Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Blogtalk Radio - Searching for Your Island Roots with David Lynch

Flyer-Radio_Talk_ShowAs I mentioned before, I will be interviewed on Thursday, Oct 25, at 9pm ET by Bernice Bennett, the host of Research at the National Archives and Beyond.  This is an internet radio program, broadcast live and recorded for later retrieval via web or podcast.  Here is the official announcement.
Searching for Your Island Roots with David Lynch
Bernice Bennett welcomes David Lynch who brings a new approach to searching his Caribbean roots, specifically in the U.S. Virgin Islands, the former Danish West Indies. David used his 20 years of experience in scientific research to guide his work in uncovering his family’s 300 year history in the islands. Very few records are available online, so David explored the rarely used NARA RG 55 in College Park and other sources. These records hold a wealth of information including tax lists and a nearly complete set of newspapers from St Croix dating from the early 1800’s. In the process he learned a lot about the islands, the people, and a family history that was very different then he expected.
He chronicles his discoveries in his blog – 200 Year’s in Paradise – selected as one of Family Tree Magazine's Top 40 for 2012
To listen, just click on the link here. If you want to participate, you can call in with comments or questions at (646) 200-0491.  There is also a live text chat line that should be opened at about 8:45 ET, about 15 minutes before the show.


  1. Awesome! I am excited to hear it.
    I'm also totally interested in the St. Croix newspapers mentioned. How & where did you access them?

  2. They have a large collection of them at NARA in College Park. They are not filmed. I do belive that there are some films at the Library of Congress, but I'm not sure how many.

    I was looking through the Avis at NARA. It's really interesting. They have the actual papers bound in books by year. It's really fun to browse through them day by day. I was looking at 1834 and found that there wasn't a lot of local news, lots of reprints of Barbados European, and US news. What was real interesting, though, was the ads. I'll have to do a blog on them at some point.

    1. In the days before the telegraph (1834) news traveled by packet steamers and schooners and people had to wait weeks, sometimes months, to get the news. In the 1840's news traveled over the telegraph wires, resulting in much swifter communication. The people of the Danish West Indies were a surprisingly international bunch. They loved keeping in touch with communities all across the globe. And after major disasters and hurricanes, they would solicit donations from wherever they could using ship owners to spread the word in ports where they docked. They paid business associates to place ads in newspapers announcing the calamity and where to send funds. Some of these ads are reprinted in this interesting book:

  3. Danish West Indies newspapers are also available on microfilm at the public libraries and the University of the Virgin Islands libraries in St. Croix and St. Thomas. And there are collections in the Danish National Archive in Copenhagen.