Vital Records
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Rhode Island Birth, Marriage, Divorce and Death records, also known as vital records, provide details about crucial occasions in your ancestors life. Vital records, typically kept by a civic authority, can provide people a more comprehensive picture of your respective ancestor, help you distinguish between two people utilizing the same name, and assist you to find links to a brand new generation. They might include information like the occurrence date and place, parents’ names, occupation and residence. The cause of death is also listed in the majority of Rhode Island death records.

Rhode Island vital records certainly are a basis of Rhode Island genealogy and family history research because they were typically recorded at or close to the time of the event, helping to make the record more likely to be accurate. This web page contains links, details that can help you request copies from Rhode Island state and county vital records keepers. Vital records (births, deaths, marriages, and divorces) mark the milestones of our lives and are the foundation of family history research.

Rhode Island Vital Records Office, issues, documents, and stores certified copies of vital records including birth, marriage, divorce death certificates for occurrences that took place in Rhode Island.  To verify current fees and information the telephone number is (401) 222-2811.

  • Ordering Rhode Island Birth and Marriage Certificates: The State Vital Records Office has birth and marriage records for prior 100 years to present. The fee for a birth certified copy are $20, additional copies of the same record issued at the same time are $15 each. Birth and marriage records older than 100 years may be obtained from the city or town hall where the event happened or through the Rhode Island State Archives.
  • Ordering Rhode Island Death Certificates: The State Vital Records Office has death records for prior 50 years to present. The fee for a death certified copy are $20, additional copies of the same record issued at the same time are $15 each. Death records older than 50 years may be obtained from the city or town hall where the event happened or through the Rhode Island State Archives.
  • Ordering Rhode Island Divorce Certificates:  The State Vital Records Office does not have divorce records. For Divorce records 1962 to present are located at the Family Court, Garrahy Judicial Complex, 1 Dorrance Plaza, Providence, RI 02903. Divorce Records prior to 1962 are at the RI Supreme Court Judicial Records Center. The fee for the copy varies.

How to Order Rhode Island Vital Records

  • Physical and Mailing Address: Rhode Island Dept of Health, 3 Capitol Hill, Rm. 101, Providence, RI 02908-5097; (401) 222-2811. All mail orders should include a Personal check or money order made payable to General Treasurer, State of Rhode Island. Do not send cash.
  • Website Address:
  • Ordering Vital Records Online – get the certificates within 2-5 days with a credit or debit card from or
  • Ordering Vital Records by Mail: You can download an application online for Rhode Island Birth CertificateMarriage or Civil Union CertificateDeath Certificate Applications. Please allow up to 6-8 weeks for processing of all type of certificates ordered through the mail. You can request rush service for an additional $7. Please write RUSH on your envelope . Rush requests will be processed within five business days after receipt of request.

Background of Rhode Island Vital Records

Prior to 1853, there were not many vital records recorded in Rhode Island. However, the records that do exist for earlier years can be found quite easily, in most cases. For example, marriages from 1647 onward were supposed to be recorded with the General Assembly. However, some town clerks and ministers received or recorded those marriage reports instead. Marriage entries were made separately for grooms and brides between the time of first settlement and 1850. The entries for grooms often contained more information than the entries for bride. Each entry was listed by county and then by town. Generally, the town clerk’s office still holds most of those original records. However, there are some records that were recorded and filed in other places, such as churches.

From 1853 up until the present day, the vital statistics for the state of Rhode Island are kept by the Rhode Island Department of Health’s Division of Vital Records.

The earliest Rhode Island vital records that don’t fall in the time frames above can be found on microfilm at the Rhode Island Historical Society, the New England Historic Genealogical Society or the FHL. Some can also be found at the Rhode Island State Archives or in the records and files of each individual town. Vital records dating up to 1900 have microfilmed indexes and the Rhode Island Historical Society has computerized death and marriage records up until 1900.

All of the courts had the power to grant divorces in Rhode Island. The Judicial Records Center Archives holds the records from 1749 to 1900. The Family Court, 22 Hayes Street, Providence, RI 02908 and the Supreme Court Judicial Records Center hold vital records recorded after 1962.

Searchable Rhode Island Databases and other Helpful Links