Kauai County, Hawaii Genealogy

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Template:Hawaii-stubUnited States  > Hawaii > Kauai County

County Courthouse

History Of Kauai

Kauai is known as the oldest of the main Hawaiian Islands. With an area of 562.3 square miles (1,456.4 km), it is the fourth largest of the main islands in the Hawaiian archipelago and the 21st largest island in the United States. Known also as the “Garden Isle”, Kauai lies 105 miles (170 km) across the Kauai Channel, northwest of Oahu. This island is the Site of the Waimea Canyon State Park.
The United States Census Bureau defines Kauai as Census as Census Tracts 401 through 409 of Kauai County, Hawaii, which is all of the county excepts for the islands of Ka’ula Lehua, and Ni’ihau. The 2000 census population of Kauai (the island was 58, 303
There is no known meaning behind the name of Kauai. Native Hawaiian tradition indicates the name's origin in the legend of Hawaiʻiloa — the Polynesian navigator attributed with discovery of the Hawaiian Islands. The story relates how he named the island of Kauai after a favorite son; therefore a possible translation of Kauai is "place around the neck", meaning how a father would carry a favorite child. Another possible translation is "food season.
Kauai was known for its distinct dialect of the Hawaiian language before it went extinct there. Whereas the standard language today is based on the dialect of Hawaii Island, which has the sound [k] at the beginning of words, the Kauai dialect was known for pronouncing this as [t]. In effect, Kauai dialect retained the old pan-Polynesian /t/, while 'standard' Hawaii dialect has innovated and changed it to the [k]. Therefore, the native name for Kauai was Kauai, and the major settlement of Kapaau would have been called Tamara.
Kauai’s origins are volcanic. The highest peak on this mountainous island is Kawaikini at 5,243 feet (1,598 m).] The second highest peak is Mount Waiʻaleʻale near the center of the island, 5,148 feet (1,569 m) above sea level. One of the wettest spots on earth, with an annual average rainfall of 460 inches (1,200 cm), is located on the east side of Mount Waiʻaleʻale. The high annual rainfall has eroded deep valleys in the central mountains, carving out canyons with many scenic waterfalls. On the west side of the island, Waimea town is located at the mouth of the Waimea River, whose flow formed Waimea Canyon, one of the world's most scenic canyons, and which is part of Waimea Canyon State Park. At 3,000 feet (914 m) deep, Waimea Canyon is often referred to as "The Grand Canyon of the Pacific". The Na Pali Coast is a center for recreation in a wild setting, including kayaking past the beaches, or hiking on the trail along the coastal cliffs.

During the reign of King Kamehameha, the islands of Kauai and Niʻihau were the last Hawaiian Islands to join his Kingdom of Hawaii. Their ruler, Kaumualiʻi, resisted Kamehameha for years. King Kamehameha twice prepared a huge armada of ships and canoes to take the islands by force and twice failed; once due to a storm, and once due to an epidemic. In the face of the threat of a further invasion, however, Kaumualiʻi decided to join the kingdom without bloodshed, and became Kamehameha's vassal in 1810, ceding the island to the Kingdom of Hawaii upon his death in 1824. In 1815-17, Kaumualiʻi led secret negotiations with representatives of the Russian-American Company in an attempt to gain Russia's military help against Kamehameha; however, the negotiations folded and the Russians were forced to abandon all of their presence in Kauai, including Fort Elizabeth, after it was revealed that they did not have the support of Tsar Alexander I.

Parent County

  • 1905--Kauai County was created in 1905 from Lihue (old) County. County seat: Lihue [1]

Boundary Changes

Record Loss


Populated Places

Neighboring Counties

Honolulu --Should be Neighboring islands




  • 1849
  • 1850
  • 1866
  • 1890
  • 1900
  • 1910
  • 1920
  • 1930

Church History and Records



Local Histories






Vital Records

Societies and Libraries

Web Sites


  1. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).