Rhode Island is the smallest state, but full of history, with Providence as its capital and largest city. It is bordered by Connecticut to the west and Massachusetts to the north and east. Its official name, State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, came from the merger of two settlements in 1644. Providence Plantations was the name of the colony founded in 1636 by Roger Williams in the area now known as the City of Providence; Rhode Island Colony was founded soon after, near present day Newport.

There were many Austins in the Colony of Rhode Island. Robert Austin resided at "Kings Town", located between Providence and Newport, in 1661; his sons also settled in the area south of Providence. The descendants of Robert constitute AFAOA's largest database, but there are nine other databases of Rhode island Austins whose connections are not yet known.

Providence has several excellent research facilities. The Providence Public Library maintains a special collection with extensive materials on the State of Rhode Island and the City of Providence that include Sanborn maps, town histories and genealogy resources. The genealogical collection of the Rhode Island Historical Society Library is the third-largest in New England. Printed items exceed 150,000 volumes.Also available are microfilms of almost every newspaper published in Rhode Island from 1732 to the present and a comprehensive collection of city directories.

Another attraction is Benefit Street's "Mile of History", with numerous well preserved colonial homes and churches, the Roger Williams Park and various art and history museums.