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Beretta Family Stories

By Dr. Dante Beretta

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steamer victoria louise harbor

How Hotel Italia in St. Thomas Became a Popular Movie Venue During World War I by Dr. Dante Beretta

Opening Night:  Lights, Camera, Action! Light from the half moon shimmered on old Charlotte Amalia harbor. Gentle trade winds cooled patrons gathered in the yard facing the sea. After announcements were made, the crowd was hushed as newly installed electric lamps were switched off. The distinctive click-click-click-click of the 35-mm film feeding through the reel […]

Virgin Islands Catch and keep plant

Thorny Catch-and-Keep: The Country Policeman of our Islands’ Past by Dr. Dante Beretta

[Warning:  Some of the content, language, and accompanying documents of this article may be uncomfortable to some.  Nonetheless, the author chose to include these items to remain as accurate as possible to the story.] Catch-and Keep and the White Police This past February, we were visiting my old childhood homestead in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin […]

Dr. Dante Beretta of the US Virgin Islands

A Beretta Family Presentation Given at the Caribbean Genealogy Library

A Presentation by Dr. Dante Beretta Dr. Beretta and I share a passion for family history! He has written several articles about his research in the Virgin Islands and throughout the Caribbean regarding his Beretta and Dinzey families and has shared them here on the blog. In this video, he gathered all of his material […]

The History of the St. Thomas Wharf Dem by Dr. Dante Beretta

“At St. Thomas, the town is the island and the harbor is the town.”  William Gifford Palgrave St. Thomas, with its deep natural harbor and strategic location, has been an important center for shipping and trade for centuries, and its success can be attributed to the many wharves available for easy access. The wharves, in […]

Emancipation in the Danish West Indies

My Emancipated Ancestors by Dr. Dante Beretta

My Emancipated Ancestors By Dr. Dante Beretta On Sunday evening, the 2nd of July 1848, the tutu sounded over western St. Croix.   The tutu was a conch shell fashioned into a horn, which gave a clear loud sound that carried over long distances.   Historically in the Danish West Indies, the tutu was used […]

Crown House in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands

How Crown House Survived the Hurricane of 1916

By Dr. Dante Beretta For every bad, there is a good.  West Indian saying When the barometer reading steadily dropped and the weather turned ominous, island residents understood this as a foreboding sign. 💨  Our grandfather, George Beretta fastened the jalousies and shutters and made his last-minute preparations. The Berettas hunkered down in their family home, Crown […]

Early St. Thomas Panoramas of the Danish West Indies ~ 1850s

Early St. Thomas Panoramas ~ 1850s

An Early St. Thomas Panorama By Dr. Dante Beretta There are two old Danish West Indian photographs available at the Danish Maritime Museum that are some of the oldest photographs extant from St. Thomas.  Taken at the same time, these daguerreotypes were meant as a panorama featuring the town of Charlotte Amalia and the harbor […]

Hugo Larsen's Nanny with Baby painting in St. Thomas, Danish West Indies ~ 1905 By Dante Beretta

How a Family Historian Discovered Where Hugo Larsen Painted One of His Masterpieces ~ 1905

By Dr. Dante Beretta   A little over 100 years ago, a talented young Danish artist named Hugo Larsen, visited the Danish West Indies. During his three year sojourn in the West Indies, he spent the majority of his time on the island of St. Thomas, creating many drawings and paintings. My favorite Hugo Larsen is […]


Taking the Last Danish Census ~ 1911

By Dr. Dante Beretta Census Day The 1st of February 1911, Census Day, was an important day for the town of Charlotte Amalie in the Danish West Indies and a busy day for at least two of my ancestors.  Choosing the Census Takers The Danish Police Magistrate appointed two respectable inhabitants for each street who were the census takers for […]