We are excited to announce, in collaboration with the Virgin Islands Social History Associates (VISHA), the launch of a significant online collection of Caribbean slave records detailing nearly 200 years of St. Croix-Virgin Islands history.
These St. Croix African Roots Project records will help tens of thousands of people trace their ancestral roots, some to individual Africans and specific African homelands.
The first installment of this collection that went online today includes the U.S. Virgin Islands St. Croix Slave Lists (1772-1821) and Population Census (1835-1911), which together contain information on more than 700,000 slaves, owners and family members.
These records will be searchable for free on Ancestry.com until the end of July.
A Powerful Family Discovery:
For Susan Samuel of Houston, TX, the documents uncover the story of her great-great-great-great-grandmother Venus Johannes. Records soon to be online show that, while still young, Venus Johannes was captured from the side of a river in Senegal, Africa and enslaved at Goree Island – a stop for captured slaves as they were loaded onto ships bound for Britain and the U.S. Other records show that from Goree Island, she was married off to an American Sea Captain and brought to St. Croix, where she was illegally re-enslaved. Enslaved for some 30 years, she was finally freed in 1815.
Ancestry.com has set up a remote scanning operation in St. Croix to digitize more of this collection and in the coming year, the site will add more than a million family history records from the project including:
- Slave Trade Shipping Records 1749-1802 – Names and prices of enslaved Africans sold from slave ships to purchasers on St. Croix
- Property Inventories 1755-1848 – Names, occupations, property values, locations and family relations of enslaved individuals
- Free Persons of Color Records 1740-1834 – Periodic censuses, lists and freedom charters for the free colored population and other special censuses and papers
- Church Records 1744-1917 – Records of baptisms, marriages, births and deaths of slaves and free persons belonging to the Lutheran, Dutch Reform, Anglican, Roman Catholic and Moravian churches in St. Croix
- Vital Statistics 1820-1917 – Records of births, death, and marriages on an annual basis with information about family relations
- Vaccination Records 1823-1853 – Smallpox vaccination records for all plantation slaves for the years 1823-1824 and annual vaccinations performed in both towns and plantations 1829-1853
- Emancipation Records 1848 – Compiled for all plantation slaves freed in order to establish compensation amounts for the owners
- Movements of Plantation Workers 1848-1870 – Traces the movements of ex-slaves around St. Croix and off-island in the years after emancipation
- Immigration Records 1850-1917 – Documents immigration of people from other Caribbean Islands to St. Croix after emancipation
- Laborer Lists 1849-1917 – Lists of laborers working on the plantations
Search the two new St. Croix databases at http://www.ancestry.com/virginislands.
About Heather Erickson
Heather Erickson is Head of Global Communications for Ancestry.com and has been with the company since 2009.
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