The Great Genea-Bloggers’ Just Make Up Some Lyrics Challenge!

•June 15, 2009 • 3 Comments

Bill at West in New England issued a genea-bloggers challenge!

The rules are:

1. Set the names of your ancestors to the music of any song. It can be any number of names, any song. Just remember to mention what song
you are using so we can all sing along as we read!

2. Publish your efforts on your blog and send the link to Bill. If you don’t have a blog, you can post your song as a comment to his post.

3. Deadline is June 30th. The final list will be posted on the 4th of July.

I was trying to come up with a song a lot of people all over the world would be able to sing along to. That left out pop hits in the USA, or anything relatively recent. Footnote Maven did a great rendition of Runaround Sue. I contemplated 50′s and 60′s music, but then something hit me. Everyone knows Disney songs (I am VERY anti-Disney, just so you know).

Here is my recreation, appropriately called Keep Searching For Me, sung to the tune of Under the Sea from The Little Mermaid. Written from the perspective of one of my deceased ancestors (lovely, no?). :)

The Little Mermaid: Under the Sea for those who are unfamiliar.

Keep Searching For Me

The pedigree’s always fuller
On somebody else’s tree
You’re researching your whole family
But you have to get through me
Start searching the census records
And the SSN index
You’ll hit the wall at some point
But just don’t get too vexed!

You’re searching for me
Keep searching for me
Don’t start to get bitter
Make friends on Twitter
Post on Ancestry
Blog on your progress everyday
You can find the Ka’aihue’s
You’ll have to pay fees but
Some sites are free so
Keep searching for me!

Your mom said your blood is royal
Related to the Queen
You don’t know if that is certain
Do you even share the gene?
But you have to be determined
Search the whole island chain
Track down your maternal cousins
Some of them have found fame!

Searching for me…
Keep searching for me
Search exact matches
My date of birth
Was 1903
I’ll help you though
I’m not alive,
I died in 1965
Don’t pop those pills now,
Your grandpa was Wills now
Keep searching for me!

That was fun, and a welcome distraction to my searches that have come up dry. Looking forward to the next challenge!

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The meaning of Hanai

•June 14, 2009 • 16 Comments

Hanai (v.) – to adopt, to be close; to nourish, to sustain.

There isn’t a singular definition for the word hanai.  I’d heard this word infrequently growing up, usually when my mom told me stories of one of her brothers who was hanai’d out of the family; I came to know that he was adopted and that’s how I defined hanai in my head as a child growing up.

While doing research one night, my mom asked me to find one of her aunts who was adopted by her grandmother.  I began asking her questions as I couldn’t track down any adoption records. This is how I first learned that  hanai does mean adopted….in perhaps the loosest sense of the definition.

I wanted to learn more, and ended up on this site and this site that explains the practice of hanai…more of a meaning rather than a definition.

It was common practice for the Hawaiian people in the olden days to give their first born child to their parents to raise (depending on the gender of the child). It was the highest form of love and respect that one could bestow upon their parents.  As time went on the practice extended to the community; families raising children who no longer had parents, etc.  Even the beautiful last queen of Hawai’i was a hanai child.  Apparently this was still being practiced into the 1950′s since my uncle was hanai’d to a childless family.

Even though I grew up in Los Angeles – far removed from “island life”, I can still attest to the fact that Hawaiian families are some of the most loving and warm families I’ve ever encountered. It is not uncommon to be welcomed into a strangers home, be it for an hour or maybe even for a day. I can only imagine how welcomed and loved a hanai’d child would feel in such an environment.  Now, that’s not to say that the times haven’t changed, I’m absolutely certain they have changed with each generation. But with regard to the culture as a whole, Hawaiians are still very “aloha“.

I’m sure in the simplest form we can say that hanai is basically a paperless, not legally binding adoption. But it’s so much more than that. It’s a tradition, it’s part of our history, and perhaps the greatest example of how highly the Hawaiian people regard their families and children.

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Roadblocks

•June 14, 2009 • 7 Comments

Ka’aihue (aka Kahoaloha?)

I woke up today, excited with the knowledge that I’d be able to devote an entire day to research.  I’ve been unable to get past my great grandfather as I haven’t found any records of him online in my recent searches. I was told that his last name was initially Kahoaloha, but have been unable to find anything on that surname as well.  I’ve asked some family members about this but haven’t heard anything back. I’ve resolved to researching the possibility (um…make that probability) of him having siblings and trying to connect the dots that way. I felt a little burned out with the search, so I decided to give it a rest for today.

Wills

I began where I had left off last night, looking for any information on my great grandfather, Thomas Wills. The only things I know about him are his wife’s name, his daughter’s name (my grandmother) and his father’s name.  I looked for census records, death certificates, emigration records, you name it. Nothing. I decided I needed a break and would try to look into other family lines.

Ka’aiohelo

I’ve had some moderate success with researching this surname, which was my grandmother’s maiden name. Fortunately for me, they were Latter-day Saints, so I was able to obtain the names of three generations of ancestors on my mothers maternal line from the Church of LDS.  While researching this particular surname, I discovered that it was not uncommon for many Hawaiians (prior to the 1900′s) to go by only one name. After hours of searching, I hit another wall and decided to move on the next line that I’d neglected for the last couple days.

Keau

My great grandmothers maiden name (Daisy Keau). I got stuck a few days back, but my mom had sent me some scanned documents of records she had tucked away in her closet.  My aunt had tried to make a pedigree chart years ago and some of the information on the chart were names that I didn’t have on mine. Other scans also included some birth and death records, and a couple marriage certificates.  I’ll discuss the documents in a later post. Back to my great grandmother,my aunt who worked on the pedigree chart listed Albert Kapahi as her father.  Through census records, I found that her fathers name was Keala Keau. I verified my findings by confirming that her children were my grandfathers siblings. So, I’m wondering where this name Albert Kapahi came from, and how my aunt knew this information. It is entirely possible that she “just knows”. As I said in my previous post, I didn’t grow up on the islands, and was not exposed to the knowledge one gains from just being and living there. I made a mental note to talk to mom about this in the morning.

After a day of not gaining any progress, I think it’s time to get some rest. I dreamt of a pedigree chart the other night, and everytime I tried to write a name on it, it would rain and the chart would get wet. I think I need to take tomorrow as a mini-break from research and maybe only devote a couple hours to it.  I really wanted to get as much info as possible before my mom comes on Friday, but I think she’ll agree with me needing some rest. Besides, I know she’s already happy with everything I’ve found so far.

Looking forward to some rest tomorrow, but I’m sure I’ll still have something to post about!

Aloha ahiahi ia oukou!

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The Genealogy Project Begins

•June 12, 2009 • 2 Comments

The name of this blog isn’t completely accurate. I’m actually researching my family history, which includes (largely) the Ka’aihue family in Hawai’i.  My mother has the Ka’aihue name, as handed down from her paternal side of the family. I know I have a huge family – roughly 35 cousins (from her siblings alone), however I grew up in California, away from the islands, the culture and my extended family.  Once I realized how big of a project this was going to be, I decided to start this blog as a way to chronicle my findings and possibly discover/meet members of my family I never knew existed.  I will be doing the research whenever I have free time away from work and my little one at home. It’s only been three days and I’m already deeply intrigued with my new undertaking.

Genesis:

A few days ago I had the ingenious idea of pulling together some family history for my mother, since her birthday is in a couple weeks. She’s actually coming to town to visit next week, and I figured I could Google some information, throw together a family tree and give it to her while she’s here.  Boy was I way off base. I started off with some basic information. My mom has 11 siblings that lived past infancy. I knew my grandfathers name on both sides of her family, as well as her maternal grandmother’s last name.  I know some of her cousins, and also know we have several family members who are, shall we say local and semi-national “celebrities”, for lack of a better term. I also heard the rumor that we had royal blood, but I didn’t know which royal family. And thus, the search began.

Evolution:

As I began digging and Googling and searching through genealogy sites, I started to oddly feel connected to these people whose names I viewed on census lists from the 1900′s.  Some I had heard stories about, some I’m sure had stories that were lost over time, and lived lives wrought with poverty and dispair.  I started learning things about my heritage, my culture; things I hadn’t thought to question before.  In researching our connection to the royal lines of Hawai’i I came across the story of Queen Lili’uokalani. A story I’ve read before but never touched me as it did now that I’ve come to feel connected to all of these entities from the past. As I started to unearth more names, census lists and death certificates, I started to develop a strange fascination and urge to uncover as much as possible about our family as a whole and where we came from. I wanted to find out as much about our ancestors as possible.  What were their occupations? How many times were they married? Can I get a Google map of where they lived? If you have ever tried to research your ancestry, I’m sure you’ve found that once you hit the wall, you tried digging around any other names that were connected to your family tree. That’s how a little family tree turned into a long term project.

Monstrosity:

When you think back to the rural Hawaiian islands in the 1800′s and early 1900′s, what do you think life was like? I had never posed this question to myself until recently, when I started to notice that every time I went up one person (generation) in our history, that person had about at least 3 siblings, more often than not, that number was between 8 and 12. No, I’m not kidding. You were reading above when I mentioned my mother has 11 siblings, weren’t you? And yes, those are only the ones who lived into adulthood.   My grandmother Helen Leilani Wills had 3 siblings. Okay. Nothing so unusual. My grandfather, David Kala Ka’aihue had 6 siblings. One of those siblings had 9 children. Just one of them! I haven’t even started to wrap my brain around the rest of them and their families.   That is a small but relevant example of the Hawaiian people having nothing better to do than reproduce. Hah, I’m sooo kidding. But really, what was there to do back then? Dad would work, mom would stay at home and take care of the kids, have more kids, and then take care of grandkids.  I bet the population of Hawai’i would have dramatically decreased had there been Satellite TV or The Internet.  Who would want to make a 10th kid when you could be watching Andrew Zimmern eat semi-boiled goats testicles? On a serious note, I started to research some of the families that married into our family, hoping to find more records or information. As I started adding people to our family tree, I finally started grasping the enormity of this project. There was no way I’d be able to get this done for my mom in one week. I don’t think I could get this done in one year. Sorry, mom!

I decided to follow through and try to get as much done as possible. I posted on Facebook about it and got my cousin Lee to help as well. We’ll see how many others in the family are willing to help.  I’m sure there will be those who are going to read this and think to themselves snidely “What is she doing that for?”. To those people I say: Welcome to my blog, please enjoy this nice tall glass of STFU juice.

I plan on posting my findings and updates on my progress, but also will post interesting historical facts or things I’ve learned about the Polynesian culture as a whole. I hope to bring awareness of the Polynesian people to the masses, and am excited to have you here, learning along with me. As you may have already discerned, this blog will also contain a mix of humor and sarcasm. If you are easily offended, don’t let the virtual door hit you on the way out. If you think we may be related please contact me at kaaihueproject@gmail.com or comment below. To those who join me on this journey, E komo mai, and I hope you enjoy the ride!

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