Let’s Make St. Martin’s History

Welcome to Heritage Backup! In every home and mind on St. Martin, there are important stories. These should be part of the history of St. Martin. We want to build this history together with you. Documenting, preserving and sharing personal heritage is a tribute to the ancestors of the island and a gift to future generations.

Join us on this quest! Anyone can take part, and the tools and resources are all free. If you have questions, send us a message: [email protected].

Part One: Your Heritage Inventory

Download this booklet to learn how to make a personal heritage inventory in your home. This is the first step to recording your personal and family history. Download this free PDF booklet.

Your personal heritage collection is as unique and important as the collection of any museum. And, it can be cataloged in the same way! Are you ready to make your heritage inventory? Download this Personal Heritage Inventory worksheet with instructions. You can write your inventory on this worksheet, or use it as a guide.

Want to learn more about cataloging and why it is done? Check out the great Small Museums Cataloging Manual.

Part Two: Tools of the Trade

Download this booklet to identify the tools you already have to record your personal history, and how you can use them. If you have a computer, scanner, camera or videocamera that’s great. If not, you can do everything you need to do with a normal smartphone. Set yourself up to dive into your personal heritage collection and save those memories! Download this free PDF booklet.

Set up your workspace and get your tools together. Download this Heritage Toolkit worksheet with instructions.

Get started recording your memories with this Photo Memories Activity. Choose a few photos and record your memories. If you don’t have photos to work with, try finding a few photos at http://image.amuseumnaturalis.com that spark memories and use them for this activity. Download the worksheet.

Part Three: Heritage Jollification

Preserving heritage is important work, and it is time to come together to do it. It is time for a heritage jollification. Every voice matters. Every story matters. Start recording today and encourage your friends and family to do it, too. Download this free PDF booklet.

Family Tree Resources

Check out two of our recent articles about building your family tree:

Exploring Your Family Tree

History Hunters

These sites are great places to start when researching your family tree on St. Martin:
This Dutch site collects records from a many of sources, including public birth, marriage and death records. The site is available in Dutch and English and it is possible to search specifically in the Netherlands Antilles. It is free to use with paid options that add some advanced functionality but are not necessary.

This website contains many records for both sides of the island (by setting location to Guadeloupe or Sint Maarten). For many ancestors, records are collected into profiles and family trees. It is free to search and create an account. Paid subscription offers additional search tools and access to newspaper databases.

French Overseas Territory Archives for St. Martin
These archives contain birth, death, marriage and other records from 1773 to 1907. They can be browsed by year, type and location, but they are scans of handwritten documents, so they are not searchable. They are in French.

This site is a collection of links to resources and message boards. It also includes information about physical archives not available online. Information related to St. Martin can be found under Antilles Francaises and Netherlands Antilles.

This free website contains searchable records, but does not contain many records related to St. Martin. It is more useful for family who traveled to other countries, especially the US.

This paid international site has a US focus. Some records are searchable for free, but most functionality is by paid subscription.

This paid international site has a US focus. Some records are searchable for free, but most functionality is by paid subscription.

There are also some Facebook groups where St. Martin families share family history information. You may need to be part of the family to join:

HODGE Heritage in (British, French, Dutch) West Indies-Caribbean

Rovelet, Tondu & Tackling Heritage

Vlauns Around the World

Some family trees that include St. Martin heritage are also online:

Van Romondt West Indian Branch

Do you have a family tree or resource to share? Send us a message ([email protected]) and we will add it!

Even More!

Looking for inspiration to get started recording your memories? Here are a few places to get inspired:

The St. Martin Image Collection features photos and postcards of St. Martin going back over 100 years. Find landscapes that inspire memories and much more.

The First National Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) Inventory of Sint Maarten is the first collection of much of the cultural heritage of the island, from foods and craftsmanship to arts and festivals.

This 1940s and 1950s Ledger contains the accounts of purchases by dozens of St. Martiners. Take a look to find family members and explore what they were buying 75 years ago.

Watch St. Martiners tell their own stories in oral history films recorded by Les Fruits de Mer.

What next? Make your catalog and stay tuned for the next installment!