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Charlotte Amalie
Tuesday, July 16, 2024


With an initial donation of $50,000 from Elisabeth Swinson Sharp, the Caribbean Genealogy Fund has been created at the Community Foundation of the Virgin Island (CFVI). The purpose of the Fund is to support the creation and maintenance of the Caribbean Genealogy Library on St. Thomas.
The Caribbean Genealogy Library will soon be open to the public at its location in Al Cohen's Mall, Havensight. The Library's first acquisitions will be several hundred volumes of genealogical reference books, publications and materials donated from Sharp's private holdings, according to Dee Baecher-Brown, CFVI executive director.
Sharp is donating a special section of Jewish genealogical books as well as microfilmed church records from the US Virgin Islands. The public is encouraged to donate print and other media including, family histories, manuscripts, photographs and maps of genealogical and Caribbean interest to the Caribbean Genealogy Library.
"The library will ensure that such materials will be treasured and shared for generations to come," Brown said.
The library's first project will be to transcribe and index microfilmed church records to make them more accessible to researchers. The Library will also conduct research training sessions and sponsor workshops and speakers in the months ahead, according to Brown.
The Caribbean Genealogy Library, a nonprofit corporation, will rely on community volunteers for its project coordinators and committee members.
Elisabeth Swinson Sharp, a native Virgin Islander and St. Thomas resident, is the daughter of the former rector of All Saints Cathedral. Over 20 years ago, she founded the Immigrant Genealogy Library in Burbank, Calif. Joining Sharp in the library's organizational efforts are Grace Swinson Martin, Susan Laura Lugo and Myron Jackson. Jackson is director of the State Historic Preservation Office and president of the Virgin Islands Genealogical Society. Martin will be responsible for a library newsletter and Lugo will donate her time to manage the Library after completing a master's degree in library and information science at the University of Illinois.
To learn more about this initiative or to participate as a library or project volunteer, contact the library at 714-2136 or call Dee Baecher-Brown at the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands, 774-6031.

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