When doing house history research on-site in Little Compton, Rhode Island you can accomplish a lot because the deeds, vital records, tax records and probate are all available in the Town Clerk’s office at Town Hall. However, every once in a while you might get stuck and need more help. Lucky for you the staff at the Little Compton Historical Society have provided some research tools.
Here are two resources they have made available to make your life easier.
#1 Little Compton Families
Sometimes deeds transfer in probate rather than through the land evidence records. So if you get stuck in your deed research one thing you might try is to look for the probate records for the parents of the owner you are researching. How do find out who the owner’s parents were? One way is to refer to the two volume book Little Compton Families by Benjamin Franklin Wilbour.
Little Compton Families contains genealogies from the earliest families to about the mid 20th century. How much you find on one family depends on their arrival date in Little Compton.
The Little Compton Historical Society has made copies of both volumes available in 3-ring binders in Town Hall. The binders are available on the shelf to the right of the Town Clerk’s desk.
The genealogies, which are grouped by alphabetically by family, make it very easy to discover relationships. This will help you uncover the family of your previous homeowner. Then you can move on to the probate index to locate the probate records.
#2 Cemetery Index
The second great resource available to you on-site is a binder containing cemetery information for the 46 cemeteries in Little Compton.
In the binder you’ll find a list of the cemeteries, a map of the cemeteries and an alphabetical listing of the gravestones in town. It’s an absolutely tremendous resource to have. The black binder is available near the land evidence records.
You can find the cemetery information online as a pdf download before you visit but if you forget to bring the information with you it’s great to have a printed copy right there at Town Hall.
Want to know more? For a more thorough discussion of the cemeteries in town and whether they are publicly accessible see Remember Me: A Guide to Little Compton’s 46 Historic Cemeteries (2018).
You never know where your research is going to take you before you get started! Even though these resources are available online or in published books it’s great to have these resources available right where you need when you are on-site.