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:
Search the two new St. Croix databases at http://www.ancestry.com/virginislands.
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