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Hawaiʻi - Land Tenure Locating Māhele Records: Start Here

About this Tutorial Research Guide

This guide will help you use find and retrieve Māhele records using the print indexes, databases and the microfilm.

Locating Māhele records is the process of looking for any records of land claims, awards, and patents that the aliʻi, makaʻāinana, and foreigners had during the formal process in the Hawaiian Kingdom to quiet title land ownership during the mid-1800s. Claimants, either natives or foreigners, would submit formal land claims recorded as native or foreigner registers. Following their claims, testimony was submitted by neighbors or the konohiki of that area who could verify the validity of the claim. Those were recorded as native or foreign testimonies. A survey of the land claimed was also conducted to confirm the property boundaries. All documents were reviewed by the Land Commission Board and the claim was either awarded a Land Commission Award (also known as a Mahele Award) or not awarded. If the claim was awarded, the claimant could then seek a Royal Patent Land grant by settling the Government's interest in the land. When doing this kind of research, you are looking for the following documents:

  • Recorded land divisions between Kamehameha III, the chiefs, and konohiki in the Buke Mahele
  • Native or foreign register
  • Native or foreign testimony
  • Land Commission Award (also known as a Mahele Award)
  • Survey (Included in the Land Commission Award)
  • Royal Patent Grant (also known as Royal Patent)

For a more detailed overview of the resources and search strategies to locate Māhele records, please visit the Māhele Records page on the research guide, Hawaiʻi - Land Tenure - Resources & Readings.