Virgin Islands Social History Associates (VISHA)

The Virgin Islands Social History Associates (VISHA) is a non-profit, 501(c)(3), educational organization established to research and document the social and cultural history of the Virgin Islands.   Its organizers are George F. Tyson, Svend E. Holsoe, Roland Roebuck and Poul E. Olsen.

Since 2002, VISHA's primary focus has been the St. Croix African Roots Project (SCARP), whose goal is to document and study in fine detail the population of St. Croix during the entire period of Danish Rule (1734-1917) in order to foster a deeper understanding of the the creative role played by Africans and their descendants in shaping the history and culture of St. Croix.  SCARP is designed to give identity, humanity and agency to enslaved and otherwise marginalized individuals who have hitherto been seen as silent objects of history.

As a means of accomplishing this goal, VISHA has been compiling a digitized, searchable, "St. Croix Population Database", that holds massive amounts of biographical information extracted from documents found in Danish, American and Virgin Islands archives.  When completed, this database will contain about two million linkable entries each with multiple pieces of biographic data, that can be used to create life stories for over 100,000 persons and to reconstruct thousands of family histories during and after slavery.  The data is so detailed, that it will enable many Virgin Islanders to confidently trace their roots to specific African ancestors and African homelands.

The "St. Croix Population Database" will be made incrementally available to the public via an interactive website starting in May 2009. 

Paper copies of the thousands of documents used to compile the database will be placed in a suitable repository on St. Croix, where they can be consulted free of charge.

Virgin Islands Social History Associates (VISHA)

VISHA Officers

   Mr. George F. Tyson, St. Croix, VI
   Dr. Svend E. Holsoe, Philadelphia, PA
   Mr. Roland Roebuck, Washington, DC
   Mr. Poul E. Olsen, Copenhagen, DK

VISHA Offices

    St. Croix, Virgin Islands – Headquarters
    Philadelphia, PA
    Copenhagen, DK

St. Croix Advisory Group

    Dr. Ruth Beagles
    Dr. Arnold Highfield
    Mr. Wayne James
    Ms. Mary Roebuck
    Ms. Karen Thurland

Collaborating Organizations

    Danish National Archives
    Danish Data Archive


    Funding for these efforts has been provided through grants from:
    The Carlsberg Foundation of Denmark
    The U.S. Department of Interior
    Solar Foundation of Denmark