Selected Records of the Danish West Indies, 1672–1917: Essential Records Concerning Slavery and Emancipation. Microfilm publication M1883, rolls 2 & 3. Records of the Government of the Virgin Islands, Record Group 55. The National Archives in Washington D.C.
Index provided courtesy of VISHA: Virgin Islands Social History Associates (VISHA), PO Box 338, Frederiksted, U.S. Virgin Islands 00841.
This database contains registers listing free black men, women, and children on St. Croix between 1815 and 1832.
St. Croix, the largest of the U.S. Virgin Islands, would be home to Carib, Arawak, Dutch, French, British, and Spanish settlers before the island was bought by the Danish in 1733. Sugar would be its chief industry into the 19th century, and slaves were imported to provide labor for the island’s plantations. Slavery ended in 1848, and St. Croix was purchased by the United States in 1916.
What You Can Find in the Records
During the Danish rule of the Virgin Islands, Danish officials kept voluminous records, including the freedom charters and registers of free black men, women, and children found in this database. These registers vary some in the details they include, but you may find the following:
- residence year
- birth date
- mother’s name
- father’s name
- baptism / confirmation details
- marital status
- physical condition
- means of freedom
- length of time in St. Croix
- militia service
- 1816 census number
Records are in Danish; however, VISHA has extracted an index of details in English.