I’ve been researching my ancestors for about 20 years. On my Hawaiian side, I’ve gone back five generations, and three generations on my Filipino side. I get so excited when I connect the dots in my family tree and discover a new family member, because I now have a name and story to share with my grandchildren.

I’ve been blessed with three granddaughters and two grandsons. Analea, 13, loves to draw and has her own blog. Olena, 11, loves to cook and listen to my stories. Hoku, 4, who loves to talk and show me how to use her iPad, is the sole survivor of triplets. My grandsons (her brothers) Nahoa and Koa, lived a few hours.

I tell my grandkids stories about their ancestors, including Uncle Travis, my son who passed away at age 23 and loved to draw. They want to one day own some of his drawings. When we visit Hilo, I make an effort to take them to the gravesites of their ancestors. Before my father passed away in HPP, Kea‘au, I took the girls to visit him and took pictures of each of their hands holding their great-grandfather.

The author’s grandchildren Olena, 11, Analea, 13, and Hoku, 4.

The author’s grandchildren Olena, 11, Analea, 13, and Hoku, 4.

A few years ago, I started a private family blog that only my husband and children can access. There, I share ancestors’ pictures and stories, journal entries from my youth, family traditions, photos of treasured items from my parents, and letters from my late grandparents. When my grandchildren are older, I will open this blog to them so they can learn about our family.

In February, I attended a genealogical convention in Utah, where I purchased four DNA kits for my family and am hoping to learn more about my family. I want my children and their future families to know where they came from and lessons that can help them in their lives. I want them to know they are connected to a rich heritage.