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 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. “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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