6 Ways to Research Your Family History in Hawai‘i

If your keiki enjoy interviewing their grandparents, they may want to learn more about their family history. Here are some useful resources.


The Nānākuli Public Library was built with an audio booth for families to record stories.



This list of resources was part of our feature, “Remember When: How to Record Your Family’s History in Hawai‘i,” which includes tips for how to spark conversations about family history with grandparents and grandkids, how to record the stories and more.



University of Hawai‘i’s Center for Oral History has been collecting accounts of local residents since 1976. Search the project index to see if a family member or friend left an oral recording. The center also has projects on the life histories of Native Hawaiians, African-Americans and Okinawans in Hawai‘i.

(808) 956-6259, oralhistory.hawaii.edu


People of Japanese descent may find their family histories in documents, letters and photographs at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i. Make an appointment and a volunteer will help you find and translate ancestral lineage documents. If you’re cleaning out grandma’s house and don’t know what to do with all of her old photographs, the center takes donations of photos that depict daily life in Old Hawai‘i.

(808) 845-7633, jcch.com


Search the National Archives for U.S. Census Bureau, military, immigration, naturalization, land records and other files.



StoryCorps has recorded more than 60,000 oral histories from more than 100,000 people nationwide. Hear recordings, get tips and ask about participating in the website.



DNA tests can be costly and controversial but may offer insight. Popular services are AncestryDNA, 23andMe and National Geographic’s Geno 2.0.


Family tree websites abound online. Research a site specific to your family’s ethnicity or use a major one, such as MyHeritage.com and make use of its 14-day trial period.