October 02, 2013
At MGC, we do our best to give you multiple ways to search for your genealogy, from databases to books to microfilm. And our topics range from Civil War history to researching your Cherokee, Irish, or German ancestry. In the spirit of trying to encompass more than European ancestry or early American ancestry, we want to highlight many of our other ethnic resources. So, I set off on a journey to find MGC’s resources for Samoan genealogy research.
And guess what I found? A map of Micronesia, a map of the Pacific Islands, and the Historical Dictionary of Polynesia. WOW! No How-to’s? Or even a history on American Samoa? I was floored. Now my search had a larger purpose. We need resources like that here. I turned to FamilySearch.org for more information on how to start Samoan research and where I could find additional resources. There wasn’t much. But, through exploring their information, I did find out that Samoan family history is largely an oral tradition. Now I knew finding resources for this group wasn’t going to be easy. I turned to the only place I was for sure I could find something…Google.
By doing some quick searches on Google, I found this fantastic blog, Samoan Genealogy Group, that had been featured in Family Tree Magazine. They update their site at least once a week, if not more.Through their site, I discovered Family Search had oral genealogies through Community Trees for Pacific Islanders, including American Samoa. Then Google led me to Pinterest where I found book covers of Samoan histories. I was able to cross-reference those titles to Google Books to capture the ISBN numbers. And then I submitted those to collection development in an attempt to locate and purchase those titles.
I found that Independence, MO has the largest population of Samoans in the Midwest. Last time I checked, MGC was in Independence! All of this got me thinking? What other resources might we be able to add to our collections? What international records can we help you find if we don’t have them handy for you? We want you to know that just because we might not have it, we can put you on a path to discovering the resources available. And, we’ll take the extra steps to try and gather those resources here. If you have Samoan ancestry, please consider commenting with some of the resources you have found or any books that might be useful to other researchers.
Midwest Genealogy Center