The Providence City Archives has a free, online collection of Irish Surnames in Rhode Island and the Irish Counties they Represent.

“For anyone who is Irish-American, and whose family came to America before 1900, the question of where in Ireland those people came from is all too often unanswerable. But for those who came to Rhode Island, some under-studied bank records are opening doors.

“Founded in 1819, the Society for Savings in Providence was the major savings bank for much of the immigrant population as early as the 1840’s. Before the mid-1860’s, very little information was attached to the individual when he or she signed in to the “Signature Books.”

“However, by 1863, occupations and addresses were being added to the signings. In the day before photo identification, and with so many people carrying the same names, it became necessary to add information that could properly identify the bank customer.

For those tracing their Irish roots, the most exciting addition to the collected information came toward the end of the 1860’s when the Irish home counties were added to the records. It is from this time on that we can see more clearly where individuals and families originated.” (emphasis added)



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