Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Native Hawaiian Genealogy Society

The Native Hawiian Genealogy Society group, which originally started off as a facebook group, has a new web site at  Click here for the facebook page,  2,272 members strong.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

James J. Fern

One of the mysteries I'd like to find out is where in England my 3rd great grandfather came from and why he came to Hawaii.  Some of his descendants seem to think he came on a whaling ship, which is highly possible.  Many years ago another descendant, told me the town he came from in England, but I've searched all my records and emails and can't find the message.  It started with the letter L is all I can remember.

What we have on James J. Fern is either he came from the mainland, but most people have him coming from England.  A record at states that he was married to Kaipua Kaipo Luahoomae in 1843, most likely in Maui, since that's were his 1st nine children were born.  Kaipo was born 1826, Keokea, Maui and was a descendant of chiefs who had served with Kamehameha the great, during his campaign to unite the islands.  Their children were:

William (1844-1904)
Robert (1850-1906)
Caroline Kamakee (1952-1924)
Mary Ann (1853-1918)
Kealalaina (1854- )
Elizabeth Keohokaleleonalani (1857-1922)
Henry Lipine (1859-1928)
James Joseph Keliikoliola (1860-1920)
Maria Kalola(1860-1936)
John James (1861-1912)
Kamana (1867- )
George James (1871-1928)
Joseph James (1872-1920)
Isabella (1878-1929)

All the children married, except Kealalaina, I have no record for her.

Around 1860/61 the family moved to Kohala on the Big Island, John James Lipine Moeone Fern being the 1st child being born there.  According to my records, Kaipo had her 1st child, William at age 18 and her last child, Isabella at age 52!  I've always suspected that the youngest or maybe even the 3 youngest children are actually her grandchildren that she raised, which was not uncommon at all in Hawaiian families.

Where in England was he born?  Why did he come to Hawaii?  What did he do on Maui? and why did the family relocate to Kohala?  These are the questions I have on the Fern family.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

This Is The Face of Genealogy

Fern family by cosmorama
Fern family, a photo by cosmorama on Flickr.
Emma & Joseph James Fern.
This photo is in response to the LA Weekly article that's causing a stir in the genealogy community, because of the picture that was originally posted to go with the article. Geneabloggers asked genealogy bloggers to post a photo that represents our family history.

The couple (my great-great grandparents) are what we call hapa-haole (half-white), both are half Hawaiian and the husband is half English, the wife, I have yet to find her caucasian ancestors, but she list's herself as hapa-haole in the 1890 census. Her 1st husband was Hawaiian/Portuguese and he had a Tahitian/Hawaiian 1st wife and a Hawaiian 2nd wife, this marriage being his 3rd. The children on the steps are the products of those marriages and represent the melting pot that is Hawaii.

Saturday, June 4, 2011


Stabbing by cosmorama

Stabbing, a photo by cosmorama on Flickr.
A article about the stabbing and death of Private Webster C. Strawser, who was the boyfriend of my grandfather's half sister, Beatrice Pookalani. According to the article, Beatrice was Alvin R. Fenn's boyfriend, then they broke up and Beatrice started seeing Webster and then Alvin stabbed and killed Webster and stabbed Beatrice, who survived. A few years ago I got a picture of Beatrice with another women, possibly her sister Victoria and a man in uniform. I wonder if the man in the photo is either man, Alvin or Webster?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

A Ripe Old Age

Here's an interesting story about Kepoolele Apau, a woman, 124 years old.  She died in 1898 at the age of 127.  In some ways this story reminds me of that made for TV movie I saw as a child back in the 70's, "The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman".  Like the African-American slave, Jane Pittman recalling historical events in her 110 year life, Kepooleleapau recalls historical events in Hawaii's history.

Familiar "With Earliest Events in History.  Visited Kilauea Volcano With Kaplolanl I Trained by the Missionaries.

After passing Smith street, walking on the mauka side of King, one notices a 'number of dingy, muddy alleys.  In the second one from the bridge there is a relic of the early days of the Hawaiian Islands. Walk through the alley, and when you get to the rear of the store facing King street, there is another passage way, narrower than the one which leads from King street, to a collection of old tumble down cottages occupied by Hawaiians.  If you want to find and converse with the oldest inhabitant of the Islands, turn into this narrow way and stop at the two-story house on the left. It is an old place, so old that the date of the erection of it is almost forgotten by the people who live in it or in the cottages around. On the upper veranda an old koa bedstead stands exposed to the Kona winds and rains of the winter months. A bit of bedding and a bunk, at some time used by the younger generation of Hawaiians, has been cast aside for the Hawaiian of the old school, is not a believer in soft beds; a mat on the floor has greater attractions than the most modern spring mattress.  On the lower floor the house is divided into three rooms: a large one in the center and flanked on either side by two small ones. Here the family eat and sleep? 'the'"cooking is done on a keronsene tin in the yard.  On a mat in the largest of the three rooms a reporter for the Advertiser found the old woman. She piped an "Aloha" to her visitors and took their hands with the grasp of a girl of 20.  She is not a beautiful woman, though the traditions of her family aver that she was noted for her charms in her youth. The hand of Time, however, has seared her face and left many wrinkles as evidence of the years' she has passed through. Being to an extent deprived of her hearing it was with difficulty that one in the party who spoke Hawaiian, could make himself understood. She was willing to talk, and she was able, but she must be allowed to go on in her own way without being bored with questions. Sir. Atkinson, General Inspector of Census, made several visits subsequently,
and investigated the case of the woman, who is supposed to be anywhere from 120 to 124 years of age. He tells his story in his own inimitable way.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

J. R. Honest

I went back to Oahu Cemetery yesterday, to re-take the pictures of the Hiram graves.  I also noticed other families that I've stumbled across in my own research.  The Holts, Meresburgs, Topolinskis, Smith and Clarkes.  I noticed their all in the same area.  What they have in common are they all have ties to Kohala/Waimea of the Big Island and all seem like they came to Oahu about the same time and are part of the early prominent, hapa-haole families of Oahu.

J. R. Honest died when he was 5yrs old and we think that he might possible the 5 yr old boy mentioned in this article about the son of Moses and Lizzie Puahi, who was playing with matches and died.  Lizzie is the widow of Chas. I. Hiram who is a grave over from Honest.  But why is he Honest and not Puahi?  Seems very strange.  He could be a grandchild of Lizzie and Charles that was raised by Lizzie and Moses.  That's very common in Hawaii.  The Kelii Imakakoloa and P. Keoua are strange there.  I know that Keoua was a famous chief who was the father of King Kamehameha the great.  Imakakoloa was an earlier ancestor of the Hiram family, and there also was a priestly order of Imakakoloa.

J. R. Honest, Elizabeth Hiram and Charles Hiram

Kelii Imakakoloa

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Who is J. R. Honest?

My great-great grandmother was adopted into the HIRAM family, or they could be related, I'm still working on that.  Most Hawaiian adoptions were done between family members, so it's quite possible.  I think all those with the Hiram last name are related, back then anyway, so I'll take pictures, if I run across any Hiram headstones.  I took this ages ago, but could never find any of these people until recently, cousin Connie found Charles Hiram and we figured out he was the brother of Solomon Hiram and Hattie Hiram.  Hattie was married to a Mr. Cummins at one time and she either kept her last name or divorced him, it's unclear, but her obit has her named, Miss Maliakamalu Kaomeamea Kahaulehale Hattie Hiram.  Her headstone reads just Hattie Hiram and in back of it has "Malie Mushburch".  I always thought that was a typo for Merseburgh, just because it's such a strange name and because there's a William Meresburgh headstone nearby and I know that William had a daughter named Maria Malie Merseberg, but she's buried in another part of the cemetery.

Hattie's daughter married Clement Cromwell, so the headstone near Hattie's that says Cromwell Cummins, makes me wonder if that's Hattie's grandchild.

What I really want to know though is, who is J. R. Honest and why is he buried in what looks like the same family plot, with Elizabeth and Charles Hiram?  It looks like he was born in 1804, so he would be an elder member of the family, if he is family and if he is, he could possibly be the originator of the Hiram name in Hawaii.  Looks like there was a picture at one time on the headstone.

J. R. Honest, Lucy Elizabeth Maukaa Hiram, Chas. I. Hiram

Hattie Hirum (Hiram)
Malie Mushburch

Cromwell Cummins, possibly Hatties grandchild.

Could be Hattie's brother Solomon, or an earlier ancestor.  

Monday, April 11, 2011

Emily and Amy and the sorry state of vital records in Hawaii

With all the brouhaha, about Obamas birth certificate, I was hoping that the Dept. of Health would start offering copies of the actual birth certificates, but no such luck.

The first vital record I ever ordered was back in 1999 and at that time, they gave you a certified copy of the actual record, not the computer generated ones they give today.  Novemeber 15, 2001, was the date of my 1st computer generated record, my grandparents marriage certificate, but then on Nov. 16, 2001, I got an actual copy of the original death certificate, so I wondered if it was just marriages.

The vital records I ordered after that were all originals, no marriages, until Feb. 29, 2003, when I received another computer generated copy.  Another marriage, so maybe it just applied to them?  2004, was the last actual document and I stopped and didn't order anymore, since I exhausted my ancestors by then and then ordered some on Aug. 28, 2008.  The Obama controversy had been going full swing by then, so I was aware I was going to get the shorter, computer generated "certification of live birth" and I got it. The thing about the shorter forms are how much info is left off them. Those last two I ordered, I did so because I wanted to find out if they were twins and how many children the mother had, how many living etc...of course that info is not on there. These two girls were the last of my great grandmother's sister's children to be born and in the birth index it has them both being born on the same day, but one being born on this side of the island (Koolaupoko) and the other being born in Honolulu. The one born on this side was born at 6pm and the other has the comments, "Time of Birth not given on original birth certificate".  The only thing I can think of as to why one is on one side and the other twin is on the other side of the island, is that there were complications and they took her to a Honolulu hospital to have the other twin.

But what happened to that other twin (Emily)?.  The Koolaupoko twin (Amy) has descendants today, but Emily just vanishes from the records.  I couldn't find her in the death index, for that year and in the newspaper article about her mother's death, only one baby is mentioned....

"The police said that Hookano threatened his wife's life while she had her baby in her arms and that she pushed him away."

So Amy and Emily were born on Nov. 12, 1923 and their mother was killed March 4, 1924, with one baby in her arms and I can find record of death for Emily, what happened to her?  Another strange thing is the mother Emma is part hawaiian on one birth certificate and portuguese on another..

I think seeing the original where they ask how many children born to this mother and how many alive now, would help.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Aloha to all the places my child stayed

This is part of a longer article written in the Hawaiian language newspapers by Mrs. Emma K. Fern, my great-great grandmother.  Her daughter Emma Lahela, was shot and killed by her 3rd husband Lui Hookano.  This article was translated by a friend of a descendent of Lui Hookano.  This snippet deals with all the places Emma Lahela stayed in her life....

My daughter was born at Kapaia Kauai, December 4, 1895, and died on March 4, 1924, a full thirty years and three months...

Oh Kaua'i, you will never agian see Emma, never again see her in your surging waves.
Alas, my child loved traveling to this place.

Oh Maunalua, perhaps you have seen my child Emma, going to the uplands of Kamilokapu, the beloved place my child stayed with my first-born, Mr. G. Kalauohe who had first come here.

Oh esteemed Kawaihoa, you will never again see Emma, at the water's edge of Maunalua, and likewise you, Kuli'ou'ou, will never again see her traveling to the water's edge of my beloved birthplace.

Here is her mama crying at the place my child stayed with my older sisters and their husbands, Mr. and Mrs. Makea Paao and Mr. and Mrs. Mahinalau.

Wailupe, where she went to search for wisdom, aloha to the place my child lived in Wailau, where we all stayed in the cool swaying of the wind of the Ko'olau.  There she grasped the hand of the man, not knowing the one she loved was evil in body and pondering acts that shortened her days of living and breathing.

Aloha to the Kanilehua rain of Hilo, you will never again see my darling.  You will never agian soak the beloved cheeks of my child.

Aloha to the home of her in-laws at Pahala, Kau, the place my daughter lived with her beloved husband Joseph Kawaha, who has already left this life.  Aloha to the place my child lived for a long time with her in-laws Mr and Mrs. J. L. K. Kawaha, of Kau, Pahala, a home that welcomed tourists arriving there, a comfortable place to stay for parents caring for children.

Aloha to the place my child stayed upland of Olaa, with her cousins Mr and Mrs. C. Warren.  And likewise Keaukaha, a place my child stayed with my cousins.  It is finished, she has vanished from our eyes...

Monday, March 14, 2011

Pa-u Rider Pictures

My great-great grandmother was known to be a pa-u rider in the parades.  I found a set of pictures of her, or which I thought was her, until I saw the date listed as June 11, 1900.  Well, if that date was right, she would be 8 months pregnant.  Would she be riding horseback pregnant?  So began my quest to find the 'correct' date of the pictures.  I ordered them from Bishop museum and the date given on the back is 1900-1910, but I've seen pictures from the set, dated besides June 11, 1900, dated before that.  The book I found it in said it was 1900, but that Princess Kaiulani was in them so it couldn't be 1900, because she died in 1899.  Previously research by cousin Connie concluded that it was probably between 1906-1909.  I also saw the guy in white in another picture dated 1907.  Then I found this book with a picture from the set, dated 1905.

From the book "Diamond Head: Hawaii's Icon"
Based on what everyone is wearing, the set of photographs looks like they were taken all on the same day and theres even a film of them riding, which I've seen that film dated 1906 and 1910, which doesn't help.  I would have to say now, in my opinion, the photos and film are between 1905-1910.

Emma Fern

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Errors in books, part two.

This is from the book "Recollections" by John Dominis Holt.
He states that the heavily flowered pa'u in the middle, which is the girl to the left of the crease in the book is Princess Kaiulani.  Here is a close-up and side by side comparison with Princess Kailulani:

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Errors in books, part one.

Having been an active researcher since 1996, it's frustrating coming across errors in books. Since I collect Hawaiian history books, I've found a few, here's one:

My great-great grandfather was the 1st Mayor Honolulu. His name was Joseph James Fern. Here's a picture of him...

And here's a picture of Prince Kawananakoa...

Yet in the book "Hawaii:The Territorial Years, 1900-1959" we have this...

Yes, they do look similar, but what's really bad is that the editors/researchers of this book, went to the Hawaii State Archives looking for a picture of Prince Kawananakoa and they got Mayor Fern?!  That means it's misidentified at the archives.  I don't know how they indexed it back in 1989, but today the pictures are in folders like "people K", so it's not like they were looking through the folder "people F" folder for Kawananakoa.  Of course the only way to know for sure is to go to the archives and ask to look at pics of Kawananakoa.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Family Recipes

Like many other people, my family recipes are from my mother, but she's Irish, Scottish, Swiss, no Hawaiian recipes on her side. On my dad's side theres none that I can think of that are of any originality. My mom recently told me that those cherished family recipes on her side are from the boxes of products, like nestle chocolate chips, pumpkin pie and others. So there's not one original family recipe passed down from generation to generation from both my parents! My paternal grandfather did make excellent Hawaiian food though. Laulau, lomi-lomi salmon, omg, I'm salivating at the thought. My mom says she's spoiled because that was the first Hawaiian food she had and today she can't find any to match that today. Amazing what he could do with such a simple recipe for Laulau.

My brother James, Mom & Dad at my gradparents house.

This recipe from a 1957 cookbook pretty much is how its made, except today hardly anyone uses salmon and the they use luau leaves instead of spinach.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Forgetting & Remembering...

One of my favorite Hawaiian books is entitled, "Waikiki:A History of Forgetting & Remembering" by Andrea Freeser. I picked it up since it had a picture of my great-great grandfather standing on Waikiki beach in historical costume. In the early part of last century, they had a floral carnival and parade, which I think was started around 1906 and ended around 1915. Today we have things like the Kamehameha Day parade and the Aloha Week festivals, but back then it was just the floral parade. Ever so often, when I watch or read something, that phrase, "Forgetting & Remembering" enters my brain. I was reminded of it while watching the premeire of "Who Do You Think You Are?". Vanessa Williams ancestor was a lawmaker elected in Tennessee in the 1860's. One of the first African Americans elected back then. These African American men were elected, they tried to do good deeds to elevate their people to equality with everyone else, but society would not have it and eventually their time there was forgotten.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Leila L. Haiku-Tombstone Tuesday

Leila is my 2 cousin, once removed.  She died at a young age, and had a young daughter that I don't know what happened to her.  She's buried at the Kurtistown Filipino Cemetery, in Puna, Big Island.  As far as I know she wasn't Filipino.  The place where she died Hanamaulu, Kauai, is also where my great-great grandparents were married in 1889.
This picture was taken by Geoff Stafford, who volunteers his time and taking pictures of gravesites on the Big Island.

Coco-Paljavascript:void(0)m Lodge Waitress Killed In Kauai Crash
Lihue, Kauai, March 1 (by Radiophone). - A 22 year-old waitress who spent last night her favorite way - dancing at a nightclub - was killed today when the car she was driving hit an embankment and turned over on Wilcox Road in Nawiliwili, Kauai.  Police identified the woman as Leila Haiku, of Hanamaulu, a waitress at the Coco-Palm Lodge at Wailua.  Her death leaves her daughter, Lynn, 5 an orphan.  She worked on the 5 p.m. to midnight shift.  The accident happened about 6 a.m. near the Nawiliwili bulk Sugar Plant, police said.  They did not know where she was headed for.  They said Miss Haiku had just turned a curve when her car apparently swerved across the road and glance off a dirt embankment.  Police said the car turned over several times and landed on its roof about 100 feet away from where it hit the embankment.  Miss Haiku was thrown out of the car.  Police said she apparently died instantly.  She was pronounced dead upon arrival at Wilcox Hospital.  Surviving is a brother, Antone.  The traffic death was the third on Kauai this year.  According to her girl friend, Lihue Alexander, also an employee of the Lodge, they both went night clubbing until about 2 a.m. this moring.  Miss Alexander said Miss Haiku “really enjoyed dancing .  She was happy-go-lucky and was well-liked by everyone.”  Shocked at hearing about the tragedy, Miss Alexander said a good part of last night, both of them discussed plans to fix up a new apartment they were to move into shortly in Lihue.~March 1, 1956, Honolulu Star-Bulletin.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Personal Hawaiian Genealogy Pages.

Hawaiian genealogy sure has come along way from the days when I first started searching the web back in 1998.  There were a handful of personal sites with info on Hawaiian genealogy back then and some are still around, the same site from the nineties frozen in time.  Some are updated and some vanished never to be seen again.  Here's a list of the personal pages (now called blogs?) I have bookmarked, that are still around...

Hawaiian Genealogy-Excellent site done by Dean Kekoolani, focusing on the chiefly genealogies as recorded by High Chief and master genealogist Solomon Lehuanui Kalaniomaiheuila.
The Official Website of the Royal Family of Hawaii-A beautiful looking site with information on the royal families of Hawaii.
Kanaka Genealogy-Probably one of the best sites on Hawaiian Genealogy.  Lots of information such as, ali'i mahele indices, anti aneexation petitions, tutorials, maps, oral stories, links to other Hawaiian genealogy sites. Kinimaka family website.
A Priestly Line Through the Ages-Last updated on March 31, 2007, lots of hawaiian surnames.
Banyon Tree: Genealogy of the Hawaiian Family Nahaolelua and Descendants-One of the earliest sites I ever stumbled across, this was one of the sites that was forever not updated, but now noticed she put up a new picture of herself.  
Emma's Heart: Family History of the Gasper-Kealawaiole Ohana-A family site that's been around since 2004.  
Kaauamo Ohana-Dedicated to the Kaauamo family hailing from Keanae, Maui.
Kakalia Ohana-Dedicated to the ohana of Thomas Kaiulani Kakalia Sr. from Nanakuli.
Ohana o Kaaimoku-Family site.  Looks like it was last updated in 2008.
Reeves Ohana-I like the "9 siblings" family tree.  You click on one of the 11 people to get more information.
The Cummings of Hawaii-It didn't take long for me to run across a Cummings in my own family tree.  This family is huge!
Doak Family Website-Click on "Migrations" to find the Hawaii Connection.
Hawaiian Roots-Like Kanaka Genealogy, this site is great with lots of information to help out the Hawaiian genealogist.  Started in 2001 by Christine Hitt.

Well, that's all I have bookmarked, but I have seen other's recently that for some reason, I did not save.  I do notice a thread of family genealogy sites popping up on facebook.  I myself run one called "Emma Fern's Ohana", and belong to "Hiram Ohana", "The Hawaii Hoke Ohana" and "Silva Family Tree".  Try searching a surname your researching to find if a group already exists.  

Pepehi Kanaka (Murder)

The following English and Hawaiian language newspaper articles deal with the murder/suicide committed by my 3rd great grandfather, Samuel Sm...