Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Hawaii's Holt Family

Robert William Holt
1800 - 1862
About ten years ago, through a genealogy bulletin board, I made contact with Lisa Holt who was also searching for clues on the Jones sisters who married in Boston and went to Hawaii.  Her ancestors were Robert William Holt and his wife Ann Marie Jones, married in 1829.  She was the sister of my 4x great grandmother, Catherine Plummer (Jones) Younger.  Another sister, Mary Lambert Jones, married Captain John Dominis, and also went to Hawaii, never to live in Boston again.  Anne Marie had two daughters, yet died before Holt went to Hawaii, where he remarried.   I knew I had some distant cousins in Hawaii, and some “calabash cousins”* from the Holt second marriage.

You can read about this more at this post, such an interesting story it inspired my blog (my very first post!)  http://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2009/07/hawaii-boston-connection-to-royal.html   Since then I've blogged a lot about the Holts, Joneses, Dominises and other families in Hawaii and Boston.  You can see the links in the right hand column, and click on them to read these posts.   With Lisa Holt, and Corinne Chun of Washington Place, other Holt descendants and much research I've been able to piece together how I was related to this interesting piece of American History.  I also found how two more Jones sisters stayed in Boston, but still participated in Hawaiian history (one had a publisher son, William Lee, who printed Queen Lili'uokalani's biography, and another married the man, Snelling,  who shipped the windows, doors, etc. for buildingWashington Place).

Two years ago I reconnected with descendants of the Dominis family, and we met in Massachusetts and in Hawaii.   While in Hawaii  last year I met up with several calabash cousins descended of Holt and his second wife, and they all welcomed me as warmly as my full cousins.  In Hawaii we are all considered “ohana” (family) and the warmth of extended family was overwhelming.   Last month I connected with another cousin via Facebook, a descendant of one of Ann Marie’s daughters.  We met up during my vacation in California, and went to dinner together.  It was fun to meet up with full cousins and non-cousins related to the family in Hawaii.

Just a few weeks ago, Lisa Holt started her own website at this link http://www.sightandsoundkaraoke.com/genealogy/holtTree/index.php
She reconnected with me via Facebook when she found a newspaper clipping via GenealogyBank that was an obituary for Robert William Holt published in the “Friend”, 9 August 1862 in Honolulu, Hawaii.  It listed him as a native of Liverpool, England, which was a terrific find. 

She also found this marriage record in the "Rhode Island American, 29 October 1829, Providence, Rhode Island...

It was about this time that Lisa began to mine Facebook for Holts.  She said she started with family members and their lists of friends and family members, and expanded out from there, searching lists for Holts in Hawaii, and moving on to the allied lines and married names of daughters.   Then she asked me if there should be a group for Holts on Facebook, for discussion, photos and genealogy.  I didn’t know how many Holts she would find, since most of the cousins and calabash cousins I know weren’t on Facebook.  She went ahead and started the group.  I added only two or three names.

Suddenly, within six hours there were 80 people on the Holt group.  I was amazed.  Everyone participated with a roll call naming their parents and often grandparents and siblings.  People began to post wonderful photos from the 1800, of people I had never seen before in photographs.   By this morning there were 131 people on line and a long waiting list for approval, sharing stories, posting lineages, offering scans of books, and reconnecting with cousins they hadn’t seen in years, and often with cousins they had never met!  These Holt descendants come from Hawaii, the mainland USA, England, and even Germany.

I’ve never seen a family group respond with such enthusiam.  I belong to several other family groups on Facebook, including “Descendants of John Howland”, and “Descendants of Edward Doty from the Mayflower”, and there are less active members (and less posts and participation!)  This group is strictly by invitation only, but if you are a descendant of Robert William Holt, or a “calabash cousin” like me, ask to join up, too, at “Hawaii’s Holts” at this link https://www.facebook.com/groups/253651931332203/

Thanks, Lisa!  It seems that just a few years ago I didn’t know about this branch, and now I have added over 1000 names in my family tree because of this connection.

Holt Genealogy:

Owen Jones    m.      Elizabeth Lambert
(abt 1768 - 1850)     (abt 1775 - 1834)
       Ann Marie Jones m. Robert William Holt   m. Caroline Tauwati Robinson
(abt 1811 - 1832)          (abt 1800 - 1862)         (abt 1815 - 1891)
                     |                                                                    |
            Elizabeth Holt                              Four sons 1.  Robert Lawrence Holt (1836 - 1847)
m. William Arnold Aldrich                             2. James Robinson Holt m. M. Luukia
                     |                                               3. Owen Jones Holt m. Hanakaulani-o-kamamalu
Four children:                                                4. John Dominis Holt m. Hannah Auld
      1. William Holt Aldrich m. Minnie Choate Brown
      2. Anne Aldrich m. Willard Barton
      3. Helen Aldrich m. William Dunning
      4. George Albert Aldrich

Note:  The second daughter of Ann Marie Jones and Robert William Holt died soon after reaching Hawaii in 1851.  She died at age 19 and recently her grave was found and a new memorial installed.  See this blog post http://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2012/07/a-memorial-for-annie-marie-holt-hawaii.html

*Calabash Cousin (from Wikipedia) "In Hawaii, a calabash is a large serving bowl, usually made from a hardwood ... It is used on a buffet table or in the middle of the dining table. The use of the calabash in Hawaii has led to terms like "calabash family" or "calabash cousins", indicating an extended family grown up around shared meals and close friendships. Food is very important in modern Hawaiian culture. The expression "e komo mai - Come, let's eat" was the standard welcome to anyone approaching a home."
Copyright 2011, Heather Wilkinson Rojo


  1. What a great story Heather. I have used facebook as well to try sand find relations on my O'Connell line. Wish I can say that I was that lucky. I have friended many people with the name O'Connell, but have not found a link to this point. Maybe one day!

  2. I have been considering starting some FB groups for my various lines but have been too shy. I am re-inspired and motivated now! Terrific article!!

  3. This was a nice piece about using a Facebook group, something I haven’t done yet. And, you must be very busy with all your new found bits of information and all the cousins you need to place in your tree, lucky you. Heather, this was enjoyable to read, thanks. Is calabash used just for Hawaiian families, could we use it for New England families as well?

  4. Wow, it's amazing how the Facebook group enabled relatives to find each other. I'd never really thought much about using Facebook for genealogical purposes--but after reading your great post I'm reconsidering.

  5. Because the Holt family was a prominent family in Hawaii, people knew if they were a Holt. The family also had done a pretty complete genealogy from the original Robert William Holt to the 1970's. Being a Holt was an identity, aided by the fact that most of the first Holts were boys and that perpetuated the name. Every trip I would take back to the islands as an adult, I would be using a credit card or giving my name and someone would say "Are you a HOLT?" It is no surprise that Lisa's facebook page took off. The best part for me is not the genealogy which I already have, it's the stories, origins of nicknames, pictures and documents,etc.

    BTW... RW Holt and Anna MS Jones had a 2nd daughter....Anna Marie Holt

    Owen Jones Holt m Hanakaulani-o-kamamalu (no last name)

  6. Wow, I never even thought of a Facebook group for a surname. This sounds really promising. I just started a FB Interest List for genealogy and was amazed at how much material comes in from just a few people. An Interest group for Kirvens or Frasers -- whew! I'd have to get prepared for an inrush of people, just in case. What an exciting idea. Thanks, Heather!

  7. I am trying to find my father. He was born in ca,His name is Charles H Holt . He is about 81 years old.I am not having any luck.Is there anything else that I can do. My email is sharonlynnholt@yahoo.com ty Sharon Holt

  8. Hey! I came across this blog last year, but didn't notice that I could comment! I'm a descendent of Owen Jones Holt and Hanakaulani o kamamalu--most of our family still lives on Kaua'i, but my grandmother moved to the mainland in the late 70s and we've been here ever since. If I remember correctly Owen Jones Holt had a son, Christopher Jones Holt, who had a son Bennett Holt, who married Annie and they had many children, one of whom is my grandmother, Lihue. Lihue lives on the mainland, several of her siblings are still on Kauai, and one on Maui (and another in Saipan.)

    1. Hey Amanda! I,too, found this blog a couple years ago...its not too bad! We need to find a complete tree of our family(or you and I need to work on one) and keep it current. Do you know of anyone that may have a more complete one? Love ya! Auntie Robyn

  9. Hi. I was wondering if you or anybody in the family group would know who Major/Colonel John Dominis Holt pictured here https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:John_D._Holt. Was he the husband of Hannah Auld in this tree or his nephew, John Dominis Holt, II who was the son of Owen Jones Holt and Hanakaulani-o-kamamalu

  10. Hi. I was wondering if you or anybody in the family group would know who Major/Colonel John Dominis Holt pictured here https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:John_D._Holt. Was he the husband of Hannah Auld in this tree or his nephew, John Dominis Holt, II who was the son of Owen Jones Holt and Hanakaulani-o-kamamalu

  11. hi!i just wanted to say thanks for putting together our family facebook page! now i can teach my children about their heritage and where our family came from. my grandmother is the daughter of george holt, who is owen jones and kemelia holts son. i remember my mom telling me stories that my grandma used to tell them about how her and her sister dayne "dolly" was raised by her tutu lady, which just happens to be kemelia holt. i hope that we continue to find more of our cousins and that one day we all get to meet. and hopefully i have the priveledge to one day meet you. til then, aloha oe, Fallon A. Figueroa