July 16, 2009

Caribbean Slave Records coming online

Ancestry.com Launches One of the Most Comprehensive Collections of Caribbean Slave Records

Nearly 200 Years of St. Croix-Virgin Islands Family History Records Coming Online

PROVO, UT--(Marketwire - July 16, 2009) - Ancestry.com, the world's largest online commercial resource for family history, today announced that the company, in collaboration with Virgin Islands Social History Associates (VISHA), is launching a significant online collection of Caribbean slave records detailing nearly 200 years of St. Croix-Virgin Islands history.

This unique collection is a product of the St. Croix African Roots Project, initiated in 2002 by VISHA to bring together records that document the population, families and individuals on St. Croix during the period of Danish rule. During the past seven years, VISHA collected, documented and transcribed a vast array of historical records found in American, Danish and Virgin Island archives. These records together in one collection help individuals of African descent chronicle the lives of their African and Creole ancestors as they negotiated enslavement and freedom in a New World plantation society.

To make this collection more accessible, Ancestry.com is working with VISHA to digitize and put online the St. Croix African Roots Project documents, which will help tens of thousands of people trace their ancestral roots, some to individual Africans and specific African homelands.

The first installment of this collection that went online today includes the U.S. Virgin Islands St. Croix Slave Lists (1772-1821) and Population Census (1835-1911), which together contain information on more than 700,000 slaves, owners and family members. These St. Croix African Roots Project records will be searchable for free on Ancestry.com until the end of July.

Ancestry.com has set up a remote scanning operation in St. Croix to digitize more of this collection and in the coming year, the site will add more than a million family history records from the project including:

-- Slave Trade Shipping Records 1749-1802 -- Names and prices of enslaved
Africans sold from slave ships to purchasers on St. Croix
-- Property Inventories 1755-1848 -- Names, occupations, property values,
locations and family relations of enslaved individuals
-- Free Persons of Color Records 1740-1834 -- Periodic censuses, lists
and freedom charters for the free colored population and other special
censuses and papers
-- Church Records 1744-1917 -- Records of baptisms, marriages, births and
deaths of slaves and free persons belonging to the Lutheran, Dutch Reform,
Anglican, Roman Catholic and Moravian churches in St. Croix
-- Vital Statistics 1820-1917 -- Records of births, death, and marriages
on an annual basis with information about family relations
-- Vaccination Records 1823-1853 -- Smallpox vaccination records for all
plantation slaves for the years 1823-1824 and annual vaccinations performed
in both towns and plantations 1829-1853
-- Emancipation Records 1848 -- Compiled for all plantation slaves freed
in order to establish compensation amounts for the owners
-- Movements of Plantation Workers 1848-1870 -- Traces the movements of
ex-slaves around St. Croix and off-island in the years after emancipation
-- Immigration Records 1850-1917 -- Documents immigration of people from
other Caribbean Islands to St. Croix after emancipation
-- Laborer Lists 1849-1917 -- Lists of laborers working on the
plantations

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