30 November 2012

FamilySearch.org upgrades

I've been waiting for the news to hear that Familysearch.org has updates for Family Tree. Here's what FamilySearch.org says,

"Family Tree merges the best features and data from new.FamilySearch.org and adds powerful tools for data accuracy, usability, and collaboration. Available now to current users of new.FamilySearch.org, Family Tree provides a way to share information, compare research, and go further faster by working together.


- You can try Family Tree by going to FamilySearch.org and signing in with your user name and password. Family Tree will then appear in the navigation menu at the top of the screen.
- View a video that shows 7 reasons to be excited about the upgrade to Family Tree.

Family Tree provides an updated approach to organizing and recording genealogy online. It will eventually replace new.FamilySearch.org as the Church's system for submitting names for temple work. As a user of Family Tree, you can:

Organize family information into a genealogy tree.
Easily submit names for temple work.
Edit and delete incorrect data, including relationships.
Connect and collaborate with others on shared family lines.
Provide sources and link to online information that shows where you found family information.
FamilySearch has created a training website to help you make the most out of Family Tree. It gives you access to training videos, a reference guide, webinars, practice exercises, and much more.

Development on Family Tree is progressing quickly, and several features will be added in the next few months. Some of these new features will include:

The ability to use Family Tree on behalf of someone else (helper).
Additional features to reduce merging of nonduplicate records.
The migration from new.FamilySearch.org of individual and family notes as well as sources entered by users.
The ability to print pedigree charts, family group records, and other reports.
We've come a long way with FamilySearch.org over the years, and we are committed to go even further. We invite you to begin your Family Tree journey today, and don't hesitate to let us know what you think!"

This news is exciting to me! Since I don't live in Samoa access to records are a little difficult for me but I'm hoping to work on genealogy collaboration with my relatives in Samoa with the new features on FamilyTree.

Join Family Tree:

22 November 2012

Thankful Thursday--

The smell of pumpkin pie is a great way to start my Thanksgiving Day off!! It's tempting to eat it for breakfast and forget the awesome turkey dinner that family and friends are preparing. I better not eat the pumpkin pie. 
Today I am thankful for genealogy. I am thankful for my grandma Mataniu. For her example and influence in pursing my interest of genealogy today. I still have much to accomplish and I hope that something on this blog will help someone somewhere find their Samoan families.
Have a great day!!!



16 November 2012

Samoa Land Records

I've been looking at ordering a few Samoa land records on microfilm from Family History Library Catalog. I would like to try to see if I could find land owned by my great grandfather or his family.
On the FamilySearch Wiki they have a great article on 'Samoa Land and Property' it's not clear who wrote it but I find the information to be helpful. Here is a view of the article.

Samoa and Land Property

About 90 percent of the land is communally owned by aiga. The existing tenure law on communal lands prohibits alienation of any real property except freehold land to any person whose blood is less that one-half Samoan. Unless the Governor approves the transfer in writing, it is unlawful for any matai of a Samoan family to alienate any family lands to any person or lease it for any term more than 55 years. ASG estimates that 1.5625 square miles of American Samoa's total area of 76.1 square miles are freehold land.

Most American Samoa land is still held communally. Family chiefs, or "matais" have the final say in land distribution. This has aided in keeping valuable land in the hands of idigenous people and in preserving ancient Samoan customs and traditions.

Inquiries about Matai Title and Land Claims, plantation ownership and records, and general land records should be directed to:

High Court of American Samoa 
Tutuila, AS 96799.
The Marines and other U.S. military branches used the islands as a base of operation during World War II. War damage claims for the years 1946 through 1953 and other military records may be found at:

NARA Pacific Region (San Francisco)
1000 Commodore Drive 
San Bruno, California 94066-2350
The Family History Library has the following sources:


Plantation records, 1942. Records provide the name of the plantation, the owner and who depended upon the plantation for support including the name, age, sex and relationship to the plantation owner). San Francisco Federal Records Center, San Bruno, California (FHL International film 1084654 Item 2).

Land claims, 1901-1965. High Court, Pago Pago, American Samoa (FHL International film Index 1084050 Item 3, 1901-1965 International films 1083316 - 1083330, and Land and title court index 1966-1973 International film 1083333).

Matai title court files, 1902-1973. High Court, Pago Pago, American Samoa (FHL 1902-1973 International Vault films 1083334 - 1083350, 1083374, 1083383 - 1083393).

War damage claims, 1946-1953. Includes applications for settlements of claims against the United States government for damages caused by the U.S. Marines, 1942-1944, on the Island of Tutuila, American Samoa with affidavits and other supporting documents. San Francisco Federal Records Center, San Bruno, California (FHL International films 1084793 - 1084800).

Land records, 1900-1959. Includes land appraisals, description and location of property. Office of Registrar of Titles. Federal Records Center, San Bruno, California (FHL International film 1084786).

Registers of Matai names and titles, 1895-1972. Includes claims of succession to Matai title with supporting affidavits and certificates permitting the usage of the title. The Matai name was the name taken taken by the head of the clan after election and entitled the clan chief to act in behalf of the clan to control and administer the communally owned property. Lands & Titles Division of the High Court, Pago Pago, Americam Samoa. Federal Records Center, San Francisco, California (FHL International film 1083950 and International Vault films 1083951 - 1083952, 1084046 - 1084048, 1084652 - 1084654 Item 1, and 1084049).

If you want to order a microfilm, here is the link to the Family History Library Catalog. Select 'Film number' type in your number and hit 'Search'. Click on the title of the microfilm to see more details. 

I'm planning on attending the Rootstech 2013 in Salt Lake City and the Family History Library is on the top of my list. I'm already getting my list of microfilms that I am planning to view and copy. 

Have you searched land records? What has been your experience? 

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10 November 2012

University of Auckland Library Photos

I spent most of my evening on the University of Auckland Library website. I poked around on the site and put my search in as "Samoa". Over 3,000 results showed up. I believe you cannot access the online books unless you are enrolled as a student. I tried  to access them.
Oh well, no luck.
I scrolled down to the "Format" section of jpeg.  There are over 2,000 jpegs.



I clicked on "jp2"







This was my first result. I clicked on "View online" and the photo appeared in a box below the result larger to view better. You can even zoom in on any part of the photo.

It was great to see old photos of Samoan places, events and more. I thought about all the photos of Samoan people that have no names. Their families may not even know that this photo of their ancestor exists.
Their is a lot of great information on this site, even better to access it if you are in Auckland. But if you are on the mainland like I am. Then you are limited to what you can view and access.

Take some time and have a look at the photos. Tell me what you found, what you liked, if a photo stood out for you. Post it in the comments below or on the SGG Facebook page.

SGG Honoring Veterans Day



This Veterans Day weekend, may we all take time to remember, honor and thank our family members and others who have served in the armed forces, defending the freedoms we enjoy every day.

History of Veteran's Day