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1774 Rhode Island Census

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Location: Rhode Islandmap
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Categories: US Genealogy Resources | Source | 1774 Census of Rhode Island | Rhode Island Census Records.


The 1774 Census of Rhode Island

The 1774 census was the first comprehensive account of the colony of Rhode Island. It was undertaken in response to a directive of the General Assembly at its June 1774 session. For all towns except New Shoreham (Block Island), the records include the names of heads of households in addition to numbers of residents. [1]

Transcribed census records were first published in 1858 by Rhode Island Secretary of State John R. Bartlett. Bartlett's compilation has been widely reproduced. It is, however, incomplete; ages and genders of blacks and Indians that were recorded in the census were not included, and all records were alphabetized, resulting in loss of information for those towns where the original record listed households in the order they were visited. A new transcription that was published in installments beginning in 2003 does not have these deficiencies.[1]

Census Entries

The 1774 Rhode Island Census entries are presented as rows with eight entries as follows:

Column   Title
1Name of the head
2Number of white males above age 16
3Number of white males under age 16
4Number of white females above age 16
5Number of white females under age 16  
6Number of Indians
7Number of blacks

Available online at these locations:

HTML format, with links to each town (transcribed, original images not available):


Scanned book, arranged by Bartlett:


Also available through Google Play.

Rhode Island Roots, vol. 29 (2003), page 165ff, continued in subsequent volumes. (Online access requires paid membership in NEHGS.)

Citing this page

The preferred source to cite is the Rhode Island Roots transcription, which can be accessed with a guest membership (free of charge) to americanancestors.org. Just go to the guest membership page and click the button to sign up for a free account.

Once you are logged in with your guest account, go to the Rhode Island Roots database search page and search for your ancestor by name. Links to images of the 1774 Census transcription will be labeled as such. But be careful -- sometimes there are several links belonging to different people with the same name.

Citation Example (for citing Rhode Island Roots transcription):

<span id='C1774'></span>''[[Space:1774 Rhode Island Census|1774 Rhode Island Census]]'', town name, page census page, entry entry number -- head-of-household name; citing transcription by transcriber in Rhode Island Roots volume number p.page number, month year.

You would need to fill in the

  • town name
  • page number from the original census pages (page breaks in the original census documents are found intermittently in the transcription)
  • entry number on that page (this requires counting through the entries since the previous page break)
  • head-of-household name
  • transcriber (found at the beginning of the transcription for that town or copy from another profile that cites the 1774 census from the same town)
  • the volume and page number and month and year. This refers to information about identifying the entry within the particular issue of Rhode Island Roots

Footnote Example:

<ref>[[#C1774|1774 Census]]</ref>

What Links Here

WikiTree Profiles that use this source


  1. 1.0 1.1 The 1774 Census of Rhode Island, A New Look at an Old Friend. Rhode Island Roots, vol. 29 (2003), pages 165-166.


On 15 Nov 2017 at 17:00 GMT Barry Smith wrote:

My initial thought was to only focus on heads-of-household, and not the rest of the household, because a name is such a key identifier with a profile. But I am open to expanding the project, even from the outset -- its a collaboration, so I'll be happy to see people get involved in any way.

I haven't seen the original documents, which are at R.I. State Archives. (If someone lives nearby and wants to check it out and see, I'd be happy for a report). Microfilm are also available. According to this website:


age ranges for Indians and Blacks are in the original data. Faithful transcriptions were apparently published in Rhode Island Roots, but you need a subscription to NEHGS to see them, and I don't have one at the moment.

On 15 Nov 2017 at 14:21 GMT Middle Passage wrote:

Hello, I am doing research on slavery in the East Bay, Warren in particular. Are you going to be including the enslaved within households? If that is being considered, how do we get hold of a copy of the complete census (with gender and age range on Indians and Blacks)? I know there is a copy at the State archives, but does anyone know where else they might be available...any place online?