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Hawaiʻi - Genealogy Research

Background Info

The earliest available enumeration sheet-type census record with recorded names are tax lists from the early 1840s. Some early censuses were done in the late 1840s, 1850 and another one in 1853. From 1860 onwards, the census was taken every 6 years. Enumeration sheets for the 1866, 1878, 1890, and 1896 censuses exist today but the coverage is very spotty. The 1890 census appears to be the most comprehensive, covering more islands and districts. After Hawaiʻi became a territory of the United States, the first U.S. census in Hawaiʻi began in 1900, and happened every 10 years since. Census usually contains lists of all persons in household, sex, age, marital status, citizenship/nationality, occupation, and ownership of livestock and property. The census are organized by island, then by district. The first thing you want to do is generate a list of your ancestors that you think would be alive during a certain census, then think of where they would be located. For the early censuses (before 1900), you may be able to find ancestors through FamilySearch. If that does not work, you will need to manually search through each census: page by page, line by line, family by family using the digital or microfilm versions. For the later censuses (after 1900), you can do a keyword search for your ancestors online in FamilySearch. More information about how to access these various census records is listed below. 

Hawaiian Kingdom

Hawaiian Kingdom's censuses are located at the Hawaiʻi State Archives. These census are available online, on microfilm at Hamilton Library and in print at the Hawaiʻi State Archives. Some of these censuses are searchable in FamilySearch's collection, Hawaii Island Census Records, 1878-1896. This collection is a compilation of the census records held at the Hawaiʻi State Archives from 1878-1896. Note FamilySearch's collection is partial and not complete. If you are not finding any results, manually search through the digitized censuses that are available online in the Hawaiʻi State Archive's new Census Collection. The microfilm reels of those same censuses are listed below for reference.

  • Census of 1840-1866 (UHM Microfilm)
    Tax list, chiefly for Oahu; originals in the Archives of Hawaii, Honolulu
  • Census of 1866 (UHM Microfilm) (Browse online)
    Primarily Lahaina district, Maui; a few sheets for Kahoolawe; and one for the Hilo-Paukaa area on Hawaii. Includes returns for 28 ships in port.
  • Census of 1878 (UHM Microfilm) (Browse online)
    Lahaina district, Maui; Hamakua district, Hawaii; and Ewa, Waianae and Waialua districts, Oahu.
  • Census of 1890 (UHM Microfilm) (Browse online)
    Hamakua, Hilo, North Kohala and South Kohala, South Kona and Puna, Hawaii; small areas of Kauai; parts of Hana and Lahaina on Maui; some Molokai and Lanai; and a few from Koolaupoko, Waialua and Waianae, Oahu.
  • Census of 1896 (UHM Microfilm) (Browse online)
    Limited to a few streets in the Honolulu area of Oahu.

Territory of Hawaiʻi

When Hawaiʻi became a "territory" of the United States, the decennial census (years ending in "0") were taken every 10 years beginning in 1900. Each census is released for research 72 years after it was completed. So far, the 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, and 1940 census are available on (public library subscription or paid), FamilySearch (free), HeritageQuest Online (public library subscription).