Diffferent Views

A view of Mauna Kahālāwai from Waiheʻe Valley overlooking Kahului, Maui

Climbing a mountain, one hopes to experience a breath-taking panorama view of the surrounding landscape below. Upon their descent, they share that breath-taking panorama view with others. Another decides to climb that same mountain hoping for the same but comes back sharing a much different view. One would think that each person that climbs that same mountain hoping for that same breath-taking panorama view would have the same viewpoint, the same outlook, and the same story. But that is not so as explained by kupuna Kailiʻohe; “History, as anything else, is seen and understood by where a person stands on the mountain. All people climb the same mountain. The mountain, however, has many pathways – each with a different view ….(Kaili’ohe’s stories of the ancient people, an oral history of Hawaii before the Aliis invaded. Tales From the Night Rainbow by Lee and Willis.)

The photo above is of Mauna Kahālāwai also known as the West Maui Mountains. This photo shows a view from Waiheʻe Valley, Maui where my maternal ancestors are from. Another view of Mauna Kahālāwai is seen in the photo below from the view of Iʻao Valley in Wailuku. Both views are breathtaking however depending on where you are standing on the mountain and the path taken – each will share a different view. Interestingly, each view comes with its own history, story, and legacy.

A view of Mauna Kahālāwai from within I‘ao Valley State Park on Maui, Hawai‘i

Genealogy is the study of families, family history, and the tracing of their lineages. It is like the view from the top of the mountain. There are different views. Some may say that genealogy and family history is one of the same, and others claim that genealogy includes family history. However, Tamura Jones the author of “What is Genealogy?” disagrees and explains; “Genealogy does not include family history. It is the other way around: a good family history includes a genealogy. ”Genealogy is about basic facts that have been documented officially and legally. Family History includes the collection of all record types that tells the story of an individual and an individualʻs family moving back in time. (Tamura Jones, What is Genealogy? tamurajones.net, 2010.)

Why does this matter? Most persons dive into their genealogy gathering family records, photos, whatever they can find to begin tracing and searching for their ancestors. I too, just dove in. Over the years I learned what mattered, what counted, and most importantly genealogy is about facts and that family history is about familial relationships. Knowing the difference, one can put into perspective one’s family tree with what matters and what counts. Being able to do that provides an accurate account of a familyʻs story through time regardless of the different views.

Make A Difference: A Journey of Genealogy Research – Updated

WHAT is your legacy? What are you doing right now to make a difference that will enrich the lives of your loved ones? What choices and actions will you make today that will resonate the spirit of hope through the ages of time when you are gone?

MY grand-uncle’s legacy made a difference for me because I could trace our Kekahuna line back eight generations. My aunt’s legacy was her choices and actions that gave me the spirit of hope to go beyond the five generations of our Kaiwi line, I was able to add on two more generations, then three more, then four more and so on. I could not have accomplished such a considerable and immense undertaking if they had not done their genealogy or mo`okū`auhau. They left a legacy of the past, the present, and the spirit of hope to the future generation…me.

DOES genealogy matter to you? It mattered to my grand-uncle and aunt, and it matters to me. You may be asking yourself, “So, where do I start?” Well, always start and begin with YOU!

HOWEVER, let’s get organized first. The best approach is to organize yourself according to your own personal preferences of notetaking and gathering of your family information. Here are some suggested items:

  • Binder, notebook, and your favorite pen/pencil.
  • Container (Box) to collect and store your family records, photos, written stories, etc.
  • Pedigree Chart – Family Tree.
  • Family Group Sheet.

The two last items can be obtained online or at the nearest LDS Family History Center for free. Contact information is provided with this article.

NOW, let’s get back to YOU! Write in a notebook your full name given at birth. Include your birthdate and where you were born. Add a nickname or other names that you may be called by or known as. Are there stories about you when you were born? If so, write them in your notebook. Your children and grandchildren (nā keiki a me nā mo`opuna) will ever be grateful that you did. Do you have a birth certificate to support your information? Obtaining a certified copy will prove to be beneficial.

NEXT, who are your parents? Write their full names down with birthdates and birth places. Also, include their marriage date and where they were married. Record their other names that they are called by or known as. Are there stories to tell? Get them down on paper. Do you have their birth certificates and/or marriage certificates to support your information? Do not know their full name, birth and marriage dates and places? This would be a good time to interview them if they are still living. Ask them for a copy of their birth and marriage certificates. What if they are not living? Visit their graves to get the above information and take a picture of their headstones to support your information; however, it would be wise to obtain certified birth, marriage, and death certificates as well.

NOW, how about your siblings? Record their information as above and don’t forget to include nicknames. Write whatever information you feel is worth remembering, especially those special times shared and experienced together. Family stories will be a treasured memory for your keiki and mo`opuna – your future generation. And remember, if you don’t have the information you need, this would be the opportune time to interview them and maybe even recruit them to start their own legacy.

HOW about your paternal and maternal grandparents? Write down their information if you have it and anything else you might know. What records do you have to support your information? Are they still living? Seize the moment and interview them or have them write the information. There’s no better gift to your future generations than capturing a grandparent’s handwritten document.

PRIMARILY you start with you, then your parents, siblings, and grandparents, then work back in time to your ancestors. A word of caution – stick to the plan. Sure, you can start with a kupuna, grandparent, or kupuna kuakahi, great-grandparent, but the question would be how do you connect to them? How will your descendants connect to you, their grandparents, and their ancestors? Stick to the plan – start and continue with YOU!

TAKE all your collected and written information and start to fill out your Pedigree Chart – Family Tree. The first line is where you will enter your name with your birthdate and birthplace. The top line above your name is your father and the bottom line below you is your mother. Their parents then follow in a similar fashion. When recording women’s names, use their maiden names only. If you don’t know their maiden name, just use what you have. Under your name, there should be a line or space to include your spouse if you are married. Complete as much as you know, and any blanks is a good indication that there is more research to do.

BEGIN filling out your Family Group Sheet. Where it has husband/wife (or possibly mother/father), it is referring to your parents. Complete as much as you can. There is a section for your grandparents too. The children are included, which are you and your siblings beginning with the oldest to the youngest. There may be a section for your sibling’s spouses with marriage dates, as well as death dates. Also, there is a section to list your sources where you obtained your information, such as any vital records, including birth, marriage, and death certificates, written stories, newspaper articles, baptismal records, and even information from your family bible. It is important to record all sources that support you and how you obtained your information. Your entire `ohana, family, will be indebted to you!

AGAIN, the blanks in your Family Group Sheets, Pedigree Charts, and Family Tree will indicate where further research is needed. Keep all your information, record collections, written stories, photos, etc. in a binder and use sheet protectors if possible (it makes it a lot easier and helps to protect all your hard work and keep you organized).

TO record your mo`okū`auhau legacy electronically, there are genealogy software programs available, such as Rootsmagic 8, Legacy, or Reunion to name a few. FamilySearch.org and Ancestry.com are online databases to help in researching and recording your genealogy. FamilySearch.org is a free online database and requires an e-mail or phone number to register. Ancestry.com requires an annual or monthly membership fee and an e-mail address and they do have a free trial if you want to check it out. Both databases have records for research as well as genealogy tutorials. As a genealogist these are my top two go-to sources for research.

TODAY, make a difference! Leave a legacy of the past, the present, and the spirit of hope that will enrich the lives of your family today and for generations to come. Enjoy your journey!

Online Resources

  • Familysearch.org genealogy database and free genealogy records.
  • Ancestry.com records database and records for a membership fee.
  • State of Hawaii birth, marriage, and death certificates, visit http://health.hawaii.gov/vitalrecords/ or call (808) 984-8200 on Maui.
  • For free genealogy forms, call the LDS Kahului Family History Center at (808) 269-3849 or visit Cyndi’s List online for a free printable form at Cyndiʻs List https://www.cyndislist.com/free-stuff/printable-charts-and-forms/. Or Mid-Continent Public Library – MidWest Genealogy Center https://www.mymcpl.org/genealogy.
  • The Everything Guide To Online Genealogy by Kimberly Powell is a must resource and reference to start your own genealogy library and can be purchased on Amazon.com.
  • Genealogy software programs can be a great aid. To determine the best software for you, view the Reviews of the Top 10 Genealogy Software of 2022 https://genealogy-software.no1reviews.com/.
  • The Maui Historical Society Hale Hōʻikeʻike the Bailey House has genealogy records of Maui families. Call (808) 244-3326, to schedule an appointment.