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Learn about your family history at free Genealogy Workshops

By Staff | Apr 25, 2019

LAHAINA – “I ulu no ka lala i ke kumu – The branches grow because of the trunk. For without them, we would not be here.”

Thus reads an inscription on the headstone of Solomon Nukuhiwa “Nuku Uliuli” Maielua in the Namaielua family plot at Waiola Church Cemetery (formerly Wainee Church).

Seeking one’s roots, learning one’s ancestry, is a journey of awesome proportions, a worthy gathering of family facts, a valuable connection.

The community has a unique opportunity to delve into their past at two separate Genealogy Workshops on Saturday (May 4) and Sunday (May 5) at the Kaunoa Senior Center in Lahaina.

Hosted by professional Genealogist Kahi McLellan and Family History Librarian Cheryldeen R.K. Isaacs-Kila, the six-and-a-half-hour seminar is free and open to “ALL ETHNICITIES,” the EventBrite announcement reads, from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day.

“We want EVERYONE to come, not just Hawaiians,” McLellan advised. “It will benefit everyone, because we will have a special log-in from FamilySearch turning the workshop into a satellite Family History Center. People will be able to search on their phones, iPads and laptops.”

All learning levels are invited – “beginners to advanced and in between,” she said.

McLellan is as skilled in the field of genealogy as she is passionate about assisting others with the discovery of their heritage.

“I have 21 years of experience researching genealogy in Hawaii. I have been my family’s genealogist for 16 years I am in the process of becoming an accredited professional for the Pacific Northwest Region,” including Hawaii, California, Oregon, Washington and Alaska.

“THIS IS EXCITING,” she exclaimed in an e-mail to the Lahaina News. “FamilySearch has digitized records WORLDWIDE. I recently helped a kupuna find the birth record of her 3 x great-grandfather in a church record from ITALY.”

She has family ties to the West Side. “My grandfather was born and raised in Lahaina; his name was Elias “Buddy” Kamohalii. His kupuna was from Honokowai, Kahoma Valley and Wainee.”

Genealogical research is in Isaacs-Kila’s blood.

“I grew up in a very strong religious family, and we were always surrounded by family genealogy workshops that were held at the Isaacs family home in Kalihi, where we learned the meanings of our names, and who our kupuna were, and how each of us children were related.”

“As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” the Temple and Family History Consultant continued, “seeking out our deceased ancestors’ names, birth, marriage and death dates, and connecting everyone directly related, is extremely important to us. We believe that families are forever; and, with today’s technology, we can find documents that confirm each person’s existence, and find that they may have been married more than once and find children that were never recorded with their families.”

Isaacs-Kila explained her role at the workshop: “The Church of Jesus of Latter-day Saints has been actively using special cameras since the 1960s, capturing images of documents and vital records throughout the world. The initial format used to view these images were microfiche and microfilm. Years of development and technology have brought us to the use of computers and software apps.

“One specific app that the church has developed and continues to develop is familysearch.org. Most of the microfilms and microfiche have been converted into digital images which can be accessed through the familysearch.org website. My role in the workshop is to show people how to navigate familysearch.org, and what is made available to them.”

On Saturday only, there will be a special guest presenter, Ashlie Duarte-Smith of the Hawaii Mission Houses Children’s Library, discussing the latest grant received by the nonprofit “for the digitization of their collection and benefits this opportunity will provide for the public.”

Additionally on May 4 only, original records will be on display that have not been in Lahaina for over 100 years.

Copies of records from the following repositories will be available to research: Hawaii State Archives-1886 Hawaiian Kingdom Census for Lahaina, 1878 Hawaiian Kingdom Census for Lahaina and Lahaina Tax Ledgers for 1887-1892, Hawaiian Mission Houses Children’s Library-1823 Lahaina Church Record Book and correspondence from Wainee Church.

To enroll in the Saturday workshop, go to www.eventbrite.com/e/lahaina-genealogy-workshop-tickets-60038571985. To attend the seminar on Sunday, go to www.eventbrite.com/e/lahaina-genealogy-workshop-tickets-60039284115.

Space is limited to 50 persons per day. Light refreshments and lunch will be provided.

Enrollees are encouraged to bring a laptop and any records or information to jump-start the search.

Further, the announcement invites that “if you would like to start on your pedigree chart before the workshop, please e-mail lahaina.genealogy@gmail.com.”

At the end of the day, Isaacs-Kila said, “Attendees will know that the past will light the way to the future. Seeing and learning that records of their ancestors were kept in safe places, preserved and are now accessible in this modern day may give faces to names, and they will discover that their people were actively engaged in matters of importance.”