Monday, April 30, 2012

St Croix Census–The Missing Images

image_thumb[2]Regular readers will know that I have been spending much of my free time at NARA Archives II in College Park, MD, going through microfilms of their Virgin Islands records, the Selected Records of the Danish West Indies 1672-1917.  Since Fold3 has the 11 roll set of M-1883,Essential Records Concerning Slavery and Emancipation online, I have been devoting my time to photographing M-1884, Records with Genealogical Value.  These records have been keeping me busy as a proverbial bee.  Since I haven’t really spent much time discussing what I found, I thought I’d start by showing you where the missing images are.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Dutch West Indies Anthroponomastics: Who’s Your (Grand) Daddy?

1777-Head Tax-Claudius BeverhoudtNow there’s a word you don’t see every day.  The Online Dictionary of Language Terminology (ODLT) says:


Definition - The branch of onomastics that studies anthroponyms, i.e, the personal names of human beings.

Etymology - The word derives from the Greek anthropos, human being + Greek onomastikos, of or belonging to naming (from onoma, name).

It is a special branch of onomastics, the study of names.  So what does this have to do with Genealogy?  Well, in my tree: lots. In fact, I have found several distinct naming patterns and structures in my tree, resulting from the real melting-pot that was the West Indies.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Claudina’s Poem: “On the Loss of the Titanic”

As this is the centenary of the loss of the RMS Titanic, I thought it fitting to post a contemporaneous poem on the tragedy by my great aunt, Claudina Marie Conrad (b. 1887).  Claudina was born, lived, and died in Christiansted, St Croix.  I never met her, as she died before I was born, but by all accounts she was a fairly prolific poet.
Claudina collected some of her works into a volume entitled “Carnations for Mother’s Day”, although it was never published.  Among the poems is one that she wrote within days of hearing of the Titanic disaster in 1912. 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Should it be 300 Years in Paradise??

Last week I posted the story of my oldest known family group, Claudius and Guertrude van Beverhoudt.  I was pretty thrilled to have found evidence that took them back to 1754 in St Thomas.  Unlike many families in the United States or Europe, there isn’t a compiled genealogy of my family that I have ever found.  In fact, I haven’t located many compiled genealogies for VI families.  The closest I have found is the work of Svend Holsoe, which I have commented on before. I have been assembling the puzzle of the van Beverhoudts (and my other lines) piece by piece and making slow progress.  This week, I busted through the brick wall big time, and got linked to a rich set of published genealogical information that instantly doubled the size of my family tree and stepped me back two more generations on St Thomas, possibly to the 1600’s.

While searching the internet, I came across Claudius van Beverhoudt and Guertruy Magens on Robert Gordon Clarke’s website  Early New Netherland Settlers. This site is devoted to compiling genealogies of the families who settled the New Netherlands between 1623 and 1664. Many of these families appear in the West Indies as well as the New Netherlands, including many Dutch settlers in St Eustatius, Saba, and St Thomas. 

According to the data on this site, Claudius van Beverhoudt’s father was Johannes van Beverhoudt Claudizoon (1711-1751) and his grandparents were Claude (or Glaudi) van Beverhoudt (c. 1670-1713) and Elizabeth de Windt (d. bef 1720).  Elizabeth connects me with a rich source of genealogical information.

Unlike many sites, Clarke includes source data.  Most of the data for my family comes from a single basic source, a series of journals. In the 1980’s Henry B. Hoff and R. Kenneth Barta wrote a series of articles for a New York genealogical journal called “The Genealogist”  tracing the de Windt families of the West indies and their connections to the Dutch colonies in the New Netherlands.  The de Windts were a prominent family on both St Croix and St Thomas for a long time, producing many offspring in the Caribbean and in New York.

Since I am one to check sources, I contacted the National Association of Genealogists and ordered reprints of The Genealogist, Vols 1-10 (The set is available right now for $40 post-paid).  Once they arrive, I will go through them to confirm the data and see what additional sources are cited.  As I understand it, Hoff and Barta are highly respected genealogists, so their work should be of highest quality.

I have already found other surprises in the data that will have to wait for confirmation before I go “on the record”, but it has been very exciting to finally get tied to a family with significant research already done.  It is also extremely helpful in sorting out all the van Beverhoudts I have run across in my research.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

My Family Comes to St Croix in 1773

One of the goals I had in pursuing my St Croix family was to determine when they arrived on the island.  Census documents only take us back to 1841 and other sources are needed to go further.  One key source I found early on was the St Croix Slave and Head Tax registers on  These aren’t indexed, but are browsable.  Of course, there are thousands so it is slow going.  The original documents are located in the Rigsarkivet in Copenhagen, the national archive of Denmark.  Around 1994 the documents were photographed (probably to microfilm) and later digitized.  The digitization is 2-bit black and white (not 16-bit greyscale) so they are often very hard to read.  Many are of usable quality though and they offer a wealth of information to the genealogist.