When my Hawaiian grandmother and her sister were born, in the last years of the Hawaiian kingdom, they did not receive birth certificates. At that time, there were many births at home, or at the homes of family friends serving as midwives, where the formalities such as birth certificates were not part of the process.
So some 60 years later, in mid-1948, the two women each submitted an application for a Certificate of Hawaiian Birth. This involved providing testimony about their parents and siblings, with supporting testimony by family friends who could verify they had been born in Hawaii.
My grandmother, Heleualani Eva Cathcart Yonge, was the older sister. Helen Mary Kahooilimoku Cathcart McPherson was two years younger. Their father, Robert William Cathcart, was Irish. Their mother, Kina, was Hawaiian.
The records show their applications were supported by Jennie Wilson, who was married to then-Honolulu mayor and one of the founders of Hawaii’s Democratic Party, John H. Wilson.
Wilson testified she was a “schoolmate” of the girls’ mother, Kina.
Further support also came from Harriett Baker, who I know little about. Baker testified that Helen was born at her family home, near the corner of Punchbowl and Vineyard, with her mother assisting in the birth.
In any case, I found portions of their applications, with some of the supporting testimony, in my sister’s papers. These were duplicated from copies made in 1979 and filed in the Mormon’s genealogical library.
–> View portions of the Applications for Certificate of Hawaiian Birth filed by my grandmother and her sister in 1948.