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Tisha Aragaki, assistant archivist for research and outreach from the ʻUluʻulu Moving Image Archive of Hawaiʻi based at University of Hawaiʻi-West Oʻahu, introduced workshop attendees to thousands of hours of archival video footage going back to Hawaiʻi’s territorial days.

Uncovering Moʻokūʻauhau: Workshops Equip Haumāna & Community With Research Tools

Nov. 30, 2022

When Māhele Luna Librarian Geri Kimoto introduced her eighth-graders to genealogical research through online databases like Ulukau, she noticed some hāumana would hit a roadblock.

“For some of our students, it was hard for them to find a name for a kūpuna living at the turn of the century,” Kimoto said. “When we struggle to know the names of our kūpuna, that’s tragic for me.”

The Hawaiian Genealogy Index on Ulukau includes marriage records, court records and even passports from Hawaiʻi’s early history. It’s one of many resources that Kamehameha Schools Maui librarians Kimoto and Kumu Ketra Arcas introduced haumāna to during Hawaiian database workshops. They even held an evening workshop open to the public that drew in some 60 community members eager to learn how to research their own genealogies.

“Our goal is to get you access to as many documents as possible so you can learn about your ʻohana,” Kimoto told those in attendance.

She relayed how some haumāna during their own research sessions serendipitously discovered documents that bore each other’s names.

“With our eighth graders, one found a family marriage certificate that included the name another haumāna was looking for,” she said. “They were like, ‘Hey, maybe our kūpuna were friends, and now we’re friends.’ Who knows if that’s true, but at least our haumāna were excited to see what this research can uncover.”

The jam packed info session included Tisha Aragaki, assistant archivist for research and outreach from the ʻUluʻulu Moving Image Archive of Hawaiʻi based at University of Hawaiʻi-West Oʻahu. ʻUluʻulu houses thousands of hours of video footage going back to Hawaiʻi’s territorial days, including musical performances, news reels and interviews.

“People come to us all the time as they research their family history,” Aragaki said. Some discover that a kupuna was interviewed for a television program or that old family footage has been preserved. “Most people don’t realize this footage still exists.”

Kumu ʻĀlika Guerrero introduced attendees to the Papakilo database, which includes an archive of Hawaiian language newspapers. It also includes records from the Māhele along with Bishop Museum collections.

“When it comes to finding stories about our kūpuna, it really is one of the most powerful databases available to us,” he said.

Pasha Lani-Montira, a mother of two haumāna attending KS Maui, said the session was eye opening for her. She was eager to dig into ʻāina research through the Kipuka database, especially to understand the history of her ʻohana’s land. Her mother, also in attendance, is working on genealogy research.

“Moʻokūʻauhau is so important,” Lani-Montira said. “We need to know how to dig deeper into our genealogy so we know who we are and where we came from, and we can pass that knowledge on.”

KS Maui’s librarians will be hosting another community workshop soon, dates to be announced.

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