The record collections/data sets compiled in the St. Croix Population Database consist of the following types of documentation that are otherwise widely dispersed among Danish, American and Virgin Islands repositories:
Slave Trade Shipping Records 1792-1803. This data set, compiled from mortgage and loan records, consists of list of enslaved Africans sold from slave ships to purchasers on St. Croix during the last decade of the Danish slave trade. The data includes names, gender dates of sale, purchasers by name and plantation.
St. Croix Slave Lists 1772-1847. The Slave Lists are annual head tax returns for all enslaved and free individuals submitted by all urban and rural slave owners on St. Croix to the government bookkeeper from 1772 through 1847. Essentially, these returns comprise island-wide censuses of the enslaved population. There are near complete data sets for the years 1772-1780, 1784-1787, 1790-1796, 1798-1800, 1818 and 1847. Partial sets exist for the years 1806-1811. They are arranged by property number for each year.
Each Slave List contains the names of all slaves and free individuals on the property. Additional information varies. Between 1772 and 1792, enslaved individuals are classified under the following headings: "capable", "infirm", "12-16 years" of age, "under 12 years" of age. Newly acquired Africans (bosals) are listed by name, which allows us to connect these individuals with the Shipping Records. Usually the name of the vessel from which they were purchased is given. Deaths and births are also recorded by name, as are runaways (maroons). Occasionally, cause of death and still births are specified. From 1793, individuals are also classified by occupation (field workers, craftsmen, domestics). From 1804, individuals are also classified as "African" or "Creole". Family relations are often indicated.
The St. Croix Slave Lists comprise perhaps the most complete set of census documentation yet found relating to an eighteenth century slave population. VISHA has digitized a complete set of the Slave Lists for 1772-1818 and photocopied the 1847 List.
Property Inventories 1755-1848. Property inventories, which include lists of enslaved individuals, were prepared for a variety of purposes during the era of slavery. These documents are scattered throughout the Danish West Indian record collections in the Rigsarkiv, the U.S. National Archives and the St. Croix Recorder of Deeds Office. They list enslaved individuals by name, gender and price. Generally children are distinguished from adults. Frequently, children are listed with their mothers. Drivers, tradesmen, domestics, sick nurses, invalids, watchman and runaways are identified. Many nineteenth century inventories name individuals being born (along with their mothers) births and those having died (along with cause of death). The inventories also provide information about plantation size, land use, housing and technology. From archival research undertaken during the past 12 years we have located and copied almost 5,000 St. Croix plantation and town property inventories dating between 1755 and 1848, all of which have been entered into the Database.
Population Censuses 1835-1917. Official censuses of the entire St. Croix population were compiled for the years 1835, 1841, 1846, 1850, 1855, 1857, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1890, 1901, 1911, 1917. All but the 1835 and 1890 censuses are complete. The censuses list each individual by name, age, gender, occupation, religion, birthplace, marital status, and residence. The 1841 and 1846 censuses contain information on health and character. From 1855, families/households and family relationships are usually designated. All of these censuses will have been entered into the Database by the end of 2006. Our archival research has also located population censuses of Christiansted and Frederiksted in the 1820s. We have also compiled complete sets of the 1835 and 1890 censuses and have made digitized copies of the remaining censuses, which have been made available to research libraries on St. Croix.
Free Persons of Color Records 1740-1834. These records consist of annual censuses for the free colored population for the years 1777-1811, special censuses prepared in 1815, 1816, 1824, 1831-1832, and manumission papers 1740-1830. After 1834, the free colored were no longer officially designated as a distinct group. To date, 40% these records have been entered in the Database.
Church Records 1744-1917. This large data set includes records of individual baptisms, marriages, births and deaths of slaves and free persons belonging to the Lutheran, Dutch Reform, Anglican, Roman Catholic and Moravian churches. Among other items, the baptismal records of the Moravian congregations (which encompassed between forty and fifty percent of the island's Black population) list the individual's place of birth and, in the case of Africans, their "nation" or ethnicity. Except for the Moravian records, which commence in 1744, the church records are about forty percent complete for the eighteenth century and about seventy-five percent complete for the nineteenth century. After 1820, they are supplemented by government vital statistics, which are based on the church records.
Vital Statistics 1820-1917. This data set, which contains gaps, records individual births, deaths and marriages on an annual basis between 1820 and 1917. Most entries contain additional information about family relations. About two-thirds of this data was extracted from the church records, some of which no longer exist. The remaining one-third, covering the period after 1865, was compiled from data obtained directly by various government offices. To date, 68% of these records have been entered into the Database.
Vaccination Records 1823-1853. There are smallpox vaccination records for all plantation slaves for the years 1823-1824. Between 1829 and 1853, there is a near complete run of annual vaccinations performed in both the towns and plantations. These records usually list name, age, gender and place of residence. Family relations are sometimes noted. All of these records have been entered into the Database.
Movements of Plantation Workers 1848-1917. These records trace the movements of ex-slaves between the plantations and towns of Christiansted and Frederiksted, during the years immediately after emancipation. They also document thousands of immigrants, primarily from the Eastern Caribbean islands, who came St. Croix after 1848. In addition to names and place of residence, the records contain information about age, occupation, births, deaths and family relations. All of these records have been entered into the Database.
Emancipation Records 1848. This set of records was compiled for all plantation slaves freed in 1848 in order to establish compensation amounts for the owners. One set is for the Christiansted District; the other covers the Frederiksted District. The set for Frederiksted District contains much more biographical data, including name, date and place of birth, occupation, family relations, as well as information about movements, marriages and deaths in the post-emancipation period. All of these records have been entered into the Database.
Miscellaneous 1740-1917. Miscellaneous records, containing biographical and social information about Black and White St. Croix residents during the period of Danish rule, include colonial newspapers (which start in 1770), police records, laborer lists, court records, mortgage records, notary records, wills, probates, auctions, pension fund applications, property tax records, voter lists, militia rolls and lists of school age children and their parents. To date, 76% of these records have been entered into the Database.
Matrikler 1736-1916. The Matrikler consist of a complete set of annual ownership records for every urban and rural property on St. Croix for the years 1736-1916 (except 1776). In addition to specifying land ownership and the size of individual land holdings, they enumerate and classify (by age-range, gender and occupation); the entire enslaved population of the island between 1736 and 1847. For most years between 1850 and 1905, they enumerate and classify the resident population of all inhabited plantations. Between 1803 and 1916, they specify land use on each plantation. The Matrikler provide numeric baseline data for quantifying, characterizing and analyzing the population of St. Croix at site specific, regional and island-wide levels throughout the entire period of Danish rule. Moreover, when used in conjunction with environmental and sugar production data, they provide an invaluable resource for exploring and explaining population dynamics over time and space. To date, 18% of these records have been entered in the Database.