Sunday, August 11, 2013

Ancilla and Elizabeth: Who were they?

Probably one of the most enjoyable aspects of blogging genealogy is helping other people research their Virgin Islands roots.  The complete lack of helpful information for VI researchers makes it very easy to get frustrated and quit.  Hopefully, I help fill in a little there.  Apart from the sheer enjoyment of sharing my passion, working on someone else’s family allows me to work with records and locations that don’t pertain to my family. It helps me learn about the other people on the islands which gives me a better understanding of the culture and society that shaped my family.
Since it’s summer, most of my free time is devoted to the old “honey-do” list and I have been lax in both blogging and genealogy. I haven’t been as energized as I would like, so I was thrilled to receive this email from a blog reader:
I have been looking into Genealogy recently in St Croix and stumbled across your blog that is probably the most informative thing I have found. 

I have been looking into a little bit a family mystery.  We have not known much about my Great grandfathers Brother (I guess my great -great uncle).  Only that he left Denmark and died in the Caribbean.  Since I last looked into it a few years back there was not much available on the internet.  A couple of seeks ago, I tried again and found quite a bit.  His Gravestone on find a grave (his name is Jacob Sorensen).  He died a shoemaker in 1874 after at least 25 years on the island.  I am not sure how common it was for soldiers to stay on during the Danish period   
What I have been able to find through census records, Visha and Ancestry, is that he was married (something that we did not know).   I would like to find the marriage license.  I would also like to find any christening records (to see if there are any distant cousins out there).

What I also find intriguing is that I believe his wife (Elizabeth Block)would have been descended from Slaves because her mother's name was Ancilla Benners.  I have read that Ancilla means Slave girl in Latin.  I would love to find out more about them.

The reason I am writing is that I will be going to St Croix for a few days in a couple of weeks.  It is a family trip but I am hoping I will have a little time to do some research.  I live in Salt Lake City so I do have access to resources but I am wondering if you might have any suggestions on where I might be able to visit in St Croix to find a little bit more about my relatives.

Sorry for the long e-mail.  thanks  James
Well James, I wanted to give you something to help for your trip. While I certainly didn’t do an exhaustive research job since time is short, I think I found some things that will help your search in St Croix considerably.