Births & Marriages - In 1842, births and marriages were required by law to be recorded, but many early records did not survive. In 1896, the Department of Health (DOH) became responsible for registering births and marriages. Prior to 1896, marriage records were kept by other government agencies and are now at the Hawaiʻi State Archives (HSA) or the DOH. Some marriage records by missionaries are at the HSA, while some are still at the ceremony churches. In the early territorial years, marriage licenses were granted, those are found at the HSA. Between 1911-1972, a person born in Hawaiʻi but whose births was not registered could apply for a Delayed (Hawaiian) Birth Certificate. Originals of birth and marriage records/licenses are at the DOH and the HSA. The applications of Delayed Birth Certificates can be found at Family History Centers. To find these records, look for your ancestor's name in the appropriate indexes and then go to the appropriate repository to retrieve the records.
Deaths - In 1859, deaths were required by law to be registered, but few records exist. In 1896, the DOH became responsible for recording and managing death records. To obtain these records, you need to submit a request with the DOH that has the death year. If you do not know the death year, consult cemetery indexes and/or look for obituaries, which appear as early as 1836, in the newspaper full-text databases and indexes. You may also find death records in the probate and wills, which are indexed and located at the HSA.
FamilySearch has microfilmed many internal indexes of vital records from the Hawaiʻi Department of Health. Many of these indexes are now partially available online. They are all grouped in the collections listed below. The specific indexes within each collection are listed for reference. Note that some are locked and are not searchable. If you find an index entry for a vital record, you will need to submit a request with the Department of Health to purchase the record.
Hawaiʻi State Archives
The main genealogy-related collection at the Hawaiʻi State Archives for vital records is the Vital Statistics Collection, which contains reports of vital statistics and other records. Although vital statistics were required by law, the statistics were under reported, making this collection—especially the early years— incomplete. Much of the collection is searchable online but you may need to consult the Hawaiʻi State Archives card catalog of indexed birth and death records too.
Hawaiʻi State Library Main Branch
In the Hawaiʻi State Library's Main Branch Hawaiʻi and Pacific Collection, there are a number of indexes in print and on microfilm of records held at the Hawaiʻi State Archives and the Department of Health. All those microfilms are searchable in FamilySearch (see above for details).
UHM Hamilton Library
The only items the Hawaiian Collection has are copies of indexes from the Hawaiʻi State Archives and the Department of Health. The first two items are searchable in FamilySearch. For the last item, only the years 1904-1909 is searchable in FamilySearch.
2550 McCarthy Mall
Honolulu, Hawaii 96822 USA
© University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Library