Free Genealogy Resources for Hawaii

Today I visited the website of the Hawaii State Archives. Even those I have no ancestors from the state (at least that I know of at this point), I was curious about what they have to offer. Those who do have Hawaiian ancestors will be pleased to hear that they have several digital collections.

The page is broken up into four sections-search, indexes, records and other resources. The search will look through all the digital collections that are indexed by name with the exception of the genealogy index, Mahele book, map and library catalog, and photographs.

The Indexes section has a Genealogy Index, Government Office Holders 1843-1959, Chinese Passenger Manifests Index, Japanese Passenger Manifests Index, Portuguese Passenger Manifests Index, two Land Indexes by name 1838-1918 (A, E, U only in one and R-Z only in the second), and a Name Index 1790-1950 (A-Bishop Only).

The Genealogy Index can be searched or browsed. The results will give you the specific location of the document, the name(s) and a link to an extract and actual image of the document. This particular index is a wealth of free genealogy resources with marriage records, divorce records, probates and wills, and naturalization, denization and passports.

The Government Office Holders Index can be searched or browsed. If browsing, you have the option to browse by name or office. The index is incomplete and doesn't offer a lot of data.

You can search or browse all of the passenger manifests indexes. Once you find the name you are seeking, click on the PDF icon for more information. This may include the person's full name, age at time, marital status, date of arrival, ship name and place they emigrated from.

The Land Indexes are incomplete. They are broken into two separate indexes, one for surnames beginning with A, E or U and one for surnames beginning with the letters R-Z. Again, this can be searched or browsed. Click on the PDF icon for more information such as date, land patent number, lot and location.

As with some of the other indexes, the Name Index is a work in progress. At this time, only A through Bishop is available. The PDF icon will show you a card which has various miscellaneous information about the individual. Available information varies by card.

The records are broken up into Judiciary Records, the Mahele Book, Photograph Collection, Tax Ledgers 1847-1900 (Hamakua and Hilo), Vital Statistics 1826-1929 (Molokai, Niihau,  Kauai and some of Maui) and World War I Service Records.

The Judiciary Records collection is very limited. At the time of this post, it only has two probate case files. The description of the collection notes that more will be added as they are requested.

The Mahele Book is a PDF file. For those not familiar with the mahele, it was the division of lands between Kamehameha III, the chiefs, and the konohiki. This division occurred between January 28, 1848 and March 7, 1848. For a fuller description of the transactions documented in this book, I would suggest checking out the Hawaiian Kingdom Government's page on the history of land titles. Keep in mind that the book is a handwritten record and locations are given by their traditional names, not necessarily by what they are called now.

The Photograph Collections has 290 items. You can browse through the photographs 9 to a page or search by keyword. It includes pictures of various landmarks around the state and people. If your ancestors owned a plantation in Hawaii, you may get lucky and find a picture of it since there are several plantations in the collection.

You can search or browse by name the WWI Service Records. Information in this database was compiled from enlistment records. This free genealogy resource can offer information on the ancestors date and place of birth, service related injuries, residence and more.

The Tax Ledgers are organized by date or location. They open as a PDF file. They contain the individual's name, age, residence, type of property, property value and exemptions. The majority of the ledgers are in Hawaiian, but some offer English as well.

The Vital Statistics Collections spans the years 1826 through 1929. Currently, there are birth, marriage and death records for Kauai, Niihau and Molokai. There are birth and death records for Maui with a few marriages as well. You can search or browse by name or location. If you don't find your ancestor's name when browsing, it's recommended that you search the name as well as it may be indexed incorrectly.

Last but not least, the Other Resources section links you to the library catalog.

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