Tuesday Tip: Tracing Danish West Indies Ancestors

As I become more involved in doing research, I have found that looking for variant spellings of names has proven instrumental in finding the genesis of a family.  A surname could have many variations, but originate from one source.

If you can trace your roots back to the Danish West Indies, there is a website created by Svend Holsoe http://www.vifamilies.org that compiled names into a few pertinent surnames that existed or currently exist in the Virgin Islands.  Once you have identified the variations of the surname(s) you are interested in, then you can go to the Danish Consulate website http://www.dkconsulateusvi.com.

You will find an e-book entitled “A List of Names of Inhabitants in the Danish West Indian Islands from 1650 through 1825”.  You will be amazed to see how many different spellings that were used.  There you will find information on name, place, and date of birth, marriage, emigration, church affiliation, occupation and death.

Both sites contain a wealth of information that can help you to connect the variance in names with the family narrative.  I often use these sites as I continue to trace my family back to the Danish West Indies.  Great sources.

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 GlynnGen.com; 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. Its.sheldew@gmail.com I especially appreciate the followers' encouragement.

4 comments

  1. I’ve lost my copies of the virgin island families that I saved from Svend Holsoe’s works. Do you know how to find them?

    Like

  2. Okay, I’ll try again. Some people have copies of some of it. I know someone who has the entire van Beverhoudt update that Svend did before he died. I have a little and also of Suhm, and he may have more of Suhm. I am going to look into whether the West Indies historical society would want to have them online. They must know about them,though. Maybe they think they are not 100% accurate. Still, the should put them up with that caveat. Judith Lee Howard Shea “Wendalore”

    Liked by 1 person

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