Monday, March 25, 2013

All Bahn Ya! - 19th Century St Croix Population

Section of 1846 census at Estate Fountain on St Croix
One thing I noticed when I started going through the St Croix census from the 1800s and early 1900s: most of the population said that they were from St Croix.  There didn’t seem to be a lot of immigration from Europe, the US, or even neighboring islands.  Since this seemed so prevalent, I wanted to know just how many of them were from St Croix, and how that number changed over time. 
So, I conducted a study of the birthplaces indicated on the Danish censuses from 1841-1911.  I discovered a couple of interesting features about the population profile so I figured I’d share. 

This post is about the composition of the St Croix population from pre-emancipation to right before the US purchase.  In particular, the overwhelming tendency to be Bahn Ya (Born here).

Friday, March 22, 2013

AAGG Conference in Philadelphia, April 27

imageI’m very excited to announce that I have been invited to speak about my Virgin Islands research at a family history conference in Philadelphia on April 27.  It sounds like it will be great fun!

This is from the AAGG website

Saturday, April 27th, 2013
8:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Researching African American Genealogy
Family History Center
3913 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

A Conference presented by the African American Genealogy Group and Hosted by the Family History Center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Noted genealogists and specialists including Char McCargo Bah, Shamele Jordon, Michael Hait, Fallon Nicole Green, David Lynch, Allen McClain, Reginald Washington (National Archives) and Troy Messick will present timely topics including Family History Center, Native American Ancestry, Caribbean Ancestry, Reunions, DNA Research and Medical Genealogy.

To register for this event, click here to purchase ticket(s) via EventBrite.

Space is limited and only ticket holders who purchase tickets will be admitted to the event. Please feel free check out local establishments for breakfast or lunch, buy an available boxed lunch here, or feel free to bring your own food. No food or drinks are permitted in the chapel and community rooms.

There is limited parking on the premises.

For a copy of the Conference flyer, click here ==>2013 AAGG Conference Poster.

Here is a link to the conference poster

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Hester Franklin–Record of a Freed Slave in 1832

1831-32 Register of Free Black Women p163-4-Hester Franklin (Medium)My grandfather’s mother was named Hester Franklin van Beverhoudt.She was the last of the van Beverhoudts in my family line.  I always thought her middle name, Franklin, was rather odd for a girl until I discovered that it was a critical link to another woman, her grandmother, Hester Franklin.  In fact, it was the name that offers the best evidence that Hester van  Beverhoudt’s mother, Adelaide Robson, was actually the daughter of Hester Franklin.

I have not located a birth or baptismal record for Hester Franklin.  From later records, she was born about 1804-1805 in St Croix.  I have found no documents of her early life.  The first time she is mentioned in the records is in the 1832 Free Colored Register.  The Register was an accounting of all free colored people on the Danish West India islands.  These documents are extremely valuable as they predate the earliest surviving census by 10 years.  Hester is listed in the Register of Free Colored Women for St Croix, Christiansted Jurisdiction. 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Where My People Went–The 1880 St Thomas Census

A couple of weeks ago I posted that the 1880 census of St Thomas and St John was available online from the Danish Archives (  I mentioned that the census was not indexed so it requires a page-by-page read.  Quite an undertaking. This weekend I finally got around to going through the set.  While I had a particular family I was looking for, I also managed to answer a number of genealogical questions regarding families that disappeared from St Croix.  It seems many of them moved to St Thomas and were enumerated there.