Sarahs Journey to Freedom

On today’s journey, I decided to take a look at Sarah Beaudhuy’s (1773/1774 – 1868) Free Person of Color status.    Although Sarah Beaudhuy was listed on the “Register of Free Inhabitants Living in the Town of Christiansted, 1794-1811”,


1811 Census, St. Croix, DWI

I was curious about how long was Sarah in slavery.  What was the reason she was given her freedom?   I wanted to know her journey. These questions prompted me to search for answers.

Sarah was presumed to be the master’s child.   She was the property of Anthony Beaudhuy, the planter, estate and slave owner of the sugar plantations “Betsy’s Jewel” and “Little Princess” in St. Croix, Danish West Indies.

The 1789 St John’s Anglican Church baptism records indicate that 3 mulatto children – Peter, Adam and Sarah, all the property of Anthony Beaudhuy, were baptized.   With that information I wanted to know whether they were freed because of paternal concern, faithful service, or under conditions.

I needed to know who was the mother of these children, in particular, Sarah’s mother.   No records or clues were found identifying a name, or whether her mother arrived from Africa, the Caribbean or like her daughter was born in St. Croix, or whether she died in childbirth.  All that was known of Sarah’s parentage was that she was classified as mulatto.  This meant that she was the offspring of a Black and White.

I have concluded that her journey to freedom was one of dedication and faithful service.

In my search for Sarah’s freedom papers, I went to the library and was directed to freibrev of “free brief “ records on Microfilm.   The freibrev images written partially in Danish contained categories such as: Name, Physical Condition, Age, Birthplace, Religion, Occupation, and Year Recorded.

I don’t know how long I scrolled through the images before I came across my 4th GG mother, Sarah.  It was a wonderful experience to find her name among many.  This document answered some of my questions.

The freibrev indicated: Anthony Beaudhuy freed Sarah on April 22, 1797. She was in her mid-twenties, born in St. Croix.  This historic event was recorded in the Christiansted Town Court on April 24, 1797.  Sarah received her freedom Certificate on July 27, 1797 from Governor Malleville.   When she was freed, Sarah took the Beaudhuy surname.

By 1811, she was living at Market Street, Christiansted with her 3 sons, supporting herself by sewing.  It was exciting to see the free brief on the Microfilm that documents Sarah‘s freedom.  I would like to have the actual freedom certificate.  I am sure I will probably stumble upon it, unexpectedly.

By shelley dewese

As I continue to search out my history, I am discovering how much I did not know. The more information that is disclosed about my ancestry, the more I learn and understand how I am the person that has evolved today. As a native New Yorker, with roots in Coastal Georgia and deep roots in the Danish West Indies, now the Virgin Islands of the United States or commonly referred to as the United States Virgin Islands, I have always had a yearning to return to my maternal homeland. In September of 1976, my family and I relocated back to St. Croix. While living in New York, I was always telling my friends about my trip back home, but here I was actually waking up every day, walking among the streets and people that I have identified myself with all of my life. At the time, I was not involved in any genealogical work, but I knew there was a missing link that became completed after I was offered the opportunity to transfer Danish documents into a database. That opened up my world and I realize that this was my niche. I now had the tools to explore and document my ancestry. Growing up, my mother always impressed upon her children the pride in being a “Bough”, which was her surname. Now I was able to track where that pride came from, through participating in family history projects and meeting new family, as we gathered together for the Bough Family Reunion on St. Croix in July of 2012. As I continued to research, I found my passion extending to photography. Sunsets and street art are my favorite features, as shown in my tumblr blog I also began blogging, and found that it has help me to improve my writing skills. Through the comments and well wishes, I have been encouraged to continue to write the stories and events of my life. Whether or not your roots trace back to the Danish West Indies, you will find a beautiful tapestry of life that reflects our “baseball and apple pie”. This site affords you the chance to transform yourself to a time during the Danish period (1734-1917) where life was both simple and complex. If you have any questions, comments, or need assistance in searching for a Danish West Indies ancestor, I invite you to drop me an email.

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