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ON THE TRAIL OF BYGONE FAMILY

Aug. 29, 2002 – A name is a name is some other name as well. Or maybe it's the reverse. Or something quite different, with roots in another language.
So, your family name is Brannigan. But somebody else may be spelling it Branigan. And the Library of Congress, in their online subject index, suggests you'd better check out Brennan, Branning, Brennan and Brannon as well, if you're tracing ancestors.
And Fredericks? Check without the "s," and track down the Friedrich family, too.
Maybe you've found a great-great-someone who's name is William Jackson. Do you have any idea how many William Jacksons there are? And how often the ledger book might enter Jackson Williams in reverse and forget the comma?
If you're just starting out, and you find traps like the above that stall your efforts, or maybe you can't find a good starting point at all, there's help for you on St. Croix.
A group of people who enjoy tracing their families decided they needed to form a group, said Veronica Phillips, so they'd have like-minded people to talk to – sort of "you tell me about your family search and then I get to tell you about mine." Phillips said she's been searching for her family roots for a good while, but even she is topped by Josephine Hector, who's been searching since 1981 and is still at it.
So, the recently formed V.I. Ancestor Discovery Group meets at Whim Greathouse Library on the last Saturday of each month, at 1 p.m.
Family names St. Croix people have been searching for include, in addition to Brannigan and Fredericks, de Windt, Heyliger, King, Plaskett, and Bromstorff or Burnstorff or sometimes Broomstorff … Do you begin to see how big the minefields are?
In addition to helping newcomers get started and catching each other up on progress, Phillips said the group plans cemetery walks and a speaker from Denmark who's coming in November. The Library Committee at Whim plans the annual V.I. genealogy conference.
The Whim Greathouse Library has long collected materials to aid in family searchers. Among items they have are materials prepared painstakingly by hand, including rubbings, for the Moravian Mid Island and the Jewish cemeteries on St. Croix. In October 2001 reporter Lynda Lohr wrote an extensive article on local genealogy research which you can click to right here: Genealogy Holds Interest for Virgin Islanders
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