Veiled Eyes

26 May

one of the surnames in my family tree is KAUHIMAKA. My 2xGreat-Grandfather Joseph Kauhimaka was born in Hana, Maui. The story is he was born out of wedlock. His mother, Anahua, had children from many other couplings as well sometimes married – sometimes not.

We’ve always been told KAUHIMAKA means “veiled eyes” and the explanation was it meant ashamed because of the circumstance of his illegitimate birth.. However, yesterday I had an ‘aha’ moment when i learned of something called a ‘veiled birth’ where the child is born partially or completely enclosed in an unbroken or barely broken amniotic sac also called the ‘caul’ …

Fewer than 1 in 80,000 births occur this way. Sometimes the child will have a veil of the membrane over their head and eyes… hmmm. Perhaps the name was given more literally…


Hits & Misses in the 1940 Census

17 May

I’ve had a few successes and a few disappointments in searching the 1940 Census as I search for MY PEOPLE.

I have mixed feelings about the ED 2-129 where i found in the last few images of the district the Kalihi Street Orphanage hoping to catch up with Hazel, Joseph and Walter Fernandes who were there in 1930. I guess maybe I’m happy they are no longer in the orphanage – but then where are they?

The Countdown is Over – Ancestry and Others have the 1940 Census

1 Apr released the following alert:

After a 72-year wait, the 1940 U.S. Census

is now available to the public.

At 12:01 a.m. ET picked up the 1940 U.S. Federal Census from the National Archives in Washington, D.C. Now we’re working behind the scenes to get those images – all 3.8 million of them – to you as quickly as possible.

Stay tuned and watch your email. We’ll let you know as soon as the first images are available later today.

And visit to learn more the 1940 census and finding your family in 1940.

******** has a dedicated site seeking volunteers to help with the indexing project of the 1940 Census to make the images available to the public for FREE:

******** has published a must-see infographic that shows you how to find your family in the 1940 census April 2! You don’t want to miss this.

Check it out at share with everyone you know looking forward to the 1940 census release!
1940 census

Feeling Lucky

24 Mar

Last week’s St. Patrick’s Day holiday was ever sweeter as I could proudly wear a “Kiss Me I’m Irish” shamrock — knowing it was true…This was the first day of wearin’ the green that I knew for certain I’m a wee bit Irish. Recent research revealed at least two “gateway” ancestors who emigrated from Ireland.  Both are through my Whitfield/Brown line.  Both were probably from Northern Ireland’s Ulster – which probably makes them “Scotch-Irish.”

The first was Mollie Browne circa 1712 – 1824. Mollie Browne emigrated to Bedford, Virginia with her Irish husband John Browne. He died soon after their arrival leaving behind an orphan son Richard Browne. Mollie remarried soon after John’s death to Joseph Underwood in 1730  who later settled the family in Rutherford, North Carolina. I am descended from Mollie’s daughter Elizabeth Underwood. Mollie is my 7x-Great-Grandmother.

My second Irish ancestor that I’ve found is Samuel King, Sr.  He married Elizabeth Underwood Davenport – Mollie Browne’s daughter. Her marriage to Samuel was Elizabeth’s second marriage.  Samuel was born in 1746 and arrived to America from Ireland with his brother Joseph and sister Elizabeth.

In 1770 Samuel purchased 200 acres along the North Carolina/South Carolina border which had a high hill that became known as King’s Mountain. Later on October 7, 1780, the “Battle of King’s Mountain” occurred between Major Ferguson’s troops and around 1,000 southern mountaineers making this family namesake a pivotal location in the war. Samuel King enlisted December 9, 1776, as a Private in Co. K, 11th Virginia Regiment of the Continental Army commanded by Col. Daniel Morgan. He was captured at Germantown and listed as a prisoner on a muster roll call October 14, 1777. He apparently escaped and appeared on the Philadelphia Co., Pennsylvania muster roll on February 17, 1778, in Camp Valley Forge under General George Washington. Samuel is my 6x-Great-Grandfather.

I’ve spent more time learning about each of these ancestors and their families and taking in my Irish heritage and culture.  I’ve always been a fan of Irish fare, drink and a good shanty being lucky to have some great Irish pubs here in Honolulu like Murphy’s (my fave), O’Toole’s and the Irish Rose… so I tried my hand at making my first Irish Guinness Stew and adapted several recipes I found online.  The end product was a savory slow-cooked stew that packed lots of flavor with some interesting ingredients I didn’t expect like chocolate, brown sugar, and honey to counter the bitter potential of the single bottle of Guinness Extra Stout.  The remaining bottles of Guinness were paired with a Single Shot Pale Ale to make “Black and Tans”.

To learn a little Irish language  and song — I listened to a crash course of Michael O’Laughlin’s Hello Fada and also the Irish Song and Recitation podcasts. Here’s a favorite I discovered – “Oro Se” a 17th century standard and often a beginner’s first song to learn.

Research Ramblings – brick by brick and brick walls

28 Feb

Been busy with field research continuing at MaeMae Cemetery in Puunui. Nearly finished with photographing all the headstones and still have to transcribe to my spreadsheet. Then to compare to the items found in digital archives of other known burials to the site. Still need to map the stones and reach out to Kaumakapili Church to see what records and information they might have as well as sharing my research with them.

I’m also spending much time in Facebook Groups – like Helu Papa Kūʻauhau and also the Native Hawaiian Genealogy Society (NHGSoc) page. Another useful resource has been the group Portuguese Hawaiian Genealogy. The camaraderie of the groups is infectious and there are many ‘ohana connections.

Spent some time learning more of my North Carolina roots – and learned that some of my ancestors and family were brick makers and instrumental in building and supplying the brick for buildings like the Mills River Chapel Methodist church. The Chapel is one of a few antebellum churches in Henderson County and the only one used for worship since its construction. The King family farm passed this craft down through generations. Building more family history – brick by brick.

Looking forward to the Akana ‘Ohana reunion coming up in mid-July and will be returning to Hilo where my Great-Great-Grandparents Wong Sing Akana and Kaili Kaapuiki made their home. My Great-Grandmother Ami Akana Lee was the eldest child. It will be exciting to meet many distant cousins in person for the first time after months of corresponding online.

Finally a brick wall has been busted — and I’ll post a more detailed article about this find. In September, I discovered that Virginia K. Ayres – my husband’s great-grandmother – had a blood connection to the name KAMA. It turns out her birth father was known as Kama. Well I ran the search again on Chronicling America and a new article came up this time “Missing Girl has been found” … with his first name and the brother’s first name. Very exciting and now some concrete material to continue the search to find her blood kin and perhaps more of her story.

Ma’eMa’e Sunday School Headstone Mapping & Transcriptions

22 Dec

Yesterday on a wet and rainy Puunui morning my helper and I visited my Grandparent’s grave at the former site of the Ma’eMa’e Sunday School. I have many fond memories of attending family functions, holiday potlucks, and Sunday School there. I miss the warmth of the pews; the Na Himeni bound in red dotting each row. I miss ringing the bell – its cheerful tone marking the start of another Sunday afternoon service. I miss the scent of the plumerias that used to shade my grandparent’s graves….removed I guess to make the landscaping and upkeep of the grounds fuss-free.

A surreal feeling envelopes you as you wander this tiny cemetary.  We took a brief shelter from the Nu’uanu rains under the last remaining large tree on the top side of the chapel.  Many of the Mahoe family are buried in this area of the grounds.  Kaumakapili Church Deacon Charles Mahoe started this sister chapel with his wife Haleaka. I understand the Ma’eMa’e bell is now at Kaumakapili and continues to be rung every Sunday.

Stairway to Nowhere

Stairways to Nowhere

The stark foundation and concrete steps leading to nowhere where the little green chapel in which my parents were married once stood till extreme winds blew down the 137 year old chapel in May 2000.  Orange “safety” netting now surrounds the stone foundation. Garish and out of place in this peaceful setting.

a fragment of the paint color still evident on this crawl space gate built into the stone foundation

Not only are my grandparent’s there, but also my great-grandparents Lino Fernandez, II and Phillipa Fernandez, great-great-grandparents Joseph & Sarah Kauhimaka, and great-great-great-grandmother Momona Kanohokai. Countless other aunts, uncles and close family ties surround.

In my last few visits there I’ve been working at photographing the headstones in the churchyard. With umbrella shielding the steady rain we added another 30 headstones to our growing collection of documentation yesterday morning. Many of the headstones are quite ornate with carvings and designs. Some with photos of the beloved, so haunting.  Ever more haunting the headstones of infants. lists 47 internments as of this writing — some of the transcription data is incorrect and doesn’t match headstone information however.  Many more of the memorials are not yet recorded there. I hope to get the information corrected and add the photos and memorials not yet on the grave search results.  I believe there are possibly many more internments for which no headstone remains…I’ve found some reports in turn of the century newspapers of folks being buried there and want to compare those names against the inventory and transcription of headstones I’m building…

My Grandparents Lino Fernandez, III and Marilyn Hann Jin (LEE) Fernandez

Today is my grandmother Marilyn Hann Jin (LEE) Fernandez’ birthday.  She would have been 91.  She died at an early age the day after her last child, my Uncle Lee, was born due to complications during delivery.  I’ve only ever known her from  photographs, other’s stories and memories, and my own quiet visits to her graveside through the years. She grew up nearby on Rooke Avenue and her mother and my grandfather’s mother were good friends at the Sunday School. It’s where they met and fell in love.

Visit: Ma’ema’e Chapel Cemetery – 401 Wyllie Street

The ‘Ike Ku’oko’a Initiative – Hawaiian newspaper transcription project

29 Nov

Last week while attending the “Genealogy Help in Hawaii” seminar, it was shared that the Mission Houses Museum and the Hawaiian Mission Children’s Society is making a call to their 8,000 missionary descendants to come forward and take a page each in the ‘Ike Kū‘oko‘a — Liberating Knowledge Hawaiian newspaper transcription project.  The organization is making a world-wide public call for volunteers to assist with taking 60,000 digital scans of Hawaiian-language newspapers that were printed from 1834 to 1948 and transcribe them into searchable typescript. Of the 125,000 pages originally published, 75,000 have been found and made into digital images, and 15,000 of those images have been typescripted. Our goal is to make the whole collection word-searchable.

Sign up today at and encourage others to do the same.  The organization has an aggressive goal of completing the project by summer 2012 which will require 200,000 volunteer hours.  One of the other attendees at last week’s seminar has been involved with this project for some time and said that at the rate the project had been moving it would take 30 years to complete… this call for more volunteers is in direct response to moving this project forward in a timely fashion.

Over 125,000 pages of Hawaiian-language newspapers were printed in more than a hundred different papers from 1834 to 1948. They equal a million or more typescript pages of text – perhaps the largest native-language cache in the western world. They became an intentional repository of knowledge, opinion and historical progress as Hawaiʻi moved through kingdom, constitutional monarchy, republic and territory, yet only 2% of that repository has been integrated into our English-speaking world today. ‘Ike Kū’oko’a is a dynamic move to change that percentage and to open up this resource for general access today.

Registration was simple and I’m so excited – eagerly awaiting my “reserved page” to start.

Hau’oli La Hanau e Elia

21 Nov

Elia Kala Waiwaiole, Sr.

Birth: November 21, 1897
Kealia, Kauai, Hawaii, United States
Death: May 21, 1950 (52)
Kapaa, Kauai, Hawaii, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Kala Waiwaiole and Kalaniumi Waiwaiole
Husband of Violet Jennie Keawe Waiwaiole (Kauhane)
Father of Rena Kaiula Waiwaiole (Kauhane/Nahale)Joseph Kala Waiwaiole;Elia WaiwaioleViolet Keawe Waiwaiole;Jacob Keanu-o-Hawaii Waiwaiole and 13 others
Brother of KAPUOKALANI Waiwaiole;JOSEPH Waiwaiole and SAMUEL WAIWAIOLE
My Great-Grandfather Elia Kala Waiwaiole, Sr. would celebrate his 114th birthday if he were alive today.
Listed on the 1920 Census – Age 23 – HI, Kauai, Kapaa (Source – Series: T625 Roll: 2038 Page: 138)

Our Paniolo Pete

19 Nov

With great honor, we remember Papa Pete a 2011 inductee today into the Hawaii Cattlemen’s Council Paniolo Hall of Fame at ceremonies to be held at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel.

Peter Pa’akahi Kama, Sr. was born on Maui on New Year’s Eve, 1919. He married his sweetheart, Virginia Kaiponohea Moss on May 7, 1949, at Kawaiahao Church in Honolulu. They had four children, Deborah, Kathleen, Peter, Jr., and Gary.

His mother Carrie Lupaliilii Kenui was an entertainer and lived in Honolulu on/near Kalia Rd. with her Uncle Willy. Peter was fathered by an older man, a Korean merchant Kim Sun.  Carrie returned home to Waihe’e Valley in Maui to give birth.  Her father Kaauamonui Kenui  (he was born Kenui Kaauamonui but later took his first name as his surname) and mother Mary Poni Kapela Hookano were living in the valley at that time.

In January 1927, Peter was adopted by Carrie’s neighbors who were childless – Freddie Kaiminaauao Kama  married to Mary Kahawaiolaa – and took on the surname KAMA.  According to Peter’s first cousin Anna Kahana, his adoptive mother was also known as “Makaole”; she was a lei seller and grew gardenias in her yard in Kalihi Uka.

Pete was one of those lucky people whose profession was also his lifelong passion. He left high school early, eager to pursue his dreams of an exciting and rewarding life working with horses, livestock, and good men. His first job was as cattle tender on a barge sailing between the Big Island and Honolulu. He moved on to become a ranch hand at Dillingham and Mokule‘ia ranches and others. He began working with Kahua Ranch in 1953, where he happily spent the rest of his career.

He was a frequent competitor in rodeos through the years, and kept cows and horses in the pasture behind his Waimea North Shore home. As founding members, he and his best friend Alex Napier were pioneers of the 4H program in Hawai`i. Pete was also an extremely skilled leather craftsman who enjoyed whiling away spare hours creating beautiful belts and custom saddles.

Some of the leather handiwork of Peter Kama, Sr.

A gentle soul, Pete dearly loved his family and friends and he loved a good time, too. Working together at Kahua Ranch, Pete and Alex Napier and their families became inseparable. Bobby Napier even calls Pete his “second father.” Friends for life, Pete and Alex loved sharing a few drinks and pupu with the boys after a hard day’s work, and as a result were no doubt responsible for a few gray hairs on the heads of their beloved Kaipo and Clara.

The holidays were Pete’s favorite time of the year. His birthday and New Year’s Eve celebration were always very special events, eagerly anticipated by family, friends, and North Shore neighbors. He loved fireworks, and made sure that he had more than anyone else on the North Shore! In true Hawaiian style, during the holidays he was famous for organizing the whole family in making a huge batch of laulau so that everyone who stopped by to visit had some to take home with them. He loved helping his friends with their own parties, too, often bringing a round or quarter to “huli” for them.

A great family man with a giant heart, Pete led by example and with a quiet authority that brought respect from all who knew him. None of his children can recall him ever raising his voice. He didn’t need to. Peter Kama, Sr. passed away on April 24, 1985.

The Whitfield’s

16 Nov

My great-grandparents Paul & Elizabeth Whitfield resided in Raleigh, North Carolina. Great-grandpa Paul is my brickwall ancestor – with a mystery surrounding his “surname.” One tale is that he took the name from another passenger aboard the ship upon which he immigrated from Marseilles, France.

The Whitfields

Great-grandparents Paul Alexandria Whitfield & Elizabeth (born Lola Elizabeth Brown)



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