Saturday, March 28, 2015

Crime/Catuna origins

     This is the earliest record1 I have found linking the Crime and Catuna families in St Thomas.  It is the 1841 census record, or Register of all free person living in the town of Charlotte Amalie in St Thomas.  It shows Matthew Catuna, and Antonio Crime living in the same house at 58 CrownprincenStreet. Matthew and Antonio were both my husband's third great-grandfathers.

     Matthew was the owner of the house.  He is listed as having been born in Venice, a Catholic, unmarried, and having the rank of Captain in the local militia.  He had a "Burgerbrief," a citizenship or loyalty oath for St Thomas since 1819, and due probably to his age of 52, was exempted from Militia service.  His family, Elizabeth L'Arcier (?)3 age 50, and his three children, Maria, age 26, Joseph, age 23, and Marco, age 17 also live there.  Elizabeth was born on St Lucia, and the children were all born on St Thomas.  Joseph is a private in the militia.

     Immediately beneath them in a list of others residing in the house, are Joseph and Antonio Crime. Joseph Crime, age 17, is listed as being born in Genoa, as is his father Antonio, age 42. (Other documents say Antonio was born in Malta but that is another problem).  Antonio is listed as a seaman and a widower.

     Some time later Maria Catuna and Joseph Crime began to live together in another house owned by Matthew Catuna  at 31c Krondprincens Street, and had their first child, Antonio Crime.  They are my husband's second great grandparents.

1. Census 1841 of St Thomas, Danish West Indies.  Family History Library film #0039197 Denmark, Rentkammeret (Vestindien) bk 1, 1841
2.  The spelling of the street name varies over the years and various records but it is the same street , "Crown Princes street" in Charlotte Amalie
 3.  My research indicates that it was far from unusual for couples to live together and have several children without benefit of marriage   Often a church wedding was held at a later date (sometimes near the marriage of one of the children) at which time the clergyman noted in the register that the couple acknowledged that the children listed by name were legitimate.  This allowed the child to be shown as legitimate on their own marriage register.

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