Friday, September 28, 2012

Happy Anniversary to 200 Years in Paradise

It was one year ago today that I began 200 Years in Paradise.  Through this blog I have been introduced to a passionate and knowledgeable community of Virgin Islands history enthusiasts and professionals.  I have been able to share my research, what I have learned about genealogy, and the continual unfolding of my family’s Virgin Island history.

I started this blog with modest goals.  I wanted to share my research with family and friends, without the eye-glazing that often accompanies my energetic discussions of “interesting family facts”.  In addition, I was frustrated at the almost complete lack of on-line references and research aids to Virgin Islands genealogy.  I wanted to begin to fill that void.  I wanted to bring the Virgin Islands into the world stage of genealogy as a full member, not simply as a curiosity.  I wanted to bring the history alive with people, places, society, pictures, and poetry, connecting these little islands with their Danish roots and their century of American ties.  I hope that I achieved at least some of that with my posts.
While I never expected a large readership, the islands are tiny after all, I have been thrilled with the reception I have gotten.  My articles have been viewed nearly 11,000 times.  While the vast majority of my readers are from the U.S., I have quite a few regular readers from Denmark, the Virgin Islands, Australia, the UK, Germany, Russia, Canada, Spain, and France.  200 Years has been featured on popular mainline genealogy blogs like Randy Seaver’s Genea-Musings200 Years was featured as one of Family Tree Magazine’s 40 best blogs of 2012.  I even received a phone call by George Tyson, president of VISHA, who complemented my work, specifically on the social history of the islands.  The latest honor was being asked to be a guest on Bernice Bennet’s internet radio program to tell the whole genealogy world (or at least a whole lot of people) about the unique history and records of our little islands.

Through your comments and emails I discovered something special about the islands and island people:  Virgin Islanders love their islands.  They love their heritage and they love their history.  Even those like me, who weren’t born in the islands, carry something of the islands in their blood.  I still think I said it best in my inaugural post from 28 Sep 2011:
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.
200 Years – The First Year
One of the most difficult decisions that a blogger makes is to decide the feel and scope of the blog.  There are already many blogs that treat news and general genealogical topics, so I generally don’t post about them.  I also tend to post longer articles because I want to offer scholarly research, thoughtful commentary, or engaging biographies.  Over the past year I have posted 68 articles on a variety of topics.  Many readers, especially the newer ones, may not have seen them all, so I thought it would be good to collect them here. 

Most of all, I want to thank you, my readers, for the encouraging comments and emails.  It is your interest and passion that keeps me going. 

Looking forward to a second year.

Posts about this and other Blogs

Inaugural Post-So, What’s this Blog About Anyway?
Blogging for Cousins
“200 Years” Gets Mentioned in Print
Family Tree Magazine: 40 Best Genealogy Blogs for 2012
Happy New Year from “200 Years”
New St Croix Family History Blog
So, What’s Interesting to You?
Radio Show Announcement–October 25, 2012

Posts about My Family Research

Who’s In the House–Agnes Carrington
The First van Beverhoudts in the Danish West Indies
Obituary: Joan Marilyn van Beverhoudt Thorne
Christiansted Cemetery-Like the Good Old Days
The van Beverhoudts Take Manhattan
Captain Conrad–More from Flensburg
Captain Christian Andreas Conrad (1802-1875)
A Burgherbrief Brings Down a Brick Wall
Claudina’s Poem: “On the Loss of the Titanic”
Should it be 300 Years in Paradise??
My Family Comes to St Croix in 1773
Robson Family Genealogy
Solving a Puzzle–Who is M. M. Colbiørnsen?
Who’s That Girl?
The “Gentlemen of Jones”
A Little Genealogical Serendipity
Case Study: Amy McNobney’s Family
Children of Amy McNobney
Profile: Mary Conrad Simonsen
Treasures from Mom’s House
My Lutheran Family
I Found My Great-Great Grandfather
A Great Find
Case Study: Adelaide’s Maiden Name

Posts about Virgin Islands Social History

Religion in St. Croix 1841-1911
My Ancestors weren’t Married?! (Part 1-Intro)
My Ancestors weren’t Married?! (Part 2-The Study)
My Ancestors weren’t Married?! (Part 3-Population)
My Ancestors weren’t Married?! (Part 4-Trends)
Dutch West Indies Anthroponomastics: Who’s Your (Grand) Daddy?  
Posts about Virgin Islands Records
About the Danish West Indies Census
Anglican Church Records at
An Early Christmas Present from the CGL
Virgin Islands Records: The 1917 US Census
St Croix Records: The Census
St Croix Records: Lutheran Church Books
VI Records: DWI Slave Records on Fold3
St Croix Census–The Missing Images
The Continuing Saga of the VI Records
Virgin Islands Records Vanished from
New VI Records-First Impressions
New Virgin Islands Records on
St Croix Census Responses–Creative Occupations
Call for Help: Virgin Islands Departure Lists
Church Records: Where are They?
Understanding Virgin Islands Records at Rigsarkivet
US Virgin Islands Passenger Arrivals on
My Microfilm’s In–An Offer for Readers

Posts about Virgin Islands and General Interest Genealogy
Essay: Wrong Information on the Internet Doesn’t Bother Me
Genealogy in the Virgin Islands-A Curse and a Blessing
Photos: Cartes-de-visite (CDVs)
Photographing Microfilm Records
Tracing Your Sources
Dealing with Bad Images
A Genealogical Christmas Present
Making my 2012 Family-a-Month Calendar

Guest and Related Posts

New Historical Novel Set in St. Thomas–“Transfer Day” by Sophie Shiller
Guest Blog: Sophie Schiller on the History Behind “Transfer Day”-Part One
Guest Blog: Sophie Schiller on the History Behind “Transfer Day”-Part Two
Guest Blog: Halvor Jochimsen-Expulsion from Paradise


  1. Arnold van Beverhoudt Jr.September 28, 2012 at 11:44 AM

    Happy Anniversary!!

  2. Congratulations Dave! Trust me, you have MORE than exceeded your expectations. You have made an enormous contribution to scholary research into the sociological, cultural, and ethnological history of the VI/Danish West Indies. In addition, you have created an invaluable forum for other researchers to share ideas and each other's histories and memories. Your grandmother's collection of photos and letters is like a glimpse into the past. When you think about it, the history of your family is like a page out of the history of these islands, a study of a truly unique American family that has extended its influence to the outside world, yet always remembers the way back home. May you go from strength to strength in your genealogical journal; it benefits the rest of the us in ways too numerous to mention.

    Best Regards,

  3. Happy Anniversary!
    I've enjoyed reading your blog and it has inspired me to continue writing up pieces of my island family history. You have good reason to be proud. Keep up the great work!


  4. Happy Anniversary! As a newly found Simonsen/Conrad cousin, I cherish and appreciate all of the research that you have done...

    Thank You, and keep up the fantastic work!

  5. Better late than never. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!! You have accomplished so much in so little time. Based on other comments, it seems like your family really appreciates your efforts to find out your family's history. Keep it up! You never know what you may find......

  6. That’s an amazing share. Reading through this was pretty interesting. Looking forward to more such posts. I also need to plan a surprise anniversary party for my parents. They deserve a grand party as they have gone through so many struggles in all these years. Can anyone recommend the vintage themed Los Angeles event venues?