Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Genealogy Trip to Hawaii- Day Eight

This is a continuation of the story of my family history related trip to Hawaii. On our last full day in Hawaii we met with my Honolulu cousin and privately visited the gravesites of the Dominis family at the Oahu cemetery. We also were able to see the Royal Mausoleum, located nearby, where the royal family, including Governor Dominis, is buried. The Mausoleum, Mauna ‘Ala, is on sovereign ground. The flag of the Kingdom of Hawaii still flies here, not the US flag, and the ground is considered sacred. It is a special place among the hearts of the native Hawaiian people.

It was very moving for me to finally stand by the grave of Mary Jones Dominis, born in Boston in 1803, sister to my 4x great grandmother, Catherine Jones Younger. I had been searching for my grandmother’s siblings for thirty years, and never expected to find one buried in Hawaii attached to such a historic story. Actually, of the eight siblings, Mary’s is the only gravesite I have identified.

I would have loved to have had time to explore Oahu Cemetery.  Right in the next plot over from the Dominis family was the Damon family, missionaries from Holden, Massachusetts.  I was tempted to wander around taking photos, but I knew that if I got started I would spend all day there.  To wander through Oahu Cemetery is like reading the pages out  of Hawaii's history.  Nanette Napoleon, the historian who was on the panel for the "Princess Kaiulani" movie on the first post of my Hawaii trip, has written a wonderful book on Oahu Cemetery, with many photographs and family profiles of the prominent Hawaiians buried there.

Whatever your genealogical brickwalls may be, and whatever your family myths may tell you, some of these stories might lead you on a wild goose chase or to a fantastic journey like I just had for the past two weeks. With careful advance research, and planning your research time well in advance, a research trip thousands of miles away can turn out to be a real adventure. We are already planning a return trip to Hawaii.

------------------------------ the website for the Oahu cemetery.

Oahu Cemetery, by Nanette Napoleon Purnell, 1998 160 pages including 100 individual profiles of prominent Hawaiians buried at this cemetery. This book can be ordered through the Oahu cemetery website.  Many Hawaiians of New England birth are buried here. the website for “Hawaii’s History Detective” Nanette Napoleon the link for the Find A Grave website’s 1,287 interment records at Oahu Cemetery

Mauna ‘Ala: Hawaii’s Royal Mausoleum, Last Remnant of a Lost Kingdom, by Don Chapman with William Kaih’ekai Mai’oho, Mutual Publishing, 2004 a website about the Royal Mausoleum

Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo


  1. How exciting to see John and Mary's tombstone, I didn't realize you had seen it. Of course you were moved, and I was too a bit. Wonderful! I agree, another trip is necessary. (Can I go?)