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HWST 115 - Mo'okū'auhau: Hawaiian Genealogies: Death Records

Background Information

Registration of deaths was first required by law in 1859, but few records exist before the responsibility was given to the Department of Health in 1896.

Records in the Department of Health are as follows:

  • Hawai'i 1896-date
  • Maui & Molokai 1896-date
  • Kauai & Niihau 1862-date
  • Oahu 1862-date

Obituaries appeared in the newspapers as early as 1836 and there is an index in the Archives for 1836-1950. The Newspapers indexed were primarily English language papers published in Honolulu. The printed index to the Honolulu Advertiser and Honolulu Star-Bulletin issued by the Hawaii State Library includes obituaries from 1929 to present day. In both cases, obituaries, not death notice columns, are indexed and are selective. Death notices for prominent persons may be indexed as a news item rather than under obituaries. 

The Research Process

Getting Started
Death Records are located at the Department of Health. In order to submit an application to obtain a certificate, you need to know the following information: Name on Certificate, Date of Death, Place of Death, Name of Father, and Name of Mother.

Where can you find all this information?
In order to find this exact information, you need to consult newspaper obituaries and cemetery indexes. The newspaper obituaries can be found in newspaper indexes in print and online. The cemetery indexes are located at the Hawai'i State Archives, Hawaii State Library (478 S. King St.), and in the Hawaiian Collection at UH Mānoa.

Cemetery Indexes: Online Resource

Cemetery Indexes: Library Books

Content: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 Windward Community College Library