Hawaii State Archives Digital Collection Tour: Government Office Holders

Our next stop on the archives tour takes us to the Government Office Holders index cards.  Each entry in this collection includes information on folks who held office Hawaiian government and the various office names.

Go to the Government Office Holders main page.

You have three choices: Search, Office Name A-Z, and Personal Names A-Z

Click on Search.  Enter any keyword you’d like to search by.  Note that you can use multiple keywords with the qualifier “all” or “some”.

We’ll try surname.  I’m going to search on my family surname Pacheco.

For the Pacheco search two names come up:  Pacheco, David and Pacheco, Manuel C.  I have no clue who these guys are.  I guess they aren’t all related to me. :D

Next, we’ll click on Office Name A-Z.  Each entry in the list will either bring up an index card with information about the office and those who served within it or a cross reference card.

By clicking on the Advisory Council, I learn that it was created in 1893 and was abolished in 1895.  The names nine individuals who served as head of the council and their dates of service are given.

Not all cards give detailed information.  Some only give the names of those who served in the office.

Next, we’ll click on Personal Names A-Z.  The first Portuguese sounding name that I see is: Aguiar, George R.  I’m going to click on that one.

George’s index card doesn’t tell us alot.  He served in the House of Representatives in 1947 in the 6th District.

Another Portuguese sounding name is Botelho, Manuel S.  By clicking on his name, we learn that Manuel was District Magistrate for Hamakua, Hawaii in 1915.  He was reappointed in 1917 and his term ended in 1919.

Though the cards don’t include alot of information, there should be enough details for further research.  One might research the office to see if more information can be had, look for newspaper articles, or find the individual’s obituary.  There are any number of places you could take this research to.

If you are lucky enough to have a government office holder in your tree, you are sure to find something worthwhile in this index.  Be sure to check variant spellings of surnames.  If you don’t find your ancestor using the search function, check each page.  You never know how a surname will be spelled.


How Do You Research Someone Who Left No Trail?

I am working on a research project for a friend because I can’t seem to get my genealogy fix with my own lines ;)  I like working on other people’s trees since it gives me experience in a research area that I wouldn’t otherwise come into contact with.

This line has me a bit confounded.  I’m not going to give details as I’m not sure the person wants them public.  However, I thought I’d present my dilemma and see what folks might come up with.

1.  Alot is known about the bride’s side, but nothing about the groom–the side I want to locate.

2.  The groom might have been born in Cabell County, West Virginia.  Then again, he might not have.

3.  The groom might have been orphaned at the age of 13.  Then again, he might not have been an orphan at all.

4.  The couple was married in Arizona, but it’s unknown where in Arizona.  From my research, I found that marriage records for Arizona are kept at the local level.  There is no state index (am I wrong on that?)

5.  Though the death notice gives information about the groom’s birth, the informant isn’t considered reliable.

6.  Though the groom was born in 1903, he doesn’t seem to be in the 1910, 1920, or 1930 census under the name we know him by in anywhere within West Virginia.

7.  The groom was a screenwriter.  While much can be found about his movie credits, little can be found about his personal story.

There are many possibilities here.  The place of birth is wrong.  His name has been changed.  If he really was an orphan, he may appear in the census records under the last name of the family member’s who took him in rather than the last name he was known by. His first name might be recorded wrong in the census completely throwing me off.

One thing is for sure.  He did live.  I was able to find him in the voter registration indexes for California in the 1940s.  Possibly the 1940 census when released will tell us more about his early beginnings depending on what information was collected that year.

He is in the Social Security Death Index as well.  So, that’s another option for research.

Can you see my conundrum?  Without a firm place of birth, it’s difficult to know if I’ve found the right families in the census.  Without known what cities he was married in, I’ve got no clue where to look for the marriage record in Arizona.  Though, I suspect this will be the record that tells me what I need to know.

Some research makes me ask why some ancestors were so good at covering their tracks.  While some people left behind volumes which are easy to locate piece by piece, others seemed to deliberately hide their footprints so no one will know they were here.

If anyone has suggestions on where I might look next, I’m open to suggestions.  This is a confounding research project!


My Hero, Shirley Chisholm

As we just finished a historic presidential election, I thought I’d repost an article I wrote for another website.  This is the story of Shirley Chisholm, the first African American woman to run for president of the United States of America.

Shirley Chisholm was on the news quite a bit when I was in elementary school.   She was an inspiration to young woman during the 1970s.  She has always been one of my heroes.

This article is a mix of genealogical and historical research I did on Shirley Chisholm.


In 1972, an African American woman ran for President of the United States. Her name was Shirley (St. Hill) Chisholm. From the moment she threw her hat in the ring, a ripple was felt in the fabric of America. I was only in second grade at the time, but I was aware that this was a big moment in history. She was on TV and in the newspapers. Everyone around me was talking about that “woman who was running for President.” I remember thinking “Right On!” (Yes, it was the 1970s!) I didn’t really understand how hard her fight would be, but I cheered her on none-the-less.

When Shirley Chisholm passed away, I wonder who she really was. How was she able to accomplish so much at a time when a woman, let alone an African American woman, was scoffed at for being “out of her league”? I decided to see if what I could find on the Internet. Perhaps there were some genealogy records or newspaper articles that would fill in her story.

Shirley’s parents were immigrants. Her father, Charles St. Hill, was a native of British Guiana. He came to the US in 1920. Her mother, Ruby Seale, was a native of Barbados. She arrived here in 1921. Their oldest daughter, Shirley Anita St. Hill, was born 30 Nov 1924, Brooklyn, NY.

In the 1930 census, Charles and Ruby were raising a family on Watkins Street in Brooklyn, NY. Charles worked in a burlap factory and Ruby was a seamstress. They had three children at the time: Shirley, Odessa, and Muriel. A fourth daughter, Selma, was born after the 1930 census.

Although Shirley is listed in that census as living with her parents, she wasn’t even in New York at the time. In 1927, around the age of 3 years old, Shirley was sent to Barbados to live with her Grandmother. She was educated at British schools in Barbados. Then at the age of 11, her parents asked for her to come home.

In 1946, she graduated with honors from Brooklyn College. She earned a BA in Sociology. In 1952, she earned an MA in Elementary Education at Colombia.

She was married twice, but did not have any children. Her first marriage in 1949 was to a Jamaican, Conrad Q. Chisholm. Charles worked as a Private Investigator. Both were involved in local politics. Charles and Shirley were divorced in 1977. She then married Arthur J. Hardwick, a State Assemblyman. He died in 1986.

Shirley worked in various service related positions throughout her life. She worked her way up from Teacher to Director of the Friend in Need Nursery and the Hamilton-Madison Child Care Center. She was also an Educational Consultant for the New York Department of Social Services.

In 1964, she stepped into the political ring. That year, she ran for the New York State Assembly and won. Then in 1968, she was elected to the U.S. House of Representative by a 3 to 1 margin. She was a unique political. She believed that the people she represented came first. She fought tremendous odds against a political system that did not welcome her. She never let her detractors get the upper hand. Right from the start, she let them know that she would not be pushed around. Her first assignment was to the House Forestry Committee, which she felt would not help her constituents. She then did something that was unheard of from freshman politicians, she demanded a transfer. This lead to a seat on the Veterans Affairs Committee.

In 1972, Shirley made an attempt at the Presidency. Her chances were slim. However, she was able to shine a spotlight on many issues including the debate over women’s role in society. She retired in 1982 ending a political career that spanned 18 years.

Shirley’s achievements are many. She was the First African American woman to run for President. She was co-founder of the National Organization of Women and the National Political Congress of Black Women. She was named ambassador to Jamaica in 1993. And, she wrote two autobiographies: “Unbought and Unbossed” and “The Good Fight”.

Though she stood just five feet tall, she didn’t let anyone walk over her! She was a person of towering stature who lead with character and integrity. Her example has inspired many over the decades. Her death in January 2005 reminds us of a pioneer who served the people with honor and integrity. We need more like her!

Shirley Chisholm passed away 1 Jan 2005, at the age of 80, in Ormond Beach, Florida. She was buried at Forest Lawn Cemetery, Buffalo, NY with her second husband, Arthur Hardwick. At the funeral, a ceremonial flag was handed to her sister, Muriel St. Hill.

A Couple of Quotes from Shirley:
“Service is the rent we pay for the privilege of living on this earth.”

Shirley Chisholm announced her nomination for President with these words:
“I stand before you today as a candidate for the Democratic nomination for the Presidency of the United States. I am not the candidate of black America, although I am black and proud. I am not the candidate of the women’s movement of this country, although I am a woman, and I am equally proud of that. I am not the candidate of any political bosses or special interests. I am the candidate of the people.” (S. Chisholm, 25 Jan 1972)

In her book, “The Good Fight”, Shirley writes this about running for President:
“I ran for the Presidency, despite hopeless odds, to demonstrate the sheer will and refusal to accept the status quo”

1. 1930 U.S. Census, Brooklyn Borough, Kings County, NY; Enumeration District 566, Sheet 2B. Entry for Charles St. Hill.
2. Shirley Chisholm Dies at Age 80.CNN Website, 3 Jan 2005.
3. Quelques membres du clan Chisholm à travers le monde (A Few Chisholms Around the World)
4. Obituary: Shirley Chisholm, First Black Congresswomen Dies at 80.By Coralie Carlson, Post-Gazette Online Newspaper, 4 Jan 2005.
5. Shirley Chisholm Wikipedia Online Encyclopedia.
6. Shirley Chisholm National Women’s Hall of Fame Website.
7. Chisholm, Shirley Anita, 1924-2005 Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774-Present.
8. Chisholm Services are Set in Buffalo New York Times Online Edition, 11 Jan 2005.
9. Shirley Chisholm Find A Grave Website. Record added 3 Jan 2005.
10.Those She Touched Remember a Trailblazer” By Eileen Zafiro. News-Journal Online.com, MSNBC Website.
11.Chisholm, Shirley A.: Candidate Details PageOurCampaigns.com