One of my fellow VI researchers and blog readers, Gene Miller, sent me an email today letting me know of Ancestry.com’s latest additions. It seems that they have updated their Virgin Islands record collections.
- Updated: St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, Slave Plantation and Town Head Tax Lists, 1772-1821
- New Collection: St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, Slave and Free People Records, 1733-1930
According to the references on Ancestry, these were provided by VISHA.
The Slave Head Tax lists have been on Ancestry for a few years, but finally, they are indexed! I had found several images that contained family information but it took many hours of detailed page-by-page inspection. Now I can simply enter the family name and voila! Now I’ll see how many I missed.
The Slave and Free People Records are a varied collection from many places, primarily Rigsarkivet in Copenhagen and NARA in College Park. Many of the collections have sourcing information hand-written on the first page of the collection (some have other pages marked as well) like this:
This is from the Christiansted Free Colored Census of 1778, the original is at Rigsarkivet (RA) in Copenhagen. The remainder of the reference shows its location according to the RA filing system. Guess I’ll have to learn how to interpret the codes now.
Now the bad news: This collection is not indexed, it is browsable images only. That means that a “Record” is a page, so if you need to browse the whole set it is over 53,000 pages of records! Guess I better sign up for another year!
According to Ancestry, the new records include:
- slave lists
- vaccination journals
- free men of color militia rolls
- manumissions and emancipation records
- tax lists
- church records (baptism, confirmation, marriage, death, registers, converts, members)
- civil death and burial records (possibly marriage as well)
- immigrant lists
- plantation inventories (include details on enslaved individuals)
- school lists
- lists of people who have moved
- pensioners lists
- property sold
- immigrant records (arrivals, departures, passenger lists)
- slave purchases
I took a quick look at the collection and was immediately rewarded. I browsed the school list for 1876 and found this image that shows the school record of 16-year old Mary Conrad (I profiled her in October in Profile: Mary Conrad Simonsen). If I read it correctly, she had very good attendance, only missing 8 days out of 208 (Christina Conrad, no relation, missed 63 days!), but wasn’t maybe the best student. It appears that Danish wasn’t her best subject, although English was pretty good. This is actually in full agreement with a letter she wrote some 20 years later to her husband’s parents in Denmark, where she laments her inability to write in Danish.