While most effecient Little Compton deed research takes place in-person at the Little Compton, Rhode Island Town Hall, you can access some of the deeds online.
Before you can start searching you need to know what’s available. Or rather what’s not available. Town Clerk Carol Wordell explained that Books 1-7 and “generally” Books 13-20 do not have deed images online.
If your house was built prior to 1910 you will most likely encounter gaps in accessing images of your deeds online. Also, please note that these dates refer to the recording dates and not the transfer dates. With older deeds there could be a significant gap between when a property was transferred and when it was recorded by the Town Clerk.
The good news is that the index is complete for all years.
The index will provide you with a document description, the book and page, the recording date, the document date (I assume this is when the image was created), and the names of the grantors and grantees.
Even if you are researching in-person at Town Hall you may find it easier to search the index, available from a public computer in the Town Clerk’s office, to search for deeds. This becomes a necessity when you don’t find a book and page reference to a previous deed within the deed you are viewing. You will then need to search the index by name.
The Little Compton, Rhode Island Town Clerk makes deeds available online through a third-party website. You can access it by going to this website. Use the “Login as Guest” button to enter.
The website will open to the search page. You have the option of searching by name or by book and page. Search in this format: Last Name First Name. Or even just by Last Name if the name isn’t too common. For best results, press the magnifying glass option in the upper right rather than the one next to the name field.
Next you will see a results page listing all the documents indexed with that name. You can see there are 113 documents for Pardon Brownell across two pages. The documents are presented with the most recent books first. You can change the sort by pressing any of the headers. Working with the “Recorded” will likely give the best results.
Click on the document link to view the document image. The image will then display on the screen. Or if you are in Town Hall, pull the book for the deed.
If you are accessing the deeds via the internet you can save the images for $1.50 per page. Click on the Save Image button at the top and then follow the instructions.
For deeds that are not online, like this one from Book 7 page 252, you will get a message saying “Unable to open image for selected document.”
If you are researching from a distance and not able to get to Little Compton Town Hall, you could contact the Town Clerk’s office to see if they would be able to get you a copy of the record(s) that are not available online. Or you can hire a researcher from the Association or Professional Genealogists website.