52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Week 14 – “Great.”

The new prompt in the 52-ancestor series for 2021 suggests that we write about ancestors associated with the word- “great”.   I found it daunting to navigate around this word.  Going through my folders, I realized that in almost every family tree, one could see great deeds, outstanding accomplishments, and of course, several degrees of great-grandparents. In my search, I came across my “reunion folder”  as I skimmed through the various meeting agendas, booklets, and  pictures.  The memories of these events reminded me of the good times.    Corona Virus and the isolation associated with this pandemic,  cause me to look back and realize that these were really “Great” times.    You may ask what made them great.   I would say that these were times of great excitement:  meeting family from across the globe and the social gatherings. 

I sometimes think the greatness of any reunion is in the preparation. This step is where you see family members coming together to plan and execute.  At such times, the larger group would select coordinators and form committees.  The planning stage would take about  nine to 12 months of organizing before the actual event. Teamwork and togetherness are really on display in a natural way. In teamwork, relatives who may not have known their relationship in terms of genealogy, are usually engaged so automatically by extending  themselves and their contributions.  Two–  the meet and greet is the initial greeting. Family, friends and associates are eager to greet one another on the island, with a Goodie Bag and a Rum punch.  Three is the main event.  This is where the three-course dinner, family history presentations, raffles, and gifts appear.   The event usually ends with a Church Service at Lord God of Saboath Lutheran Church and a gathering to honor our ancestors.  I enjoyed these great moments. 

Everyone loves family Reunions.  The Bough family gathered together in July 1997,  July 2012 and March 2017 on St. Croix, Virgin Islands.  The most memorable reunion was in 1997, meeting the many descendants of Dr. Irvin Gustavus Bough the son of David Bough born in St. Croix, Danish West Indies.   Irvin Bough traveled to Denmark, Boston MA, to complete his medical degree; but could not be employed as a doctor as he was African American.  He then joined a missionary group bound for the Philippines.   He settled and practiced in Carigara.   Heeding the call of their ancestor to never forget the  Virgin Islands, they returned to  St. Croix and read the letter that Dr. Irving Bough left for his descendants.   So, there we were, of varying complexion and ethnicity we embraced.  Simply amazing. The Boughs remain connected.

Thus saith the Lord God; I will also take of the highest branch of the high cedar, and will set it; I will crop off from the top of his young twigs a tender one, and will plant it upon an high mountain and eminent:  In the mountain of height of Israel and will I plant it; and it shall bring forth boughs and bear fruit, and be a goodly cedar; and under it shall dwell all fowl of every wing; in the shadow of the branches thereof shall they dwell.  And all the trees of the field shall know that I the Lord have brought down the high tree, have exalted the low tree have dried up the green tree and have made the dry tree to flourish:  I the Lord have spoken and have done it Ezekiel Chapter 17, verses 22-24

“Lets do it again” Photo Courtesy Richard Motta

By shelley dewese

As I continue to search out my history, I am discovering how much I did not know. The more information that is disclosed about my ancestry, the more I learn and understand how I am the person that has evolved today. As a native New Yorker, with roots in Coastal Georgia and deep roots in the Danish West Indies, now the Virgin Islands of the United States or commonly referred to as the United States Virgin Islands, I have always had a yearning to return to my maternal homeland. In September of 1976, my family and I relocated back to St. Croix. While living in New York, I was always telling my friends about my trip back home, but here I was actually waking up every day, walking among the streets and people that I have identified myself with all of my life. At the time, I was not involved in any genealogical work, but I knew there was a missing link that became completed after I was offered the opportunity to transfer Danish documents into a database. That opened up my world and I realize that this was my niche. I now had the tools to explore and document my ancestry. Growing up, my mother always impressed upon her children the pride in being a “Bough”, which was her surname. Now I was able to track where that pride came from, through participating in family history projects and meeting new family, as we gathered together for the Bough Family Reunion on St. Croix in July of 2012. As I continued to research, I found my passion extending to photography. Sunsets and street art are my favorite features, as shown in my tumblr blog http://minkyadoo.tumblr.com/ I also began blogging, and found that it has help me to improve my writing skills. Through the comments and well wishes, I have been encouraged to continue to write the stories and events of my life. Whether or not your roots trace back to the Danish West Indies, you will find a beautiful tapestry of life that reflects our “baseball and apple pie”. This site affords you the chance to transform yourself to a time during the Danish period (1734-1917) where life was both simple and complex. If you have any questions, comments, or need assistance in searching for a Danish West Indies ancestor, I invite you to drop me an email.


  1. Shelly–loved this post with all of the pictures–even recognized one or two people–didn’t know they were part of the Bough family. Mary


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