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Hawaiʻi - Genealogy Research



Databases | Indexes | Clippings File


Newspapers are a huge body of published materials that can help you find interesting stories about your kupuna. Newspapers provide critical and interesting genealogy information about the life of the ancestor you are researching such as birth, marriage, and death notices, obituaries, and news reports. In Hawai'i, newspapers were first published in 1834 and continue to be published today. There are 3 key databases to find newspaper articles. 

  • Papakilo's Newspapers Search (Search Online)
    Hawaiian-language newspapers published from 1834-1948. Many Hawaiian family members that you cannot find in the English-language newspapers may be found in here.
  • Chronicling America Hawai'i Newspapers (Search Online in the current interface) (New "beta" interface)
    English-language newspapers published from 1836-1922. Many of these are from the establishment press, which means that many Hawaiians were not reported in these papers or they were reported differently than the Hawaiian-language papers.
  • Honolulu Star-Advertiser Collection (Search Online)
    Must pay for a subscription to access articles. English-language newspapers of all the former newspapers that eventually merged to become the Honolulu Star Advertiser. Coverage is from 1836 to now. The coverage overlaps slightly with some newspapers in Chronicling America up to 1922. This is an excellent website to find obituaries and other news articles about your family members from 1923 to now. It saves you from having to check the indexes and having to then access the newspaper articles on microfilm.
  • FamilySearch obituaries databases (Search Online)
    Obituaries are a key source for genealogy research because they have information about the person who passed and will oftentimes include the names of living and previously passed family members. FamilySearch has a number of databases of obituaries. These can be a little tricky to use because they don't actually give the obituary. All these databases do is tell you when the obituary was published and sometimes it will say in what newspaper. If there are living and/or previously passed family members mentioned in an obituary, those names also appear in these databases as individual records. 


Indexes help point you to the information you are looking for. For genealogy research, indexes will point you to obituaries and in some instances articles about your family if any of them made the news. Not all the papers are indexed and the coverage of newspapers indexed varies by island and is very limited.

Clippings File

Many libraries have print and microfiche clippings files of newspaper articles about various individuals. These files are usually in filing cabinets and are called biographical research files, vertical files, or a clippings file. Check with your local public library to see if they have any. Below are three key clippings files. The first two are available online and the last one is available on microfiche at UHM Hamilton Library.

  • Honolulu Star Advertiser's Clippings (Search Online)
    Paid subscribers can create clippings of articles. Oftentimes these clippings are of family and family history such as obituaries. All these clippings are freely available and searchable online using the link above unless the paid subscriber hides them. You may also come across these clippings if you do search engine search of your family.
  • Nupepa-Hawaii blog Nūpepa Clippings (Search Online)
    Great place to find obituaries, vital notices, and other interesting articles in the Hawaiian language newspapers about family. Much like a clippings file, articles have been "clipped" digitally and a "works in progress" translation is provided.
  • Hawaii Newspaper Agency Morgue (Search Microfiche Index)
    Popularly called "the morgue," this is a clippings file, organized in two sets - Names and Subjects of newspaper clippings from the Honolulu Advertiser and Honolulu-Star Bulletin Dates, 1920s through mid-1980s, that are housed in Hamilton Library's microfilm room on microfiche. This is great place to look for interesting newspaper articles about your ancestors. You can search the index of names/subjects online using the link above to see if there are any clippings but you will need to physically go to Hamilton Library's microfilm room to access the collection.