Hawaii Emigration and Immigration

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Portal:United States Emigration and Immigration >Hawaii


Less than 1 percent of Hawaii's population is pure-blooded Hawaiian. Many immigrant groups originally came as contract laborers to work in the sugar fields. The Chinese began arriving in 1852, followed by the Portuguese in 1878, the Japanese in 1884, Koreans in 1903, and Filipinos in 1906. Those of Japanese descent presently constitute about 30 percent of the total population, and are the largest ethnic group in Hawaii. American missionaries from New England started coming in 1820, but the number of Americans was not significant until about 1875.

An especially helpful history of the many ethnic groups in Hawaii is Eleanor C. Nordyke, The Peopling of Hawaii(Honolulu, Hawaii: University Press of Hawaii, 1989;Family History Library book 996.9 W2n). Family History Library records of ethnic groups are listed in the Family History Library catalog under the subject heading HAWAII - MINORITIES. There are published histories for the Japanese and Filipinos, and annotated bibliographies for the Chinese and Koreans.


The major port of entry to Hawaii is Honolulu. The names of early passengers and the ships they came on are indexed in Bernice Judd, Voyages to Hawaii Before 1860, Reprint (Honolulu: University Press of Hawaii, 1974; FHL book 996.9 W3j).

The Family History Library and the Hawaii State Archives have 72 microfilms of passenger lists and indexes for the years 1843 to 1900, beginning with (Family History Library film 1002794). On these films there are separate indexes for the Chinese, Japanese, and Portuguese, and a general index for the rest of the passengers. The Hawaii State Archives and the Family History Library also have other types of records for pre-1900 Chinese immigrants, including entry permits, passports, and labor permits.

The Family History Library and the Office of the Consulate General of Portugal in Honolulu have more than 70 microfilms of passenger lists of Portuguese immigrants for the years 1878 to 1913. The Family History Library and the Hawaiian Sugar Planters' Association in Aiea, Hawaii, have 85 microfilms of passenger lists and indexes of Filipinos for the years 1906 to about 1977. There are also records at the Family History Library of Japanese and Korean immigrants to Hawaii.