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Hawaiian Genealogy

Hawaiian in the modern sense is a mixture of the different cultures and ethnic groups that make up its unique population. Located in the Pacific Ocean, their distinctive original Hawaiian style has developed due to being isolated for many years.

The roots of the Hawaiian religion and culture come from the southern Polynesian Islands. The first settlers coming from Marquesas more than 2,000 years ago. Additional migration came in the 10th and 11th centuries from the Society Islands, Tahiti, Samoa and Bora Bora in the South Pacific. Over the centuries the communities that developed were slow and steady. As new immigrates settled on the Hawaiian islands over the centuries, each has added their own practice to the existing religious practices. Some have tried to do away with certain existing religions. There are major variations even between the different Hawaiian Islands on the traditional Hawaiian religious and cultural practices.

The English explorer, Capt. James Cook came to the islands in 1778. After his visits and published writings about the islands, more European explorers and traders came to the Hawaiian Islands.

In reviewing Hawaiian genealogy, it is significant to note that the Hawaiian customs, language and traditions suffered when missionaries in the 1820s forbid the cultural practices. Not until the 1875 were the customs openly practiced and taught to the children once again. That ended in 1887 when missionaries again held power life on the island. The Hawaiian language was outlawed in 1896. Into the 20th century by the 1930s, there was a revival of the language and Hawaiian customs. By the 1960s and 1970s, all aspects of the traditional Hawaiian culture were encouraged and national pride became strong.

Composed of only five vowels and eight consonants is the structure of the Hawaiian language. It has the shortest alphabet in the world, making it difficult to learn. There are soft sounds with words that have many and often hidden meanings. The word ‘aloha’ is the most widely known of all Hawaiian words, and it is one of the most important.

A special Hawaiian tradition is the flower lei. Custom dictates that a lei should be offered graciously with a kiss and removed only in private. It’s considered rude to remove a lei once it’s accepted in view of anyone, but especially in view of the person who offered it.

The Hawaiian knowledge of canoe building is outstanding as well as their ability to travel the open ocean using only the sun, wind, moon, stars and waves.

In Hawaiian genealogy, knowing that the native people have been great storytellers is an important aspect of the Hawaiian culture. Legends were a way of documenting history, knowledge, facts and beliefs from generation to generation. The stories are told in their hula dances and music. The people are peace loving and polite. They are known for their humility.

Today there are about 1.3 citizens of the state of Hawaii. About 9 percent of the population are classified Native Hawaiians. There are Native Hawaiians in other locations; like California, Nevada and the state of Washington.

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