Thankful Thursday

With the power of the internet, genealogy has been “revolutionize.”  However, as every family historian has discovered, when you begin to trace your ancestors,  you are inspired by other researchers within the genealogy community.   Genealogy is  a collective knowledge.    My friend, Rickie Marshall a researcher/family historian, leads out with the VI Ancestry Group on St. Croix and works with the Division of Libraries, Archives and Museums.  She is the most inspiring person one would want to meet at the library.  I am thankful, for her kindness and friendship, but mostly for having the audacity to believe.

I’ve been influenced by Rickie’s positive attitude towards genealogy, especially when it can become quite daunting.  I remember feeling like the rug was pulled from under my feet.  Over the past 15 months of extensive planning and research for the Bough Family Reunion held in  July 2012, I was tasked with having the tree chart ready for display.   The tree had about 60 names to begin with, but once the family caught the gene-fever, in the span of 6 months the tree expanded to over 900 names.  

Part of the reason why the family tree was growing so fast, was because family members were able to participate by entering their basic family information on their branch of the tree.  Plus with the additional research data from Rickie it was almost an over-flow.   This tree climbed up to 9 generations.  

Rickie and I decided that the best way to display the tree at the family reunion would be in the form of a Family Tree Scroll.   With that in mind, I continued to receive information for the chart, I gave myself a deadline of a couple of  weeks up to the big day before the cut-off.   Setting a deadline was crucial as it allowed me to make the necessary edits and corrections before printing the lengthy scroll.After going from place to place with the data, I discovered that no vendor on the island had the software connected to print the scroll. After nearly two years of prepping for this moment, I was exhausted, and threw my hands up believing that this was over and it couldn’t happen.  I came to the conclusion that I would be cutting and pasting the next  week.   I started to get the feeling of despair and hopelessness.  

After telling  Rickie about my dilemma, she agreed to go with me to the vendor and talk I.T. language and was sure it could happen.    We spent some time printing samples, and talking ideas to the manager who shook his head and said he didn’t have the type of printer/software to  help.  

My conversation with Rickie when we left the store was all negative, while her response was one of hope and solutions.  I couldn’t imagine or understand the logistics of transcribing all that data or anything else.  In the meantime I was setting myself up for the task of cutting and pasting. I hadn’t seen. or heard, from Rickie for a while. We were days leading up to the event, I don’t think I slept at all those couple of weeks.   

Then I got that 2am text, “We got it done pick up the scroll!!!”   I was ecstatic.  

On this Thankful Thursday,  I thank  Rickie Marshall for having the audacity to believe, when the forecast looked gray, and for her immeasurable patience.  

Thank you again for your continued inspiration.

My Family Scroll

And thank you for being my friend.


By shelley dewese

As I continue to search out my history, I am discovering how much I did not know. The more information disclosed about my ancestry, the more I learn and understand how I am the person that has evolved today. My family's research efforts have taken me on an enlightening journey back through the past in the U. S. Virgin Islands (formerly Danish West Indies) and Coastal Georgia. As with most people of Afro-Caribbean descent, my ancestry stems from peoples brought together by colonialism and conquest; it stems from people thrown together, albeit forcibly, by the throes of enslavement. As a result, my DNA tells me that my people originate in Africa, Europe, England, Ireland, Scotland, France, Lesser Antilles, and Leeward Caribbean Islands. Two collections made my dream to research my ancestors in the Danish West Indies a reality. I have conducted extensive research using the St. Croix Population Database 1734-1917, a St. Croix African Roots Project product, and a research and document transcription effort sponsored by the Virgin Islands Social History Associates (VISHA). The other catalyst has been accessing the extensive photo, manuscript, and microfilm collections at the Library and Archives of the St. Croix Landmarks Society at Estate Whim in St. Croix. My heartfelt thanks go to all my cousins, extended "cousin-family," friends, and research colleagues from the St. Croix-based Virgin Islands Ancestry Discovery Group, for their input and collaboration. I also want to thank the UJima Genealogy Group in Coastal Georgia and; webmaster Amy Hendrick has introduced me to Southern History and its people. This site allows you to transform yourself to a time during the Danish period (1734-1917) when life was both complex and straightforward. If you have any questions, comments, or need assistance searching for a Danish West Indies ancestor, I invite you to drop me an email. I especially appreciate the followers' encouragement.


  1. I found your Blog on Geneabloggers … welcome! I love your family scroll!! I had a family reunion at my home and I was in charge of the tree chart. It was days of cutting and pasting as I didn’t know a scroll could be printed. When it was done I secured it to a large piece of wood and had it on an easel. It was so much work .. but it was wonderful and the family loved it. I’m looking forward to following your journey.


    1. Liz,
      Thank you, I was saved from the tree chart task by Rickie, I will find out how it was done. I visited your blog and I just love the colors, the content, I feel like I entered a home its very cozy, comfortable place to visit.


  2. Congrats and kudos on your new blog! It’s terrific! You’re much braver than I am. Keep the stories coming!

    Regards, Ricki


  3. I’ve enjoyed spending some time visiting your blog and reading about your family. I really like the idea of the scroll so everyone can see where they fit in and how they relate to others.


    1. Kirstin,
      Thank you for visiting, the family scroll is ideal for any event. When they see the scroll family members are motivated to add names to the scroll that you might not have known.


    1. Catherine:
      Thank you for your visit, and for choosing to follow my geneological journey. This ride is an attempt to share my research in a way that provides a picture of the lives of my ancestors from the danish west indies where the navel string is buried; and onward. Thank you again for your interest.


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