Downloadable Cheat Sheet – 10 Steps to Researching the History of your House in Little Compton, RI

Little Compton Town Hall
Entrance to Little Compton Town Hall

Assessor’s Property Data

The Assessor’s Office will provide links to field/property cards, assessment values and assessor maps.  It also provides the most recent book and page number to the deed of your house.

Land Evidence Records / Deed Research

If possible you’ll want to research in-person in the Town Clerk’s office at Town Hall – 40 Common Street, Little Compton, RI 02837

Census Records (also RI State Census Records)

  • Find the occupants of your house in the census. Please note: the occupants might not be the owners!
  • Federal Census Records are available every 10 years from 1790 to 1950 with the exception of 1890.
  • RI State Census Records are available for 1865, 1875, 1885, 1905, 1915, 1925 & 1935
  • Available from:

Probate Records

  • You can find house/estate inventories and list of family members in wills.
  • Little Compton probate records are located at Town Hall and some online at Ancestry.com, FamilySearch.org.
  • Search the card index and then ask the staff for the file
Little Compton Commons
United Congregational Church of Little Compton and the Old Burying Ground on Little Compton Commons

Vital Records

Little Compton Maps

Rhode Island HPHC Publications

City Directories & Residents Lists

City Directories were typically published every year. Because of that they are great for filling in the gaps between the 10 year spread of census records. They are also helpful to identify when people move from place to place.

  • City Directories are available online at the major database sites like Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org

Tax Records

  • Value of property through the years
  • These can be a great indicator of when changes were made to a property
  • Little Compton Tax Records start in 1869 and continue to present

Newspapers

Many old newspapers are available online through Ancestry.com, MyHeritage.com, NEHGS, GenealogyBank.com, Newspapers.com, Boston Public Library, the American Antiquarian Society (Worcester). See https://theancestorhunt.com/newspaper-research-links.html for more

Cemetery Information

A Little Compton Cemeteries Index (PDF) is available from the Little Compton Historical Society website. The index provides a listing of the 46 cemeteries found in Little Compton, a map of their locations and an alphabetical index of gravestones. The index works hand in hand with the more thorough discussion of cemeteries found in Remember Me: A Guide to Little Compton’s 46 Historic Cemeteries (link below in Further Reading).

Old Burying Ground, Little Compton
Gravestones in the OId Burying Ground, Little Compton, Rhode Island

Photos and Miscellaneous Items

Be sure to check with the Little Compton Historical Society for old photos of your home, its occupants, old maps and other miscellaneous information.

Further Reading

Front Cover - Remember Me: A Guide to Little Compton's 46 Historic Cemeteries

Remember Me: A Guide to Little Compton’s 46 Historic Cemeteries. Little Compton, RI: Little Compton Historical Society, 2018.

Remembering Adamsville: Oral Histories Collected by the Little Compton Historical Society. Little Compton, RI: Little Compton Historical Society, 2013.

The Stories Houses Tell: A Second Collection of Little Compton House Histories. Little Compton, RI: Little Compton Historical Society, 2022.

The Stories Houses Tell : A Collection of Little Compton House Histories. Little Compton, RI: Little Compton Historical Society, 2015.

Brownell, Bart, Steven Lubar and Marjory Gomez O’Toole. Little Compton: A Changing Landscape. Little Compton, RI: Little Compton Historical Society, 2019.

Devin, Nancy J. and Richard V. Simpson. Images of America: Tiverton and Little Compton. Charleston, SC: Arcadia, 2004.

Devin, Nancy J. and Richard V. Simpson. Images of America: Tiverton and Little Compton. Volume II. Charleston, SC: Arcadia, 1998.

Lisle, Janet. A Home by the Sea: The History of Little Compton, 1820-1950. Little Compton, RI: Little Compton Historical Society, 2012.

Lisle, Janet. First Light: Sakonnet 1660-1820. Little Compton, RI: Little Compton Historical Society, 2010.

O’Toole, Marjory Gomez. If Jane Should Want to Be Sold: Stories of Enslavement, Indenture and Freedom in Little Compton, Rhode Island. Little Compton, RI: Little Compton Historical Society, 2010.

Wilbour, Benjamin Franklin. Little Compton Families. Little Compton, RI: Little Compton Historical Society, 1967. Two volumes. Available online from FamilySearch and Ancestry – Volume 1 and Volume 2.

Wilbour, Benjamin Franklin. Notes on Little Compton. Little Compton, RI: Little Compton Historical Society, 1970.

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