Looking at Resilience

2019 marks the commemoration of 400th Anniversary of the African American Story in the United States.  The history includes the “forced migration” of Africans into North America.  Gloria Brown-Marshall, Associate professor at John J College, so eloquently described on cable network; what happen 400 years ago, that is, the separation of families, is the discussion today.

Families continue to be separated the Border.  When we look back at the African’s journey, we have to acknowledge the atrocities, slavery, violence, victimization and discouragement.  However, I see perseverance and resilience.   A people that felt there was a need to inspire and achieve some measure of sanity outside of the madness that was going on in their surrounds.

In commemoration of the 400th Anniversary of the African American story in the United States and Black History month, I realize that history makers can be found in our relatives also.  Therefore, I decided to shake my tribal tree and catch those history makers and reclaim them for the purpose of inspiration.  I hope that this will inspire us to do our best regardless of the odds that are against us.

History Maker

1798 – Nancy born in Africa.  At approximately 12-14 years old, most likely walked through the “door of no return” from West Africa; survived the transatlantic slave trade, shipped and stopped in the Danish West Indies; (now USVI) sold to a Danish Captain Thomas Petersen.  Nancy received freedom in 1848 when the slaves were emancipated in the Danish West Indies.  (St. Croix Census, 1841)


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.

1 comment

  1. Thanks Shelley for this (and for the trivet of Stanley and my dearest friend Bronco—showed him this, and guest what? He has the original painting—how cool is that! Loved seeing you, was too short. Maybe soon in Florida. Mary

    On Thu, Feb 28, 2019 at 9:18 PM My Genealogical Journey wrote:

    > shelley dewese posted: ” 2019 marks the commemoration of 400th Anniversary > of the African American Story in the United States. The history includes > the “forced migration” of Africans into North America. Gloria > Brown-Marshall, Associate professor at John J Colleg” >


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