Thursday, September 29, 2011

Religion in St. Croix 1841-1911

In my last post I discussed the genealogist’s go-to record, the census.  The DWI census records have one major advantage over US census records: they indicate religion.  This is very helpful as often the only source of birth and death records come from church registers.  How do you know which church to look at if you don’t know the denomination?  Fortunately, it’s right there in the census (Also it’s really convenient that there were only a couple of churches).   I thought it would be interesting to see how popular each religion was, so I collected the data from VISHA and performed an analysis.  Since the official religion was Lutheran, one would expect that most people would be Lutheran… but one would be wrong.

I tabulated all the St. Croix censuses spanning 1841-1911 (with the exception of 1857, which is mostly missing from the VISHA database). This was a total of 203,144 census records.  Of that number, only 987 indicated...

About the Danish West Indies Census

One of the reasons I decided to start this blog was to share information about the records, resources, and techniques of Virgin Islands genealogy. Periodically, I will post information on the types of records I find to help other researchers (who may not care about my particular family) understand what's available, how to get it, and how to use it. It seems natural to begin with the most commonly sought genealogical records: the censuses.
Detail from 1841 Census showing my great-great grandmother, Sophia Andersen and her mother Eliza Scott

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Inaugural Post-So, What’s this Blog About Anyway?

My mother was born and grew up in St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands, the “American Paradise”. As a child, and later as an adult, I visited St. Croix from time-to-time and have always felt a connection to the island. Whether it was the lure of a simpler island life, the siren call of clear blue water, or the knowledge that this was the land of my ancestors is hard to say. I just know that when I am there, I feel like a local.

My mother wasn't the first of my family born there. Although she always knew that her father was born on the island, she never knew much about his parents; when they went to St. Croix and from where. Supposedly they were Danish. Finally, I decided to find out -- thus began my study of genealogy and my St. Croix family history.

In researching my family tree I have learned a lot about my family, genealogy research, and the history of the Islands. I learned that my family's residence on St. Croix goes further back than my great-grandparents. Much further. My great-great-great-great-great (that's 5th great) grandfather lived on St Croix by 1774. When my grandmother died in 1986, my direct ancestors had lived there for over 200 years.