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. has a fully indexed collection, with images, of the St Croix censuses from 1841-1911.  The census was indexed by VISHA, the Virgin Islands Social History Association (, and the images were made by the Danish Archives, Rigsarkivet, in Copenhagen from originals there.  Rigsarkivet doesn’t have the full set, however.  There are some images missing from several censuses, particularly the 1890 census.  I discovered this when I pulled up records of my 2nd great grandfather, Claudius van Beverhoudt.  Here’s the page from Ancestry:

Notice the red “X” where it says to “View original image”.  That “X” is because Ancestry doesn’t have the image.  Ancestry’s collection is only 625 images for 1690 but they have 1,427 from 1680. Seems like half the collection is missing.  Odds are, if your family was in St Croix in 1890, half of the census documents (both plantations and towns) will be unavailable.

That’s because the originals aren’t in Copenhagen.  They’re in College Park.  Notice at the bottom of the page under Document Reference it says:
NARA/RG55/Box189; Microfilm
1884/Roll 1/3
That means that the original is at NARA, in Record Group 55 (which is in College Park) Box 189.  It has been microfilmed on publication M-1884, Roll 1, Section 3.  Here’s that missing page:

1890-Church St. 16 AB
Quite a lot of census images are there.  Frames 269 to 938 or Roll 1 are all pages from the 1890 census.  That’s 551 pages.  The roll also includes the census report for 1890 showing population statistics for all three islands.  Of course, the book is in Danish, but when you do Virgin Islands research, you get used to Danish.  Thank God for Google Translate and kind folks in Denmark who have been helping me along.

The other Sections of Roll 1 are devoted to supporting documents and statistics of earlier censuses, but they’re fragmentary.  Section 1 contains fragments of the 1840 census, Laborers leaving the Countryside 1853-54, 1860 census, and List of Men Eligible for Service in the Fire Department  for 1863.  (The NARA index for M-1884 says that this list is for 1879, but the documents clearly say 1863.  I’ll trust the originals here). Section 2 is mostly statistical data for several censuses
Of particular interest is the Fire Department list of Section 1. This lists persons, age, occupation and address. One frame shows what appears to be Claudius’ brother Johannes (b. 1827), age 36, laborer, living at 5 Kirkegade (Church St.).  Since Johannes doesn’t appear in any census after 1846, this may show that he was still alive in 1863.  Bears further investigation.

Claudius isn’t listed, although it appears that the requirements were for men between 20 and 50, Claudius was 34.  Of course, there are several others that don’t appear to be in the list, so I will have to find out the qualifications.

So, that’s a quick rundown on what’s on Roll 1 of M-1884.  Only 129 more rolls to go!


  1. Dave,
    Here's an interesting video that shows the people behind working on the Caribbean project, including Mr. George Tyson, the "go-to" guy for all historical and genealogical information in the Danish West Indies:

    Also, if you fly down to St. Thomas, you could visit the Enid Baa library where the ladies on the second floor could pull up newspaper microfiche records that might contain obituaries for the van Beverhoudts, as well as baptismal, business and marriage announcements and FOR SALE ads that might even be more useful and eye-opening than those dry census records at NARA. You would need to devote a solid week of dedicated poring over of old newspapers for the Danish West Indies to find the proverbial needle in the haystack. One newspaper in St. Croix in those days was "The St. Croix Avis", there was also the "St. Thomas Tidende". Depending on how influential and verbose your ancestres were, many people wrote letters to the editor and op-eds that were published using their actual names.

    Good luck!
    Rachel (fellow researcher)

  2. Thanks for the comment Rachel. I'm not familiar with Mr Tyson. Do you have any contact info? I would love to fly down, but I can't imagine my wife would let me spend a week "proing over old newspapers!!" NARA has copies of the Avis and the Tidende and several others, I've looked through a couple. They do make for some interesting reading. No films though, they are bound in books.

    1. I came across your postings by "accident" and find them very interesting. I would strongly recommend that you take a trip to St. Croix. Here you will find the VISHA database, newspapers on microfilm and a host of other information. You will also be able to make copies of records that you find, to include the church records. A visit to St. Croix Landmarks Society library at Estate Whim and Florence Williams Library in Christiansted will be an experience to remember. I know George Tyson personally and Dr. Holsoe as well. Your wife will enjoy St. Croix and yes, she can do a day trip to St. Thomas/St. John.

      Good luck in your search.

    2. Mary, I have actually been to St Croix many times. My grandmother lived there and we still have friends there. While I have been to Whim, I wasn't doing research yet so I haven't been through the resources. I've flown the goose to St Thomas as well, but it has been many years. I'm hoping to get down there soon.

      If you came across this humble blog by accident, perhaps you can encourage others to stumble by. Also, if you have any suggestions on topics people may want to read, I'd love to hear about them. I'm trying to provide a resource to others from the islands.

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. Rachel left a comment but I needed to edit out some personal information. Here is the rest of her very helpful comment:
    Well, for starters, there's plenty of activities that Mrs. Lynch can do while you're holed up in the library: shopping, tour buses, snorkling, sunbathing, walking tours, sampling the local cuisine, getting her hair done, learning how to SCUBA dive, side trips to Annaberg and Trunk Bay (St. John)etc... Trust me, it's impossible to get bored on a trip to the Virgin Islands.

    Mr. Tyson's phone number is XXX-XXX-XXXX. If you tell him about your family's old roots in St. Croix, you will have made a friend for life. Other historians you can consult with are Myron Jackson at XXX-XXX-XXXX and William Cissel XXX-XXX-XXXX.

    Incidentally, I located some "van Beverhoudts" (Elida and Ernest) working in the Dry Goods businesses in St. Thomas in 1918. And there's an A.R. van Beverhoudt working in Hardware in 1918. You can download this free book and find them yourself:

    Also, there is a van Beverhoudt mentioned in the book "Tales from my Grandmother's Pipe" by Will Johnson. If you search google books for "Von Beverhoudt" and "Danish West Indies" or "St. Croix" you pull up a treasure trove of information. For instance, you will find that some of the von Beverhoudts from the Danish West Indies immigrated to Georgia from St. Croix during Colonial times. In another case, a Lucas von Beverhoudt imported a slave from St. Croix to New York in 1769 and even had to pay DUTIES on him!

    Here's an except from page 169 from "The Danish West Indies under Company Rule" (1917):
    "The surviving planters, with such negroes as remained faithful, had in the meantime collected at Peter Deurloo's plantation on the northwest corner of the island. The approach to "Deurloo's Bay" was easily guarded, and the fugitive planters were within fairly easy reach of St. Thomas. While the St. Thomas officials and planters were making such preparations for their relief as they could, a small band of whites under the leadership of Captain of Militia John von Beverhoudt and Lieutenant John Charles, together with a score or more of their best negroes, were hastening with feverish activity to prepare for the rebel onslaught. The women and children were quickly transported to nearby islets. A number of the planters on the south side and on the west end of the island were warned by friendly slaves in time to permit them to join the men at Deurloo's or to seek safety in their canoes.

    Good luck in your research!

  5. Rachel,

    Thanks for the pointers for people and books. I had run across the "Company Rule" reference and have corresponded with Dr. Holsoe. I'm wondering if my 6th great grandfather, Johannes van Beverhoudt Claudizoon, was the "John van Beverhoudt" referenced. He seems about the right age (22), but Johannes was a popular name. The family also includes a Peter Durloo and a Peter de Wint. I also have Magenses in the family and have seen a reference to another family member, Joachim Melchior Magens who was involved in the 1733 uprising.

    While I don't know yet who was involved, I do plan to write an article on Johannes Claudizoon. His story surprised me somewhat and has some very interesting connections! Stay tuned!

  6. Arnold E. van Beverhoudt, Jr.May 2, 2012 at 9:09 PM


    Elida (actually Elisa) and Ernest are my grandparents. They had a dry goods store somewhere on Main Street. They moved permanently to Venezuela after the 1930 census, and the majority of their descendents are still there. My father stayed on St. Thomas, where my brother and I still are.

  7. To Arnold and Dave et. al.
    Since you guys have a real interest in the Danish West Indies, and since Arnold's father and grandparents actually lived through the transfer of the islands, you all would be interested in my new book coming out towards the end of this year called "Transfer Day", a well-researched, intriguing and suspenseful novel about the transfer of the islands to the U.S. where history is made to come alive. More details to come!


  8. Rachel, that sounds exciting! Keep us informed. By the way, my grandfather lived through Transfer Day as well and I have some photos he took. He was born in Christiansted in 1894 and lived on St Croix until he died in 1972. He worked for both the Danish and the US Government at Government House. His father lived through it as well and died sometime before 1930.

  9. Arnold van Beverhoudt Jr.May 8, 2012 at 3:14 PM

    Thanks, Rachel. I'll be on the lookout for info on your book.