records came into play in 1915. All records post-1915 are indexed. County clerks were in charge of collecting marriage records when the counties first formed. The first law that required marriage records to be kept was introduced in 1853. Many copies of marriage records can be found at the Rhode Island Family History Library or the Rhode Island State Records Centre. Marriage record copies can be purchased for $20 in Rhode Island. There was a marriage rate of 6.8 per 1,000 inhabitants in Rhode Island in 2017.
Birth records usually refer to the certificate issued upon the birth of every child in Rhode Island, or, alternatively, a certified copy of the certificate. The records are split into two categories based on the source, namely town records and state records. In the town records section, all records were collected from the state’s various church records and county records of vital statistics. A state-wide registration of births was introduced in 1853, and was mainly complied with by 1915. In the state records section, all records are collected from the Rhode Island Family History. Birth record copies can be purchased for $20 in Rhode Island.
Death records usually refer to the copy of information from a person’s death certificate after their passing. The records are split into two categories based on the source, namely town records and state records. All town records were sourced from the Rhode Island Family History, including microfilm copies of some early original records. State records are collected each year from the Rhode Island Death Index and Rhode Island State Registrar. Death record copies can be purchased for $20 in Rhode Island.
Why are these records available to the public?
The Rhode Island Access to Public Records Act was introduced in 1979, with the most recent amendments coming in 2008. There were also other major changes in 1991 and 1998. This act aimed to ensure that all members of the public could access public records in Rhode Island. All records held by local and state government can be accessed and copied by the residents of Rhode Island.
To access records:
3 Capitol Hill
Providence, RI 02908
Monday - Friday
8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Vital Records, Room 101
7:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m., Weekdays.
RI Department of Health
Office of Vital Records, Room 101
3 Capitol Hill
Providence, RI 02908-5097