Legacy Tree Onsite: Spotlight on the Hawai’i State Library
Legacy Tree Genealogists works with researchers all across the globe to access records for our clients. We asked Ami, onsite in Hawai’i, to share her experiences with the Hawaii State Library. Check it out!
Genealogy research in Hawai’i is often complicated and complex, which is a reflection of the history of this place. Hawaii spent time as a kingdom, a republic, a territory, and a state, and being aware of this history allows us to understand how records were organized, who organized them, if they were kept, and where. Sometimes, these records become compiled into useful collections that are in unexpected places. This post, however, will focus on one particular repository.
While most libraries keep printed, published material, the Hawaii State Library (HSL) is an optimal place to begin because of its hours, accessibility, and the sheer number of sources to be found in a single location. Though many of the records specific to genealogy are in the Hawai’i and Pacific section, a researcher should not neglect the other valuable periodicals and online database offerings available through the possession of a library card.
There are many diverse genealogical sources available on microfilm at the HSL in the Hawai’i and Pacific Section, though the years of availability vary. The staff provide very helpful guides in navigating these collections. The table below contains an overview of selected microfilm offerings:
|Name of Microfilm||Years Available|
|Census of Hawai‘i 1900|
|Census of Hawai‘i 1910|
|Census of Hawai‘i 1920 & Soundex|
|Census of Hawai‘i 1930|
|Laie Genealogical Library|
|Birth Index||July 1909 – December 1948|
|Birth Certificates||July 1909 – April 1921|
|Marriage Index (Groom)||July 1909 – June 1949|
|Marriage Index (Bride)||July 1909 – June 1949|
|Marriage Certificates (By Area)||July 1909 – November 1920|
|Death Index||July 1909 – January 1949|
|Death Certificates||July 1909 – December 1920|
|Index to Passenger Manifests; Chinese & Chinese Labor Permits|
|Index to Passenger Manifests – Japanese|
|Index to Passenger Manifests – Portuguese & General|
|All About Hawai’i, Hawaiian Almanac & Annual, Kalakaua’s Hawai’i|
|City Directories of the United States (Honolulu, Hawai’i)||1884-1892, 1898-1901, 1901-1936, 1937-1960|
|Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps|
|Hawai’i Dept. of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR)|
Native and Foreign Register & Testimony (Māhele), General Index of Land Commission Patents
The Hawaii State Library periodical section also has microfilms of many newspapers, including multiple that are not in the English language. The major English language newspapers from the larger islands of Hawai’i (O’ahu, Maui, Kaua’i and Hawai’i) include:
- Honolulu Star-Advertiser
- Honolulu Advertiser
- Honolulu Star Bulletin
- Maui News
- Hawai’i Tribune Herald (Hawai’i)
- West Hawai’i Today (Hawai’i)
- Garden Island (Kaua’i)
Indexes exist for select years of several of the newspapers. The years the papers were in print, access to the indexes, and other valuable information can be found at their website: http://www.librarieshawaii.org/research/hawaii-newspapers/hawaii-newspaper-guide/.
The library also has printed material that is unique to the library. One of my personal favorites is the yearbook collection representing various high schools throughout the state. They do not have every single year for every single school, as it is based on donations. But I have definitely had success finding pictures of my relatives in them! There are also printed or published genealogies and oral histories of various families in Hawai’i which can provide more information and possibly further sources to deepen one’s research.
If you have a Hawaii State library card, you qualify to access all of their databases and onsite collections. A listing of those online databases can be found here: http://www.librarieshawaii.org/research/licensed-collections/all-licensed-collections/.
Offered exclusively in the library, one can also utilize the free access to subscription genealogy websites (like Ancestry.com), as well as Encyclopedia Britannica.
In Hawai’i, as with many other locations, it is rare that any research can be completed at one archive. However, with the sources available at this library, one can easily begin or continue their genealogical research and make good progress.
The HSL is also in close proximity to many other repositories, including the Hawai’i State Archives, Hawaiian Mission Children’s Society, Hawaiian Historical Society Archives, Bureau of Conveyances, and the Legal Documents room for the First Circuit Court in Ka’ahumanu Hale. I often visit the HSL as a researcher, and am always grateful for the accessibility of the records and equipment, the variety of the records, and the kind and helpful staff.
Do you have Hawaiian ancestry? Let Legacy Tree Genealogists help you discover more about your heritage and extend your family lines. Contact us today for a free consultation.