Virgin Islands researchers unveil slavery records

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A collection of slavery records newly available over the Internet may help thousands of people trace their families back to Africa through St. Croix, a former slave-trading hub in the Caribbean.

The records, which went online Thursday at, already have helped Susan Samuel of Houston discover the story of an ancestor who was freed after persuading officials that she had been illegally sold into slavery.

"Even though she came from a very horrible situation, she decided not to be defined by it," Samuel said of her great- great-great-great-grandmother Venus Johannes, who was captured as a 12-year-old girl in what is now Senegal in West Africa.

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