O’ahu’s oldest Christian church began scanning over 200 years of documents

The oldest Christian church in O’ahu has started scanning over 200 years of religious documents. These include church administration records as well as documentation of baptisms, marriages, and funerals.

Kawaiaha’o Church in Honolulu received a grant of $ 98,000 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to digitize these documents and make them available to the public online.

Kawaiaha’o was established in 1820 and quickly became the primary place of worship for Hawaiian royalty. But many church files remained in filing cabinets in the basement.

Kenneth Makuakane, the senior pastor of Kawaiaha’o, says the church often receives requests from people wanting to browse the archives to help with family genealogy research.

“So the idea is to digitize them with metatags so that when people enter the site, they just have to go through the search engine and put in whatever kupuna name they want, and all these documents will be immediately made available to them – and he would have documents such as baptisms, marriages, births, ”Makuakane said.

“There are also meetings by the congregation, by the board of directors, and so you can see how the people lived, how they fellowship together, what they thought of how they wanted to affect the community outside. from them, “Makuakane told Hawai’i Public Radio.

Makuakane says they started digitizing the oldest documents from 1820 to 1830. They also hired an archivist to examine the entire collection and create a library system for the online archives.

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