In 2007, the VI Ancestry Discovery Group hosted “VI Family Tree & History Exhibit,” on St. Croix. I was among the 75-plus presenters sharing my family history in public for the first time. Gathering, collecting data and working with Project Coordinator Veronica “Ronnie” Phillips; I began to think about not just what; but also how to display this data on my table. The title/theme of my exhibit: From Beaudhuy to Bough.
Much of my research is on the Bough family history: how long were they in the Danish West Indies, where did they come from, and what was their livelihood. This research went back to the 18th Century which led me to the (female) surname Beaudhuy, born about 1775, who had a relationship with (male) Bough. In my multiple searches for documentation on the Beaudhuy name, I discovered a Freedom Certificate written in Danish at Virgin Islands Archives/Records at the Public Library. Besides seeing the name, all I knew about this nearly “poster size” document was that I had something important and exciting to add to my presentation.
Attendance at the event was huge. Folks were going from table to table, with questions on ancestry as well as contributing their own information. At this event my Danish friend Camilla, also a presenter, allotted some precious moment interpreting the Beaudhuy Freedom Certificate. As she was reading the document, she looked up at me, placed her hand over her heart, and whispered “This is so beautiful”. I stood still anxiously waiting for the meaning. She said, “This is a grandmother purchasing her granddaughters freedom. “ As a grandmother, I was deeply touched.
Recently I have been given the verbatim translation of this Danish Record. The translation is as follows:
J. P. Beaudhuy attests that he has sold – to Free Negro Woman Johanne – a negro girl, also called Johanne, belonging to him for the sum of 100 Rigsdaler. The sale was on condition that Free Negro Woman Johanne (who is the child’s mother’s mother), without delay frees said child. The purchase sum was paid in full on 12 August 1817, and the child Johanne, now freebought.
Since then I have been able to work out quite a few connections with the Beaudhuy surname through documentation as shown on a Public Tree at Ancestry.com.