Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Return from Paradise

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Customs House and Fort in Christiansted
Last week I visited the beautiful island of St Croix.  It wasn’t the first time I’ve been there, but after all the research I’ve done on my family, I saw it with new eyes.   I managed to get at least some of my wish list accomplished on the trip, although to tell the truth, I frequently got distracted.  I had to spend time at the beach, diving, and the mandatory boat trip to Buck Island.  So, while I’m getting back into the groove of real life, I wanted to do just a quick post and hint at what I’ll be writing about soon.

I did learn a valuable lesson on the trip.  Apparently I have the wrong cell-phone carriers.  I have Verizon and my wife has T-Mobile, but the local carrier is AT&T.  Upon landing we discovered that we were completely out of communication.  No phone, no email, no internet.  I brought my iPad with me but the internet at the condo we stayed at was through an Ethernet cable.  No Wi-Fi.  As a result, I wasn’t able to reach everyone I wanted to and I apologize if I left anyone hanging.  I also didn’t have access to my research, so I didn’t get as much accomplished as I would have liked.

My big genealogical find was the identity of one of my 4th great grandmothers.  This turns out to be interesting two ways, as it helped me make a connection to someone else I have been tracking for a long time, but couldn’t figure out how she was connected.

I met some wonderful people at the archives at Whim on St Croix, the CGL on St Thomas and looked at the VISHA database.  This database, accessible only from the islands, holds indexes to many of the registers and documents of interest to researchers.  With the information from the database, I have found several baptismal records of other family members.

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Corner of Church St and Company St in Christiansted
Notwithstanding the difficulties, the trip was wonderful and apart from some much-needed rest, I did push my family research further and will be posting articles soon on my finds. I also made contact with some wonderful folks on both St Croix and St Thomas (in between visiting the beaches). I met a cousin on St Thomas and reconnected with one on St Croix. I walked through Christiansted and visited many parts of town I have never been to, visiting my ancestors' home sites. While many of the old houses are long gone, some are still around. I got photos!

Oh, by the way, if you read my post on Agnes Carrington's House you will remember that I said there was no house at 22 Strand St.  In fact, here’s a satellite photo I got from Google today showing the location (red arrow).  See, no house. Well, times have changed and there is a brand new house at that location.  Here’s a picture.  Shows how old the Google Maps photos are!

Google Maps location of 22 Strand St
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Current photo of Same Location
Overall it was a wonderful week and I can’t wait to get back there again.  Meanwhile, I have a lot of work to do to assimilate what I found.  Thank you to all my friends and relatives on St Croix, and for those I missed, I’ll be back soon.

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