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Hawaiʻi - Genealogy Research

Background Info

Immigration records to Hawaiʻi from 1842 to June 1900 are at the Hawaiʻi State Archives and are findable using their online digital collections listed below. Citizenship records prior 1900 are also at the Hawaiʻi State Archives and some are searchable through Ulukau's genealogy indexes. Hamilton Library has microfilm copies of a few of those records.  After 1900, immigration and citizenship records including those for Koreans, Okinawans, Russians, Spanish, Puerto Ricans, and later groups of Portuguese, Japanese, and Chinese are with the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service and are available through the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.

Hawaiʻi State Archives

The Passenger Manifests 1843-1900 collection indexes information from the original passenger lists that are part of the Collector General of Custom records. The ethnic groups indexed included: Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, and Miscellaneous Ethnic which lists only paying passengers and is divided into two parts, 1843-1879 and 1880-1900. Information on the card includes name of passenger, name of ship, date of arrival or departure, port of entry or departure. Some entries include age of passenger, occupation, nationality, and accompanying family members.

  • Passenger Manifest Indexes, 1843-1900
    • ​​​​​​Index to Chinese Passenger Manifests (Search Online)
    • Index to Portuguese Passenger Manifests (Search Online)
    • Index to Japanese Passenger Manifests (Search Online)
    • Records also on microfilm MFL 73
  • Naturalization Records, 1844-1894
    • Naturalization Record Book (Search Online)
    • Certificates of Nationality, 1846-1854 (Available in Print)
    • Letters of Denization (Available on Microfilm)

U.S. National Archives

From 1900 to today, immigration records are located at the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). These records include immigration records, naturalization records, visa records, alien files, enemy alien records and passport records. Many of these records are available on microfilm and online through Ancestry.com or FamilySearch.org. Detailed information about these records and how to find them is on the Immigrant Records webpage of NARA. Below are a few links of popular records they have made available online.

  • Immigration / Passenger List Records (Search Online)
    • List of microfilm reels that have been digitized and are available online. To find the ones pertaining to Hawaiʻi, type in Hawaii in the the search box right above the table. 
  • Passports (Search Online)
    • The passports available online here are the ones that NARA has, which spans from October 1795 to March 1925. Passports from April 1925 to the present are under the custody of the U.S. Department of State.

Hamilton Library

The items we have are copies of indexes from the Hawaiʻi State Archives and original records from those who came to Hawaiʻi as plantation laborers.

  • Index to passenger manifests, Hawaii, 1843-1900 (Catalog record for Microfilm)
    • Microfilm of Hawaiʻi State Archives card file indexing passengers arriving in Hawaiʻi, arranged by ethnic group.
  • Ships' manifests, 1843-1900 (Catalog record for Microfilm)
    • Microfilm of Hawaiʻi State Archives lists of passengers on ships arriving in Hawaiʻi.
  • Hawaiian Sugar Plantation Archives (Online Finding Aid)
    • There is no name list of plantation laborers, but the collection hold many employment records of Filipino laborers who immigrated into Hawaiʻi to work. It is difficult to locate specific names and you need to know which plantation they worked.