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Guide to U.S. Virgin Islands ancestry, family history and genealogy: birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, parish registers, and military records. It is about genealogical resources for the U.S. (before 1917 Danish) Virgin Islands. For other uses, see the more generic Virgin Islands Wiki page.

United States Gotoarrow.png Caribbean Gotoarrow.png U.S. Virgin Islands

Charlotte Amalie.jpg
United States Virgin Islands.png

This territory of the United States was a territory of Denmark from the 1600s until 1917. The U.S. Virgin Islands (St. Croix, St. John, and St. Thomas) were purchased from Denmark on January 17, 1917. They are about 60 miles east of Puerto Rico, in the northeast Caribbean Sea, helping to separate the Caribbean from the North Atlantic Ocean. The U.S. Virgin Islands lie southwest of the British Virgin Islands. In Danish records they are called Dansk Vestindien or De Danskvestindiske Øer.

The early economy centered around cane sugar plantations worked by African slaves. Slaves were emancipated in 1848. Sugar cane lost its competitive advantage by the 1800s. Now, tourism has become the major industry.

Records show people from many places have settled here over the centuries including considerable interaction with other islands of the Caribbean. Many records from the Danish colonial period are held by Rigsarkivet (the Danish National Archives).

Virgin Islands Church Records

For records of christenings, marriages, burials and other church records created by several church denominations in the Virgin Islands see:

Featured Content

Research Tools

If your ancestor traveled by passenger ship to or from St. Thomas in the 1800s, or to or from Christiansted between the years 1794 to 1847, it is likely a record was created documenting that travel. Now, all Virgin Islanders will be able to view those archived records in digital format thanks to a remarkable gift from Rigsarkivet (the Danish National Archives).

The entire 34 DVD set of Passenger Arrival Lists, along with a preliminary finding aid prepared by Susan Lugo, is available at the following repositories:

  • the Territorial Archives and the von Scholten Collection at Enid M. Baa Public Library, St. Thomas
  • the Caribbean Genealogy Library in St. Thomas,
  • Whim Research Library and Archives in St. Croix,
  • the Territorial Archives at Florence Williams Public Library in Christiansted, St. Croix
  • the Elaine I. Sprauve Public Library Special Collections on St. John,
  • the Sociedad Puertorriqueña de Genealogía collection being established at the Universidad Interamericana de Hato Rey,
  • the Archives and Records Management Unit of the Deputy Governor's Office in Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands.
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Sovereignty. The earliest European colonization of what is now the United States Virgin Islands (USVI) involved Spain, the Netherlands, Knights of Malta, and England trading control of the islands. [1] [2]

  • St. Thomas  The Netherlands colonized St. Thomas in 1657. Denmark conquered the island in 1666. Great Britain invaded St. Thomas in 1801, but returned it to Denmark in 1802. Great Britain again seized control of St. Thomas (and St. Croix) in 1807 and stayed until 1815. [3]
  • St. John  Denmark settled St. John in 1718. [4]
  • St. Croix  In 1650 France took control of St. Croix. In 1733 Denmark purchased St. Croix and added it to St. Thomas and St. John to create the Danish West Indies. Great Britain seized control of both St. Croix and St. Thomas in 1807 and stayed until 1815. [2]

The United States purchased all the islands of the Danish West Indies from Denmark in 1917. They remain a territory of the United States. [2]

St. Thomas

  1. Charlotte Amalie
  2. East End
  3. Northside
  4. Southside
  5. Tutu
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  6. Water Island
  7. West End

St. John

  1. Central
  2. Coral Bay
  3. Cruz Bay
  4. East End

St. Croix

  1. Anna's Hope Village
  2. Christiansted
  3. East End
  4. Frederiksted
  5. Northcentral
  6. Northwest
  7. Sion Farm
  8. Southcentral
  9. Southwest

Major Repositories


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  1. History of the United States Virgin Islands in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia (accessed 15 October 2015).
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Saint Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia (accessed 15 October 2015).
  3. Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia (accessed 15 October 2015).
  4. Saint John, U.S. Virgin Islands in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia (accessed 15 October 2015).


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  • This page was last modified on 15 October 2015, at 21:40.
  • This page has been accessed 4,490 times.