Matrilineal Monday- Sarah Beaudhuy

Tracing my ancestor’s life in the Danish West Indies, St. Croix  in particular has been a genealogical journey over many years.  Although, I have not been able to obtain family history or any oral history, it is through my research into the census, church records, genealogical resources, along with the help of other researchers.  I am able  to re-create my 4 great-grand mother,   Sarah Beaudhuy.

Sarah was born into slavery in and about 1772 in St. Croix, Danish West Indies, baptized at the Dutch Reform Church, her race listed as Mulatto.  (offspring of a white and black) Sarah’s early years in slavery were not entirely worked out.  However Sarah was listed in the Estate Inventory of valued at 400 rd (source: Betsy’s Jewels Inventory)

Anthony Beaudhuy,  presumed the father of Sarah was a White planter, half owner, and slave owner with Jacob Boffron of Sugar Plantation Betsey Jewels on St. Croix 1772-1776 , from  1790-1799 half owner and slave owner with William Wood of Estate Betsey Jewels, St. Croix.   (Source: Colby files)

Securing any information on Sarah mother birth date or place of birth has been unsuccessful.  It remains unknown, and perhaps I will never know, whether Sarah’s mother was amongst those in the middle passage of the slave ships that arrived in the Danish West Indies from Africa; or whether she was transported in from another Caribbean Island.

In November 28, 1779, shows a baptismal record at St. Johns Anglican Church, Christiansted, St. Croix where Adam, Peter and Sarah, three mulatto children belonging to Anthony Beaudhuy were re-baptized, and took on the Beaudhuy name. (Source Christiansted ,Anglican Church Baptisms & Birth)  It is assumed that the father of these three children is Anthony Beaudhuy.  Sarah grew up together with her brothers and remained with the Beaudhuy family.

By 1800, Mr. Anthony Beaudhuy freed his children Peter, Adam and Sarah.  Sarah Beaudhuy received her freedom certificate from then Governor Malleville as recorded in Christiansted City Court April 24, 1797. (Source: Christiansted,  panteprotokol 1749-1801)

Anthony Beaudhuy dies the beginning of 1802; his 26 slaves were gifted to his daughter Anna Beaudhuy-Wood.   (Source: interisland movements 1802-1830)

Genealogical sources, suggest that Sarah’s adjustment to freedom was not altogether difficult.  She supported herself as a seamstress, resided in the town of Christiansted between Queen, Prince, Market Street all properties belonging Anthony Beaudhuy.   (Sources: St. Croix Census 1815, 1832)

Following Sarah Beaudhuy and her children through the census and church records indicated that by 1806, she had given birth to three (3) free-born children, Peter, David and George, because of her free legal status.  Two of her sons died in childhood while one survives into adulthood that gives rise to The Boughs of US Virgin Islands.

Sarah lived with her son George Anthony Bough at the family home Christiansted, St. Croix. In the records of death Sara Beaudhuy died at the ripe old age of 96 in December of 1868. (Source: MM1884/roll 18/NARA 601 Records of death 1865-1874) She out-lived her son, and was living with her daughter-in-law and grand-children, at the time of death.

In an effort, to bring my family Matriarch,  Sarah Beaudhuy, lineage forward I submitted a public family tree “Beaudhuy”on   Receiving a genealogy chart,  by another researcher, of Anthony Beaudhuy and his wife Catherine Thomas, with their off-springs (Sarah’s half siblings and cousins) was a gem, it peaked my interest to see where  the results would lead.

By looking  into the Danish and US Federal Census records I found additional surnames. Such as: Wood, Moth, and Beverhoudt all of which are branches on the tree.  I discovered through the passenger records, as well as  public family trees on ancestry, that during the 19th Century, most had migrated to New Orleans USA, or returned to Denmark.

At times hints and sources appear on the Beaudhuy tree with prompts to connect to other public trees.  I suppose that anyone, who submits a public family tree on ancestry, with similar data receives the same hints and prompts.  Therefore, I have hesitated to reach out.  Well frankly, I intend to give it some time before I share the story of my 4th great-grandmother.

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.


  1. “If you look deeply into the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors. All of them are alive in this moment. Each is present in your body. You are the continuation of each of these people.”
    – Thich Nhat Hanh, Vietnamese Monk, Activist, and Writer

    Hi Shelley,
    It was indeed a heart-warming moment when I read your post this morning and subsequently read the above quotation found on your website under “Claiming Kin”. I am now more aware that our 4 great grand mother, Sarah Beaudhuy, is indeed alive and present in my body/our bodies and will continue on through our children and grand children ad infinitum.

    God bless her.
    God bless us.

    (de Chabert-Highfield)


    1. Shirley,
      What a wonderful thought knowing that you enjoyed reading about our ancestor, as I did with telling our ancestor’s story. Of course there is so much more to learn about Sarah Beaudhuy, but I was happy to share what I have learned. Thank you so much for your visit, love and support.
      shelley (minkyadoo)
      Ref to “Claiming Kin” is an interesting blog that I follow, and have commented.


  2. Its was very exciting to read your story of your 4th great grandmother. I, too have Wood, Moth, and of course Beverhoudt in my tree. I’d love to look at your tree to see where they connect (they all seem to connect). As for the origin of Sarah’s mother, I suspect she was born in St Croix. It wasn’t as common for whites to have children with African-borns, or bosals. Far more common was pairing with creoles, people born in the islands. By 1802, 52% of the slaves on St Croix were creoles. She may have been born on another island, but that’s also less likely. when did the Beaudhuys come to St Croix? Also, you say Sarah was baptised Reformed. Did you see this in church records?

    You’ve done a wonderful job of collecting your information, and kudos for sourcing.


  3. Hi Dave: We might be climbing up the same tree after all! Once anyone traces their family to the Danish West Indies, more likely than not, a connect exist. Take a look at the Public Beaudhuy family tree on
    Sarah was baptized in the St. Croix Dutch Reform Church. (source: RA, St. Croix Census, 1841 & 1846, Christiansted, 14 Fisher Street.)

    Looking forward to your visit to the Big Island.


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