Skip to Main Content

Hawaiʻi - Genealogy Research


There are a number of oral histories available online either as transcripts and/or as video and audio recordings.

  • Center for Oral History's ScholarSpace Collection
    Based in the UHM's Ethnic Studies department, the Center for Oral History has done extensive oral history projects documenting communities, ethnic groups, government, historical events, individual lives, and occupations. The transcripts of these recordings are available and searchable online through ScholarSpace.
  • Watumull Foundation Oral History Project
    With interviews beginning in 1971 and transcripts made available in 1982, this collection features interviews with individuals who have contributed to Hawaiʻi's history and who represent different background and experiences.
  • Ulukau's Kumu Pono Associates Publications
    Use Ulukau to browse the selection of ethnographic studies published by Kumu Pono Associates which have oral histories in them. To find these publications, in the main search box, type in "Kumu Pono Associates". Outside of Ulukau, you can find additional publications by them on their website, as well as do the same search in OneSearch and filtering results to "Held by Library".
  • ʻUluʻulu
    Moving image archive of Hawaiʻi that has video raw footage from various documentaries, organizations, and individuals. Descriptions of footage are keyword searchable and a short preview clip is given. Must sign up as a researcher to stream full clips of footage.
  • Hula Preservation Society
    Collection of oral histories documenting and sharing the amazing life stories of kūpuna living Hula Masters and their efforts to perpetuate hula.
  • Kaniʻāina
    Newer digital repository that holds the Ka Leo Hawaiʻi radio program audio recordings from the Hui Aloha ʻĀina Tuahine of UH Mānoa broadcast in 1972-1986. This database aims to fully transcribe and index the recordings but not all of the recordings are transcribed or indexed. Looks like 59 out of 417 recordings have been completed so far. There is also a Kū I Ka Mānaleo section that features short excerpts on different topics. 
  • Ka Leo Hawaiʻi Radio Recordings @ UHM CLT
    UHM's Center for Language and Technology (CLT) has also made available the same audio recordings (except the excerpts) as Kaniʻāina. They are available online through their "Language Audio" portal. The advantage to using this portal is that all the recordings are indexed by guests, callers, and topics discussed every 5 minutes in each radio program.
  • Ka Leo Hawaiʻi Recordings @ eVols
    Collection of recordings from 1991-2000 when Puakea Nogelmeier, Tuti Kanahele and Hauʻoli Akaka hosted the program. The recordings are only indexed by interviewee which are listed in the subject field.

Bishop Museum Library & Archives

Mary Kawena Pukui did extensive ethnographic interviews with kūpuna across the pae ʻāina in the 1950s-1970s. The names of interviewees and the topics discussed are searchable in the Bishop Museum's archive catalog. Note, these recordings are only accessible in person to listen to at the Bishop Museum's Archives. Their archives also has an extensive collection of recordings with many individuals from as early as the 1900s. One notable collection that is also searchable in the archives catalog is the Helen Roberts collection. She was ethnomusicologist who came to Hawaiʻi in the 1920s to do field work recording and collecting mele that was sponsored by the Territory of Hawaiʻi's Hawaiian Legends and Folklore Commission. Selections from this collection of music were published in the book Nā Mele Welo Songs of Our Heritage: Selections from the Roberts Mele Collection in Bishop Museum, Honolulu.

Hamilton Library

The Hawaiian Collection has many published transcripts of oral histories. To find these, do an ADVANCED search in OneSearch for oral histor* AND hawaii. Then limit the results to "Held by library" and filter "by Creator" to pick and choose which ones you want since you will see lots of oral histories from the Center for Oral History and Kumu Pono Associates that are already available online. The Hawaiian Collection also has many video recordings. To find these, do an ADVANCED search in OneSearch for last name of family member, then filter by "Videos". Below is a small selection of oral history transcripts still in print that you can find using OneSearch.