Thursday, October 25, 2012

Highlights of my Research Trip to Hawaii

1. Bringing my Mom and daughter to Hawaii was the biggest highlight of our recent vacation.  We toured Iolani Palace, Washington Place and met up with cousins.  We also paid our respects at several cemeteries, and went to the Queen Lili’uokalani Church in Haliewa, founded by Reverend John Emerson of Chester, New Hampshire, another distant cousin. I only wish I had called the church in Haliewa ahead of time, because it was closed when we arrived.  

Me, Mom and Hubby at Washington Place
Mom and I place leis on the graves of
Reverend John Emerson and his wife Ursula
at the Queen Liliuokalani Church, Haliewa, Hawaii
2.   I’ll never forget seeing Mom enjoy her visits with cousins and being at Washington Place.  I know how excited she was when I found out that our Hawaii connection was more than myth, and was able to place Lili’uokalani in our family tree.  Hearing the curators and the tour guides confirm the story made it even more real for her.  We found out that her grandmother was 24 years old when she visited with the Queen in Boston.  Carrie Batchelder Allen was a new bride with two small children in 1897, the year of the Queen’s visit with relatives in Massachusetts.

Mom and I chatting with the Washington Place curator
about Mom's grandmother meeting Queen Liliuokalani in Boston
3.   At the archives I found several more letters and found some Boston relatives in Queen Lili’uokalani’s photograph albums.  Some photos need identification.  Such as this photo of a Mrs. William Lee.   My first cousin 5 x removed, Mr. Lee, had two wives.  The first wife died in 1883, and the second one he married in 1888.  Which wife is this?  Can anyone tell from her dress and hairstyle which wife this might be?

labeled "Mrs. William Lee" by Sarony's, NY
in Hawaii State Archives
Queen Liliuokalani Collections
M-93 Photograph Album 26 

Copyright 2012, Heather Wilkinson Rojo


  1. Wonderful! A trip of a lifetime. I also had a chance to travel regarding genealogy with my parents. It is wonderful when the locals confirm your research with your family.

  2. Am I reading this right? Your family is related to a Queen in Hawaii? Lili'uokalani? That surely sounds like a rich and exotic heritage. Fascinating. As to the photo, I'm going to make a purely amateurish guess. The "Gibson girl" had a loose topknot and was the style in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The woman in the photo has a tight braid. So I'm guessing she's the first Mrs. Lee. But hey, what do I know?

    1. Mariann, I'm related to her husband. His mother, Mary Jones) Dominis (who built Washington Place) was the sister of my 3x great grandmother, Catherine (Jones) Younger. There was another sister, Ann Marie (Jones) Holt, who was married to Robert William Holt of Hawaii. The Holt clan is HUGE in Hawaii. Laura (Jones) Lee, was a third sister, and her son, William Lee of Lee & Shepard publishers in Boston, published the Queen's music, genealogy and autobiography "Hawaii's Story".

  3. Sounds like a wonderful trip for you! Great photos too!

  4. My 3rd great grandfather was a calabash maker for the local chief in Waialua. Since Hawaiian arts and crafts were going out of style, he looked for a new line of work and started working for the Emersons. His wife learned 'household duties' from Mrs. Emerson. Their son (my gr-gr grandfather) became the judge of Waialua. Here's an article about him:

    Judge A. S. Mahaulu
    The community has suffered a great loss in the death of Judge Mahaulu. He was a Hawaiian of unusual character and ability; a just judge, and an active worker for Christ. His father, P. Mahaulu in the missionary days of the Reverend John Emerson, was converted to Christianity and trained by “Father” Emerson to be skilful in agriculture. His mother, Kalakona, taught by Mrs. Emerson household duties; became one of the good Christian women of Waialua Church. Into this home Archie was born. His father had ambitions for his son, and secured his admission to the group of attendants at the Court of King Kalakaua. The influence of this group was far from good, and though he had opportunities for intellectual development, his Christian life was retarded. Some years later the early Christian training of his home asserted itself and he became an earnest worker in the church. During the last few years Judge Mahaulu has ably filled positions of responsibility, such as treasurer of the Waialua Church, deacon, lay preacher, president of the Oahu Sunday School Association and district superintendent of Sunday schools. It was through his earnest efforts that the beautiful stone arch and memorial tablet to “Father” and “Mother” Emerson were erected at the entrance to the Waialua Church grounds. In his work as Judge of the District Court, he was called upon many times to handle cases of delinquent boys, and he always took a personal interest in such cases. He made it a habit to visit the boys’ Industrial School at Waialae frequently, and has from time to time given religious talks to the boys of the school. A few months before his death he was appointed probation officer, and to be the first manager of the Detention Home. The characteristics of Judge Mahaulu that stand out most plainly were his strength of will, his ambition to learn from every source and his great confidence in the Heavenly Father. He was a man who believed in prayer and who put the belief into practice. Trained as he was to speak eloquently in his native tongue and to use the English language with ease, he was able to reach a great many people with his earnest Christian message. He was always an active and interested member of the Hawaiian Board, serving on several of the committees with efficiency. His place in the Board and in the community of Waialua will be hard to fill, but the example which he has set for the young men of his race will always remain as a standard toward which these young men may work. If more of the young men would develop a similar strength of character and devotion to righteousness, a great impetus would be given to the Christian life of our land. J.P.E

    ~The Friend, 1916, page 229