I tabulated all the St. Croix censuses spanning 1841-1911 (with the exception of 1857, which is mostly missing from the VISHA database). This was a total of 203,144 census records. Of that number, only 987 indicated...
that they belonged to no religion. This is a very religious people! The vast majority of respondents stated that they belonged to one of the four major religions on the island: Anglican (also known as “English”), Roman Catholic, Moravian, and Lutheran (or “Danish”). In addition, 975 records stated an affiliation with one of a host of other recognizable denominations including Jewish, Dutch Reformed, Presbyterian, even Hindu and Salvation Army. There were also things you wouldn’t expect: 158 were Swedenborgian (more on this in a future blog). Eight were listed as “Heathen”. In 1860, Nicoline Augusta Blom, age 24, stated that she “can’t remember”. (Her husband, Peter Blom was Lutheran). 23 were listed as “coolie”, which I can only assume is a Chinese religion, possibly Buddhist.
|Distribution of religion according to census records|
I wanted to see if this changed over time, so I analyzed the proportions for each individual census. The table shows that the percentages of Catholic and Lutheran were nearly constant over the entire 70-year timespan.
Percentage of Population by Major Religion by Year
Being a scientist, I like to see graphs of my data and this showed an interesting phenomenon. From 1860 to 1890, the percentage of Moravians dropped to almost half of its previous levels. Interestingly, the Anglicans saw a rise in the same time. It would appear from this data that what the Moravians lost, the Anglicans gained. Turns out that the total of Moravian plus Anglican was pretty steady. The number of Lutherans was showing a steady decline during this time.
|Change over time of the four major religions on St. Croix|
Well, hopefully you found that interesting, I certainly did. Demographic analyses help me understand my ancestors and help me get a feeling for their world. I have done a variety of analyses on the data and continue to find interesting insights.
Please leave me a comment to tell me if you are interested in seeing more analyses like this in the future.