Reaffirming that I am addicted

I’ve been working on the records for Achada, Nordeste (Azores) from the Azorean Aquivo website the last week or so.  On my PC, this is a painstakingly slow process.  The pages take 10-30 seconds to load.  Then, I must enlarge them so I can read the names in the corner (often abbreviated forms).  Then I must scroll through to look for “filho” or “filha” to find the parents.  It takes time and patience.

Recently, I got rid of Firefox, Chrome, and the default browsers on my tablet.  All three were battery hogs.  Opening one could use up 10% of my battery.  And, they were always running in the background eating up more of my resources.

I know use a smaller limited browser called Kronia for basic stuff and Puffin for more detailed website activities.  I found that the Arquivo website loads really nicely in Puffin.  I was surprised by this because many databases are clunky on my tablet.  Either they won’t load at all or screen are garbled.

The database is much quicker in Puffin, taking only 3-5 seconds to load a page.  And, how easy it is to navigate!  Since I can use my fingers to widen the page, I can see very quickly what the names are and find my place in a document for the pertinent information.  If I find something that looks interesting, I hold down my finger and a menu appears.  I click Share and it opens email.  I can then sent the whole document to myself to review on my PC and compare to my genealogy database.

Oh, how dangerous this is!  I am just like a junkie.  When I go to bed, instead of listening to my favorite podcasts, I go to the website and start reading records.  Because Achada is a small place, I can often get through 2-3 years of marriages in about 15 minutes.   This would probably take an hour or more on my PC.  This makes it easier to focus on one surname and pull all those people out.  Later, I can return and look for others if need be…and it won’t take much time at all.

So, if you see that glowing light in my bedroom window at 1 in the morning, you know it’s me getting my genealogy fix.

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San Francisco Passenger Lists 1893-1953

I don’t know how I miss this one!  Familysearch.org now has the San Francisco, California Passenger Lists 1893-1953 Collection.  The collection is indexed and linked to the original ship manifests.

Be aware that the index is not complete.  I did a few surname searches and found that it covers roughly 1916-1953 at this time.

The collection includes ship manifests coming from Hawaii to San Francisco.  This should be very helpful for Hawaiian researchers who are looking for relatives who left Hawaii (even on vacation).  You may also find those already settled in California returning from vacations to Hawaii.

Well worth keeping an eye on this one!

 

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Ancestry.com Doesn’t Offer Much for Hawaiian Researchers

Today is my pet peeve day.  For the umpteenth time, I’ve heard a Portuguese Hawaiian genealogist (i.e. someone researching their Portuguese roots in Hawaii) tell me that they bought a subscription to ancestry.com and they “can’t find anything!”  UGH!  I hate those words.

Let me start by saying, this isn’t a slam at ancestry.com.  Ancestry.com is great for many states.  If you’re looking for someone in New York or Massachusetts, it’s awesome.  But, they don’t really have much for Hawaii and Hawaii researchers should be aware of that before they decide to get a subscription.

Let’s take a look at the offerings.  One of the things I’ve noticed when I look at each category is that many of the listings don’t really apply to Hawaii.  Unless your genealogy leads you outside of Hawaii, chances are the Civil War, Revolutionary War, and similar databases aren’t going to do much for you.

The first category is Hawaii Census and Voter Lists.  The first few entries are for the 1900 through 1940 Census for Hawaii, which are very helpful.  But, after that?  I see a listing of Cherokee records and a listing of soldiers from Brookfield who it appears fought in the Civil War.  The rest of the listings might be helpful reference materials.

Now, let’s look at the next category Birth, Marriage, and Death records.  There are 20 databases.  Three pertain to Hawaii:  Social Security Death Index, Hawaii National National Memorial of the Pacific, and Headstone Applications for Military Veterans 1925-1963.  The rest are questionable at best.  There are no offerings for birth and marriage records and there is nothing to help you with pre-1920 research.

I find the same problems with the Immigration and Naturalization section.  There is an excellent database of ships from Hawaii to California that will help those who have relatives who either traveled back and forth between Hawaii and California or left Hawaii for good.  The US Passport Applications may be helpful for post-1900 ancestry, too.  But, the naturalization databases will be a bust, simply because Hawaii had a completely different process for naturalization of its citizens.    The records were not sent on to a federal agency until the 1950s or so (I forget the specific date).   Applications were handled at the circuit court level and kept there.

While there are some records that you will find helpful for your Hawaii research, be aware that Ancestry.com only has a very small fraction of what’s available for Hawaii.  Beyond cemetery records, there are no birth, death, or marriage records, there are no immigration records for ships going to Hawaii from the Azores, Madeira, and Portugal.  There really aren’t any pre-1900 records that the Portuguese Hawaiian genealogist will be able to put to use.

My suggestion is before you get frustrated, get a trial subscription.  Check to see what it can offer your specific research.  If your ancestry leaves Hawaii or if your tree includes some of the Americans who helped build the plantation industries, it may be worth getting a subscription.  But, if your ancestors were immigrants and they stayed in Hawaii, I might hold off.

There are some other websites you might try first.  Familysearch.org has a few holdings for Hawaii (including some birth, death, and marriage records), the Hawaiian State Archives has several databases including the Index to the Portuguese (ship index for ships going to Hawaii during the sugar plantation era).  The Chronicling America website has added many Hawaiian newspaper which might be useful, too.  When you’re ready to research in the Azores and Madeira, those countries have been building their online archives, too.

I don’t want to discourage people, but I feel Portuguese Hawaiiaan researchers should be aware of what they’re getting before they sign up for something.  Ancestry.com is a vital tool for many states.  But, it just isn’t there yet for Hawaii.

 

 

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