Posted by Heather Erickson on July 16, 2009 in Collections, News

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 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. 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

Heather Erickson

Heather Erickson is Head of Global Communications for and has been with the company since 2009.


  1. Mary Beth Marchant

    while this particular data base is not something I need, it is great to add new images instead of those awful, memorials and sermons from Canada. Please add more images and forget about the books of indexes, etc which are completely meaningless.

  2. Donnamarie Barnes

    Having this collection on Ancestry.Com is very exciting and the news of the collections from the Virgin Islands yet to come is fabulous! I have been waiting for these records for a very long time and immediately found an answer in the 1841 Census that I have been searching for for a long time!
    Thank you Ancestry.Com

  3. Arthur Granbury

    Hold your praise, folks. Don’t forget that this new Caribbean Slave collection will include mis-linked, missing and blurred images, indexing errors, and huge chunks of years unaccounted for,etc. But it will probably – and inexplicably – include high school yearbooks from Afganistan and Alabama (both foreign countries, don’t you know).

    But, in case you do happen to forget about this collection, remember that since these are pre-1917 Caribbean records … they will show up in your Ancestry Hints for people born in Kansas in 1993.

  4. Peter Mason

    Two questions – a reply to my e-mail address would be nice!

    1. It seems our ability to update the blog entries on Family Tree Maker blogs has been taken away. Why?

    2. Will Family Tree 2009 be able to run on the new Windows 7 out in October 2009, or will we all have to by a new 2010 version to do this?


  5. Robin

    Re #4

    Yes, why isn’t the blog for Family Tree Maker still open? Last response was at the end of June.

    What’s happening????

    Has Michelle left also?

  6. Diane

    Re #4 and #5: Since it’s doubtful anyone from will bother to answer your question, I will try. Several months ago, announced on the blog that they will “close” a blog entry to comments after a few weeks. I think it might be 14 days — not sure if there was an exact number given. They gave the reason that this is how other blogs work and that they couldn’t be monitoring old blog entries. It also seemed to coincide with certain blog announcements getting high numbers of postings (usually complaints.

    For now, I think that the only way to make your concerns known or ask a question is to 1) send it to tech support or 2) post it on one of the message boards

    If you look under Genealogy Software on the list, there is a board specific to Family Tree Maker. However, I can’t say whether those boards are closely reviewed by employee and you are not guaranteed a reply.
    It would be nice if put some boilerplate sentence on each blog entry explaining that entries are closed to comment after x days and offered the alternatives I described.

  7. Eugene Gingo

    I know the exact ship my grandfather came to America on, the port he left from, his first and last name where he was going, where he came from, however when I submitted the information no results come up!
    I’m skeptical when I cannot find any information or the message states that no information is available.
    How can anyone explain why I cannot access any information.
    When I search for info on someone that I may not have such detailed info on and get no results what am I to think?

  8. Barb Haf

    Why is it when I put in “WWI records for UK” I keep getting sent to slave records in America?? It is all getting very frustrating!
    Reading Peter Mason’s email I have to say – I never get a reply at the best of times – even ppl I think I am directly related to on the family trees never bother to reply lol

  9. Leana Rosentrater

    In answer to Eugene Gingo #7. The problem is in the translation. You have to find the original record by going through it line by line and then trying to figure out all the name combinations that it could have been translated to. This has worked for me with immigration records and census records. Good luck.

  10. Jane


    Posted on:
    July 26, 2009 at 7:11 pm
    HELP!! Ancestry says someone is logged into my account. I am not using ancestry on another computer. Please help me!!!

Comments are closed.