This is the second post in my blogseries about a Dutch woman (Annemieke van der Vegt) who is in an ongoing search for her West African forefather (named Christiaan van der Vegt after his baptization in 1777). In the first post i discussed how AncestryDNA can be very helpful when trying to trace African ancestry. It provided Annemieke with conclusive evidence of her African genetic inheritance. Furthermore i gave an overview of Annemiekes astonishing archival research findings sofar. Follow these links for more details:
Many fascinating details about Christiaan’s life have been uncovered by Annemieke already. The one thing she is still very eager to discover though is his original name given to him by his parents. And also his ethnic identity before getting caught up in the slave trade as a child and being forcibly relocated to the Netherlands. This blog post will therefore be centered around the question facing not only Annemieke but many Afro-descendants in the Diaspora: Is it possible to pinpoint a plausible ethnic origin for one’s African bloodline?
***Map 1 (click to enlarge)
Man from Ivory Coast (source) & map of Ghana showing locations of historical gold trading cities of Nsoko and Begho.
Virgin Islanders (US) have multiple ethnic African origins across West & Central Africa just like other West Indians. And similarly they also have absorbed within their genepool many migrants coming from other surrounding Caribbean islands. Making for a complex mix to disentangle. However because of their rather unique colonization history involving the Danes – whose slave trading activities were centred mainly on their fortresses along the Gold Coast –it might be that proportionally speaking the share of Ghanaian ancestry for Virgin Islanders could be among the highest within the Carribean or even the entire Americas. I will post some slave trade statistics that seem to be in support although they can only give an inherently limited perspective. Plus i will discuss the highly valuable testimony concerning the ethnic make up of Virgin Islanders written down by the Moravian missionary Oldendorp circa 1768. His report of originally 3000 pages (!) is among the earliest ethnographic descriptions of Caribbean slaves. Continue reading
Already old news apparently but just came across this as i finished my series on Caribbean slave registers 🙂
There’s also this wonderful website, Virgin Islands Roots, too bad i can’t seem to find any summarized findings on slave ethnicity for Virgin Islanders based on this data. If you read the article i linked to above they also mention how they were able to trace back the Senegalese ancestor for someone who now lives in the USA. It’s an amazing story of which i found a more detailed version via this source (page 7) :
VENUS JOHANNES – A WOMAN FROM SENEGAL ON ST. CROIX