Friends of friends Friday- Grandmother purchases Granddaughters Freedom, St. Croix, DWI, 1817

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.

Beaudhuy Freedom Certificate 1817 St Croix Danish West Indies
Beaudhuy Freedom Certificate 1817 St Croix Danish West Indies

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.

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.

5 comments

  1. WOW Shelley this is so wonderful! That Freedom Certificate is a true treasure! I just have to ask, how are you preserving this document so that it last forever for future generations of your family?

    This event sounds WONDERFUL and I’m especially to hear about your presentation and setup for this event . . . . very nice indeed.

    Congratulations on finding a document that has helped you make excellent progress in your Beaudhuy family research!

    Like

    1. Liv, Preserving these documents are so important. I have placed them in folders then in a box. I have had special documents mounted as this documents, and a few lamenated. Since then the ancestry club had a few mini versions of family history presentations, but nothing really topped that first show. Here is a the website you can get a glimpse of it. http://www.homelandcollections.com/ then go to VI family tree you can catch the excitment.

      Like

      1. Shelley, this event was AWESOME! I found your display and you my friend has a very impressive spread featuring your family’s history. I am impressed – http://homeland.smugmug.com/VI-Family-Tree-History-Exhibit/Virgin-Islands-Family-Tree/2670713_h98HCH#!i=141378964&k=XM5MzdK

        Just seeing all the different layouts made me wonder what type of display could I come up with . . . You know, with so much of my information online, I know I would probably have 3 large monitors set up on one table with presentations flowing with photos, facts and history on my family. Yep, that would be the way I would have to do it, or I would be in trouble . . . .LOL! This event was very cool indeed!

        Like

      2. Thank you, I think the toughest part of presenting is coming to the final decision as to what to display, it was amazing what people bought out. it was such an awesome event. I like the monitor idea. Lol, I’m hoping we can do that again. Thanks for checking out the website.

        Sent from my iPad

        Like

Leave a Reply to Liv (@claimingkin) Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: