Land Grants

Land Grants issued between 1846 and 1922
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About Land Grants

About Land Grants

(1846-1922 and beyond)

Waihona ‘Aina Corp. has film copies of the Land Grants issued between 1846 and 1922. Land Grants (LGs) are, however, still being issued today. Waihona ‘Aina transcribes each document so it can be mined for every piece of information and it is in an in-progress database. A document not yet transcribed can usually be completed within 24 hours, if we receive a call, e-mail or fax requesting it. To access the database with a known number, put the number you wish to see in the claimant box, for example put 05484.2 OR 0005484.2.

At the request of Thomas T. Shirai, Jr., of Mokuleia, we are rectifying a long-overdue omission he noted in the Land Grant index of names. Waihona Aina will list all the names of grantees listed within the documents instead of the former listing (i.e. Kalauohaena et al). The Waihona Aina Corporation Board members thank Mr. Shirai for bringing this omission to our attention. He notes that ?our kupuna memories are kept alive with every website like also supplied information not available in the index for grants not yet completed, or completed without adding Ahupua'a information. He also noted and we have added a spelling correction for those grants awarded in Auku- which should be Aukuu.

Historical Background

At the time of the Mahele, some of the land was the King’s own land which later became known as Ceded Lands. Other lands in the possession of ali’i were returned to the King in exchange for Commutation of property the ali`i kept. Some of these returned lands became Government lands and were sold by the government to generate income for the Kingdom, since the King gave up his traditional right to collect taxes and goods following the Mahele. (For more detail refer to Curtis J. Lyons, A History of Hawaiian Government Survey with notes on Land Matters in Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaiian Gazette Co., 1903; p. 4-5).
The earliest LG records (1846) are in both English and Hawaiian. If the Government land was sold to a foreigner the text is in English. If the purchaser were Hawaiian the documents is in Hawaiian. By 1915 the documents became written entirely in English, regardless of the purchaser’s ethnicity.

Land Grants are issued in the following various forms: On cash Freehold Agreement, Cash purchase, On Cash purchase under Preference Right, On Compromise and Equitable Settlement, On Land Exchange, Issued on Right of Purchase Lease, On Sale at Public Auction for Cash, and Issued on Special Homestead Agreement.

Land Grants are sometimes confused with the Royal Patent Land Grants, especially after the word Royal was removed after the Overthrow. In some government records, such as those of the Boundary Commission Land Grant may refer either to Royal Patent series or Land Grant series. If confused, please check both the RP database and LG database for the information you are seeking.

Robert H. Stauffer, in his 2004 book, Kahana: How the Land Was Lost (Univeristy of Hawai`i Press, Honolulu, HI) says that about 90 percent of the government lands capable of cultivation were sold during the 1850s noting that the large parcels were sold to Haole (foreign residents). Many lands were also subdivided into strips and sold to Hawaiians and others dispossessed Mahele. These maka`ainana (native citizens) formed Hui with commonly- held-land owned by the group. (p. 109).

In portions of Wai`anae District on O`ahu, Kaupo on Maui, Moloa‘a on Kaua‘i, among other places, Hawaiians opted to buy their land instead of filing a claim with the Land Commission. Some families had been so decimated by introduced diseases that there were too few left to work their lands. Several families, banding together, formed a Hui to purchase combined lands through a Land Grant. Elsewhere, maka‘ainana were encouraged by advisors (among whom were some missionaries) to purchase rather than settling ownership of lands through the Land Commission system.

Waihona 'Aina information

Hard copy and microfiche of these documents are not available for use at the Hawaii State Archives but can be ordered at the State Department of Land and Natural Resources (DNLR). We are indebted to the personnel of the Archives as well as those at Advanced Micro-Image Systems Hawaii, Inc. for making CDs of these images available to us.

Waihona `Aina Corp. has microfilm documentation for Land Grants up through #8091 in 1922 (LG database #08091). The numbers continue through the present. We aspire to eventually purchasing and adding these other documents to the Waihona `Aina Corp. LG database.

Each record has a text source with Book & page number of the recorded document, and the microfilm image number. Several documents noted to date are missing a final page. The Department of Land and Natural Resources has been advised and their records noted, but in other cases DLNR has not yet been notified. An error in recording was made and there are no valid records from No. 2230 through 2329.

How to Do Searches

Numbers: Use 5 digits minimum as explained earlier. Duplicate numbers were issued for at least 28 land grants. Waihona ‘Aina, for search purposes, has numbered the second record as XXXXX.2, i.e 05484.2. A triplicate number was issued in two cases and these records appear as XXXXX.3. There are also a few records which appear originally as XXXXXA and XXXXXB.

Names: the last name is given first. Searching can be done with first or last names. For a name beginning with Board of Trustees, or Trustees for, or an Evangelical Association connected with a church, Waihona 'Aina has instead listed the name of the Grantee as the 1) Person for whom the land is held in trust, or
2) the specific Church held by the Association, unless the church name is not given, in which case the association is listed, or
3) Land specified as part of an Estate trust is searchable by any word in text file or by the name of the beneficiary.
When in doubt, search for the ahupua‘a and the search table results will show you all your options.
Where initials stand for a first name, the terms kane male, or wahine female have been added to the name. Where first names are not familiar to the general public, such as in some Japanese, Chinese, English and even Hawaiian names, kane and wahine have also been added, where known.

For Portuguese names with a particle de, dos, da, i.e., such as de Costa or dos Reis, Waihona 'Aina has kept the particle before the name, however, searches can also be done with Costa or Reis alone.
For Chinese names with a possible double name, such as Chung Hoon, Chun Hoon, Ah Sing, the name is left as listed in the index but again, either part can be searched for in the name box.

Place: The district name is given both with its name at the time of the first records and correspond to names in the Mahele database and later names. Subsequent name changes for districts such as Kona to Honolulu District and many of Maui older districts become the all-encompassing Makawao are given both names where known. This practice allows you to correlate Land Grant Patents with Royal Patent Land Claims (later Land Claim Patents) and Boundary Commission records. The Ahupua‘a and area are given when the ahupua‘a name is known. The official State index at the Archives lists the area, such as Alewa Heights, but in our database you should be able to search for either Honolulu ahupua‘a or Alewa or both. A specific area is therefore the first way to do a search, but if nothing is found, try a larger known land area and your search results will show you various options.

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