Monday, July 30, 2012

Guest Blog: Halvor Jochimsen-Expulsion from Paradise

In Sophie Shiller’s article, Guest Blog: Sophie Schiller on the History Behind “Transfer Day”-Part Two, she describes how she developed her “villain” character, based on the real German Consul and director of the Hamburg-America office in St. Thomas, Julius Jochimsen. Sophie graciously put me in contact with Julius’ grandson, Halvor Jochimsen, who agreed to write up a history of his family connections to St Thomas and the events surrounding Transfer Day.  This, the third of the Guest Blogs, was written by Halvor Jochimsen of Flintbek, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Guest Blog: Sophie Schiller on the History Behind “Transfer Day”-Part Two

This is the second part of a two-part series by author Sophie Schiller.  You can read part one here.


By Sophie Schiller
Typical WWI U-boat
The idea intrigued me greatly. No doubt, creating a believable German U-boat character posed a tempting intellectual challenge for me. But there were still many barriers to cross. For one thing, could I actually create a believable German soldier character? And even if I did, how on earth would I get him to St. Thomas in the middle of a war? And finally, were World War I era U-boats even capable of reaching the West Indies?
To tackle these questions, I dove into the study of U-boats.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Guest Blog: Sophie Schiller on the History Behind “Transfer Day”-Part One

In this post and the next, Sophie Schiller, the author of the novel “Transfer Day” (New Historical Novel Set in St. Thomas–“Transfer Day” by Sophie Shiller) shares her story of how she researched and wrote her book.  In it she discusses some lesser known aspects of Virgin Islands history.  Thanks to Sophie for sharing this with all of us at 200 Years in Paradise.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

US Virgin Islands Passenger Arrivals on just added a database of interest to VI researchers. On July 16 they added the "US Virgin Islands, Passenger Arrivals Index, 1906-1947".  The listing is a searchable index to the passenger lists, consisting of digitized cards for each individual and a reference to the manifest of the ship.  These are only indexes, but contain some useful information as well as a pointer to the actual manifest.  Ancestry's description is below:

About US Virgin Islands, Passenger Arrivals Index, 1906-1947

This database is an index to the passenger lists of ships arriving from foreign ports at the port of St Thomas, in the US Virgin Islands from 1906-1948.
In addition, the names found in the index are linked to actual images of the passenger lists, copied from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) microfilm lists.
Information contained in the index includes:
  • Given name
  • Surname
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Arrival date
  • Port of arrival
  • Port of departure
  • Ship name

Source Information US Virgin Islands, Passenger Arrivals Index, 1906-1947 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2012.
Original data: Index to Passenger Arrivals in the U.S. Virgin Islands, compiled ca. 1906 - ca.1947; (National Archives Microfilm Publication A3404, 7 rolls); Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787-2004, Record Group 85; National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Making my 2012 Family-a-Month Calendar

12 Month Calendar_Page_01 - CopyThis week one of my old posts has gotten a resurgence of interest due to a discussion on LinkedIn entitled “Thinking Out of the Box - Creating Things with Genealogy"  by Bernice Bennett.  Bernice hosts a weekly internet Radio show entitled  “Research at the National Archives and Beyond”.   Bernice asked for ideas for creative uses of genealogical research to share on her show.  I posted a link to A Genealogical Christmas Present from January 11, where I showed a calendar I created for my family as a Christmas gift this past year.  Well, I got a lot of comments and emails on the calendar asking what I did, so I figured I’d share the construction techniques I used.  I mentioned some of the ideas in my January post, but I wanted to expand on it.  The whole project, from conception to shipping was about  two weeks.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

New Historical Novel Set in St. Thomas–“Transfer Day” by Sophie Shiller

A couple of weeks ago I got an email from one of my regular readers telling me that she had just published her first novel, set in 1917 St. Thomas.  The book is called “Transfer Day”, by Sophie Shiller.  It is available as a digital download on Amazon Kindle for 99¢.  I believe it is soon to be published in paperback.  If you’ve got a spare buck, give it a read.  I bought a copy right away and found it quite enjoyable.

Here’s the description from

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Essay: Wrong Information on the Internet Doesn’t Bother Me

If you read genealogy blogs for very long, you will encounter many discussions on what is perhaps the most common complaint in all of genealogy: Many people are putting up incorrect family tree information.  Blog posts suggest ways of dealing with this pariah, such as 3 Ways to Contend With Incorrect Family Tree Data Online, and, and the spread of misinformation.  A Google search of “Incorrect Family Trees” returned 1,840 that use this expression.  Many have complained that sites like and encourage posting poorly done research and should remove inaccurate information from their sites.  I’ve even heard some say that they have “been forced” to make their information private to discourage people from using it incorrectly.  This week, there was an active discussion on the Genealogical & Historical Research group of LinkedIn entitled Incorrect information on the Internet--how do you stop that story? that caused me to reflect on why, exactly, it doesn’t bother me at all.