Tag: Census of Danish West Indies

Town Registers and Census records

52 Ancestors #50 Naughty Ernest Bough

Amy  Johnson Crow  “no story too small”  suggested that we write a story about an ancestor who probably received coal in the their stocking

52ancestors-2015

Looking for naughty ancestors was a fun task.   The ancestor who got coal in the stocking was Ernest Bough.  He is the son of Julius Bough and Bernice Rowell, both of the Virgin Islands and who migrated to New York.   In our family, I remember hearing, as children, the anxiety the adults would have speaking about Uncle Ernest, who ran away from home.    But my thoughts were different coming from a family with immense rules and etiquette.  I would cheer him “yippy yi Ya”.   I viewed him childlike as one being a courageous and adventurous runaway.  But now, with research and oral history, Ernest Bough was the adult who served in the military and never returned home.  I came to thinking why would he just vanish, and cause the family  so much heartache, headache, and  stress. He ended up in Detroit, Michigan, never to be heard of or seen again.  So, I decided to stir the Pot.

Research revealed that Ernest B. Bough had served over 10 years in the military between 1932 – 1946, with the New York National Guard and the US Army.   By 1934, he was married to Rosalia Benjamin of St. Croix.  By 1937 he received an honorable discharge from the National Guard.  It is at this point that Ernest B. Bough never returned to his family, nor did they hear from him again.  The research supported the oral history  that Ernest  went to Detroit, Michigan.

So it hit me that he went to Detroit because it was booming with the Auto Industry.  He thought he would return home when loaded, or he heard about Motown and wanted to audition for Berry Gordy.  (Poking fun)  Listed in the “Classified Business section for complete list for Businesses and Professions” for Dearborn, Michigan City Directory, 1941 was Ernest B. Bough, Porter in Garfield Detroit. (huh)

Ernest, at 32 years old enlisted in the US Army for 2 years.   In February 1951, he then married Maggie Kelso from Martin, Tennessee by all standards; they were farm people who became a part of the “Great Migration”.  Those were they who were fleeing the South going North or West for a better life filled with hopes and aspirations.  Still, all in all, Ernest B. Bough died on February 7, 1973 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He was 61 years old.

What brought Ernest from New York to Detroit could have been the fact that his mother, Beatrice, was married to a Gentleman by the name of Lonnie Haddon of Ohio who lived in Michigan.  Did he have any children?  Why didn’t he send word to his New York family he left behind is all left unknown?  One thing I know for sure, regardless of the situation his behavior was naughty.   Yes, my Great Uncle Ernest probably received coal in his stocking.

christmas-coal

Sources:

Photo by Getty Images {link to http://www.freeimages.com}.

http://www.visharoots.org/ St. Croix Population Database

Ancestry.com   New York, U.S. National Guard Enlistment Cards, 1917 – 1954,

Ancestry.com:  1910 US Federal Census

Ancestry.com:   1920 US Federal Census

Ancestry.com : New York, New York Marriage Index 1866 – 1937

Ancestry.com:  Michigan Marriage Records  1867 – 1952

Wikipedia: History of Detroit.

Ancestry.com : US Directories 1822 – 1995

Ancestry.com Michigan Department of Vital and Health Records, Michigan Deaths 1971 – 1996

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

52 Ancestors #16 Ena Dorothy Bough – Lived to 97

Long Life:  Ena D. Bough, My Great Aunt and direct ancestor:

52ancestors-2015

Ena Dorothy Bough, (1907- 2005) was born on St. Croix in the Danish West Indies. Ena was the daughter of Crucian Parents; Haddasha Summersille died at the age of 93; studied pediatrics and performed duties as a Mid-Wife.   August C. Bough died at the age of 74; the sucessful Merchant who turned Reverend and co-founder of AME Church in Christiansted St. Croix.

Ena was born at a time when Havanna Cigars were being sold, Cotton and Cane were flourishing and a Leper Asylum was established on St. Croix.   On the mainland, Mary Phelps Jacob invented the bra.   A decade after her birth, the Americans purchased the Danish West Indies in 1917.

In 1920, Ena was living with her parents, at the family home in the town of Christiansted.  She was a middle child between brothers, James, Oscar, and Kaj Bough. She attended school in Christiansted and was a known talented Seamstress.  By the mid-1920’s, Ena and brothers migrated to New York.  The 1930 census, showed her living in New York with her younger brother Oscar, and working as a Finisher in a Dress Factory.

On-line Photo https://www.google.com/urfreepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com

On-line Photo: the Ship Silivia that sailed Ena to new york
freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com

Ena answered the call to return to the Virgin Islands, to care for the family where sickness was eminent. Despite the excitement of living and working in New York City, she returned home.  Ena worked the most of her life as a famly care giver to include nephews and nieces.  Ena was very proud of her brothers’ successes in the fields of Law, Education, Agriculture, and Business Administration.

I met my great Aunt Ena for the first time at her home in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands when my mother and I took the seaplane from St Croix to visit the family.  It was hard to keep back my excitement of meeting the last living child of my great-grandfather, August Curtis Bough.  I walked with a list of questions and a small tape recorder, prepared to capture oral history.  When we arrived at the house, we were greeted by an over friendly dog and my cousin Ellie.  We glimpsed Aunt Ena sitting in the corner, looking puzzled as to the Crucian relatives who descended upon her.  My mother and I realized Auntie wasn’t up to talking about the past, nor was she going to be interviewed.  She just smiled gently, while offering the usual traditional greetings.

Our visit lasted about 2 hours, as we had to catch the plane back to St. Croix.  Although I was a little disappointed by her lack of engagement I understood her suspicion.   I was determined to make another trip to get better acquainted.  Being hopeful, we planned to return to celebrate her 100th birthday, with “lights, camera, action” for the interview of a lifetime.  Unfortunately, it never materialized.

Ena D. Bough Birthday Celebration.  Photo Courtesy by Ellie Bough

Ena D. Bough Birthday Celebration. Photo Courtesy by Ellie Bough

Aunt Ena  outlived her siblings. With her death on April 17, 2005, it signified an end to the August Bough generation of those who were born during the Danish period.  She lived on the island as a citizen of the Danish West Indies and was present in 1917 as the Danneborg lowered, and the U.S. flag was raised.

Coincidentally, as I reflect on my ancestor Ena Bough.  She was among the first Virgin Islands people to become American citizens; I will be honored to be among the rest of our citizens, as we celebrate Transfer Day in the year 2017. The US Virgin Islands will reach a milestone in our history.  Marking 100 years since the United States purchased the Danish West Indies (St. Thomas, St. Croix, St. John) from Denmark for $25 million, and I look forward to the celebration.

Danish, Virgin Islands and USA Flags.  photo taken in St. Thomas by sdewese

Danish, Virgin Islands and USA Flags. photo taken in St. Thomas by sdewese

Ena Dorothy Bough died on St. Thomas, USVI April 17, 2005.  She was 97.8 years old.

Sources:

http://stx.visharoots.org/ St. Croix Population Database

Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010. Images reproduced by FamilySearch.

Year: 1929; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 4555; Line: 1; Page Number: 249

Newspaper: The Virgin Islands Daily News; Publication Date: 23 4 2005; Publication Place: St.Thomas, Virgin Islands,, Carrbbean

http://www.highbeam.com/

http://www.libertyellisfoundation.org

Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2011.

Treasure Chest Thursday- 1855 DWI Census Record

I owe a sense of gratitude to a stranger, for the discovery of a Gem in the form of the 1855 Danish West Indies Census. It all began when an ancestry.com member saved a census record that was linked to my relative. While sharing, and assisting with their research; my genea-buddy and I discovered: Nancy, my African Ancestor, my 4th Great- Grand mother.

She appears on The 1855 St. Croix Danish West Indies Census. This census is my Thursday Treasure and for all times. This beautiful document describes Nancy as born in Africa, 70 years old, Lutheran, unmarried, invalid, supported by her children at Hill Street-46 Christiansted; living with daughter, Ann DeWindt, 5 grandchildren and 2 great grand-children. .

Every time I look at this census it brings so much emotion. It lists “All my Mothers” beginning with Nancy; and her daughter Ann DeWindt; and Ann’s daughter Emelia Petersen; my 2nd great-grand mother, and mother of August C Bough, my great-grandfather. The census record below, also supports the sketchy oral history of my Great Uncle on his African Ancestry, as told to me by his niece many years ago; admittingly I was not paying close attention.

dewindt-anna-1855-42-680 (2)

Little is known, about Nancy’s life in Africa, her parents, or their professions. However, other information researched showed that she was born about 1780, and at approximately 14 she arrived in St. Croix, worked as a servant with the same Danish family most of her life. Nancy received her freedom on July 3rd 1848, when Gov. Gen. Peter von Scholten proclaimed the freedom of all slaves in the Danish West Indies. Nancy died, bet. 1857-1860 and was buried on St. Croix.

Tracing my maternal family to the Danish West Indies has been quite exciting, and now finding an African Ancestor has caused many emotions, mainly a drive for more data. I went over the census record with my family, they seemed to understand the value of “what we do” as family historians. As a result, we were rejoicing and echoed Alex Haley by saying “I found you” Despite the new and different direction this new information brings; it has provided me with a better appreciation of oral history. Oral History, together with supporting document = the Happy Dance. Now thats a treasure.

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