The information in this volume was compiled from the little known Custom House Papers in the Manuscript Department of the Rhode Island Historical Society, and was supplemented by a National Archives microfilm publication containing copies of passenger arrival lists.
The Providence lists from 1798 to 1808 are actually extremely rare Alien Registration Lists, kept in compliance with the Alien Act of 1798. They contain the name of the alien, his age, place of birth, the country he came from, the nation he belonged to and owed allegiance to, his occupation, and a physical description.
The 1820-1872 passenger lists for Providence and Bristol/Warren are Customs Passenger Lists in the possession of the Rhode Island Historical Society–a large percentage of which are actually missing from the National Archives microfilm for the same period of coverage. These lists give the name of the passenger, his age, sex, occupation, the name of the country to which he belonged, and the country which he intended to inhabit.
Altogether about 4,000 persons are listed in the various sections of this work.