Family Is Forever 

By:  Jenn K

Just a week or so ago, as I was sitting in Hilo style traffic, I noticed a banner outside the Mormon church on Kilauea Ave.  It was an informational sign about an upcoming genealogy conference, scheduled for Saturday, November 12, 2016. Genealogy has always interested me, but recently I’ve been wanting to learn more about my DNA. Maybe this conference will be an opportunity for me to get started.

Rare moment of all seven of the Francis & Clara Nishioka grandkids together in 2014.

In Hilo, we are certain to meet new people who know at least one member of our families.  That’s why we make connections so easily with one another.  You immediately form trust, or not, depending on who it is we have a common bond with. “We’re all related” is my default reply when people ask which Iopa I’m related to.

My dad, John Jr., with his great-great-grandson, Aiden in January.

Iopa is not the original family name of my father.  It was changed only a few generations ago, by what is assumed to be of a religious (missionary) influence.  We are, by blood, of the Kealoha `ohana.  I think it’s a name similar to Smith – there are a lot of them out there.

Three generations: Me, grandpa, and mom in 2015.

I’ve heard stories about the origin of Iopa but I didn’t find out for myself until I assisted my sons with their genealogy assignments, a little over ten years ago. Assignments which made me realize that not all families take the time to keep accurate records of their family trees. Haha! Perhaps it depends on their religious affiliations or maybe they’re just not interested.  Genealogy is so important, and not only for assignments.  The discovery of the many other last names throughout the tree provides a deeper connection through knowledge.  Besides, you just never know who you could be related to!

My grandfather, John Sr., in the only photo I have of him.

If you’re interested in learning more about your family name and its history, the upcoming conference should be a perfect starting point.  Although it is put on by our local members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter – Day Saints, it is not limited to those affiliated with their church. Best of all, it’s free and they even provide lunch! Registration is at 7:30 a.m. Conference runs from 8:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. 

A great list of workshops are scheduled:

“Finding Boxes of Trash Can be a Chest Full of Gold” -Pat Mood

“Keeping Oral History Alive” – Patti Noda

“Family Search Resource Tools” – Kerry Peterson

“Social Media & Apps for Family Search” – Sean Benito

“Pedigree Analysis vs. Medical Pedigree” – Maile Kaopua

“Online Research” – Keikio’ewa Kaopua

“Interpreting Locations” – Manaiakalani Kalua

“Understanding How to Use Delayed Birth and Probate Records” – Patrick and Wanda Cardines

“Evolving Names Through Culture and Place” – Sandi Tajon

Key Note Speaker is Manaiakalani Kalua – “Celebrating Families Across Generations” – “E ho`ohauoli i na hanauna”.

Three generations again: My parents, myself, and my sons in 2015.

Register here or visit the Hilo Family History Center at 1373 Kilauea Ave, Tues/Wed/Thurs from 10 am to 8 pm or by calling the library at 935-0711.

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