Posted by on May 23, 2014 in Research

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The history of Rhode Island is tied to religion and trade. Settlement began with Roger Williams, who in 1636 went to present-day Rhode Island after being banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony for his religious views.

Later, Anne Hutchinson and her followers also went to Rhode Island because of religious persecution in Massachusetts.

Rhode Island’s fortunes rose with sea trade. During the 1700s, Providence and Newport were major ports. Trade with England was lucrative, as was the slave trade. Ironically, though Rhode Island ports were important ports in the triangle slave trade, the colony was the first to ban the importation of slaves.

In the late 1700s and early 1800s, Rhode Island’s economy shifted to manufacturing, especially in textiles. Mills throughout the state attracted Irish immigrants, French-Canadians, as well as workers from throughout New England.

You can learn more about Rhode Island history and resources in our new guide “Rhode Island Resources: Family History Sources in the Ocean State.”

No ancestors from the Ocean State? Check out the other state guides we’ve published. (And if your state isn’t there yet, keep an eye out for it — it will be added soon!)

 

About Amy Johnson Crow

Amy Johnson Crow is a Community Manager for Ancestry.com. She's a Certified Genealogist and an active lecturer and author. Her roots run deep in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic states. She earned her Masters degree in Library and Information Science at Kent State University. Amy loves to help people discover the joys of learning about their ancestors and she thinks that there are few things better than a day in a cemetery. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, and No Story Too Small.

4 Comments

Carol 

The link “Rhode Island Resources: Family History Sources in the Ocean State.” Does not work

May 24, 2014 at 10:52 pm
Amy Johnson Crow 

Carol – I just tried the link and it is working now. Thanks!

May 27, 2014 at 11:11 am
Carol 

Still not working for me

May 27, 2014 at 4:51 pm
James P Morris 

The link works for me but I cannot print it out as I have done with the other very helpful state guides – I get a message saying some type of malicious attachment may be involved!? Any guidance would be appreciated.

May 27, 2014 at 5:34 pm