Rhode Island Maps
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This entry was originally written by Alice Eichholz, Ph.D., CG for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.
An excellent map of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, 1636–65, makes clear the location and dates of purchase for all of the early settlements. Land disputes and dates of boundaries of resolution are included. A copy can be found in James Truslow Adams, ed., Atlas of American History (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1943). Two other excellent published map resources are John Hutchins Cady, Rhode Island Boundaries, 1636–1936 (Providence, R.I.: State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, 1936), and Marion I. Wright and Robert J. Sullivan, Rhode Island Atlas (Providence, R.I.: Rhode Island Publications Society, 1982).
Perhaps the largest collection of maps in the state can be found at the Rhode Island Historical Society, although some of these are on microfilm through the FHL. A “Chronological Checklist of Maps in Rhode Island in the Rhode Island Historical Society Library,” published in Rhode Island Historical Collections 11 (1918): 47-55, continues serially through the next several volumes. Among the more relevant to genealogical research are the Wallings Series and the Beers’ Atlas of 1870, the first one produced for the state. Over 200 categories of maps are listed in the checklist.
Town offices usually have lot maps, although no statewide survey exists.