You. you you. you. you. friended friends, you you. in the next episode of Cribs. Friens, dear brothers and sisters everywhere, Aloha and welcome to Hawaii. Thank you for joining our Family discovery day adventure.
We come to Hawaii to discover more about our family history. Earlier this year, we made a similar pilgrimage to Ireland for the same purpose.
We say our family because ever since Sister Gang and I were married, I have felt her Irish ancestors are my family.
And I have felt that I’m part of his wonderful Chinese family. Our Lindsay and Cunningham ancestors crossed the Atlantic from Ireland.
And our Char and Leo family crossed the Pacific. These families met in us and continue in our children and grandchildren. While details in our immigrant experiences vary, our gong and Lindsay family stories share wonderful similarities of faith, love, sacrifice, and hope. For my mother’s family, that hope for a better future led here to Hawaii.
In the heart of the Pacific, the Hawaiian Islands unite people with diverse ancestors from Asia and the Pacific, including the Philippines, Japan, Korea, China, and the Polynesian Islands, and also from Germany, Ireland, England, Portugal, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Italy, Africa, France, Scotland, and more.
As they say, a true melting pot.
Here in Hawaii, we will visit several locations important to our family’s history. Some hold sweet memories. Other locations may lead to new discoveries. Discovering and uniting families looks to the past and to the future. We understand ourselves better when we connect with both.
My mother’s grandparents were Chinese farmers who emigrated to Hawaii as contract laborers to work on the sugar plantations. The Chars, my mother’s father’s parents, came in 1888, and the Leos, my mother’s mother’s parents, emigrated in 1894. On Christmas Eve in 1911, Ahn Char and Margaret Leo were married. My mother is the seventh of their nine children. In the traditional Chinese way, we called my grandfather Gung Gung Char, and my grandmother, Popol Charr.
We’re here today in the northern part of the Big Island of Hawaii in Kuhala, where our grandfather, Gung Gung Char, said he was born. I’ve never been here. It’s great to be here.
And his parents were here as contract laborers on the sugar plantations.
And that was hard work to come and work on the sugar plantations in the late 1800s, but this is where they were. This is the actual area.
The canal that fed the sugarcane fields. How does it feel to be here?
It’s remarkable to be in a site that you know your family’s been in.
Can hear the birds. In some ways it’s very peaceful, tranquil. And yet you know that when they were working on the sugarcane plantation, it was hard work. It’s 12 hours days.
Can I share with you a few things we found on Family search? Yes, please. That have been recently posted there? So this is an audio recording of your grandfather that was made when he was about 70 years old, so towards the end of his life. And we’re just going to listen to what he has to say. This is in his own voice talking about his life.
They are born in Kuhala in 1890, February 21st. Then 80 years old, then I went to Kona, K’oho. That’s where my father had a plantation. Then when I was about 10 years old, then I came to Honolulu. one of myself came, and then I stayed with some friend in what is called grocery store.
It’s remarkable to hear Gung Gung’s voice.
Sound familiar? Yeah, it sounds very familiar.
At the house on his own.
Yeah, he’s on his own.
Only myself can’t imagine.
That’s how I came to Honolulu. So the way I started, I worked in that store, school time and all that. When it comes to Saturday, that’s the only day off I have. So I go with a boy. This man only gave me 35 cents to go and buy pork, buy fish, and buy cabbage. Those days where we lived reasonable ship. Instead, when I go down, we go buy paper and sell. Then I start to sell newspaper. I think in doing the two years, I make over $500. The old days, very good.
So his parents made $36 in a year each on the plantation. And he is a little 10 year old boy in Honolulu by himself is buying newspapers for a nickel and selling them for a dime. And in two years, he makes $500.
Well, he starts with the vegetable and the meat money, 35 cents. And that takes a little bit of confidence. It’s a little gutsy to take the food money and you sit to buy newspapers on the assumption, which proves true, that you can sell them for more than you bought them and then return the original funds back. But it shows he’s got some confidence and some gumption and some entrepreneurship.
Spirit. yeah, that’s what I think of when I think of my grandfather.
So here are some new things about your great grandfather. Can I show you what was found? Sure. So this is… We always assumed because your grandfather was born, he said in February 1890, here at Kuhala, we always assumed that they must have come shortly before that. But this, in fact, shows a passenger manifest from 1883and your great grandfather is here, Kui Charr, as a young laborer. How interesting. He came alone first, and we’ve never been able to find his coming before.
That’s not an unfamiliar pattern, right? It’s pioneering. You come and you see what it’s like, and then you go back and gather the family and think about your future. How neat.
To find them. And here is a photograph of the ship, the SS…
Of Madras. City of Madras. Those sails, that’s old school, right? That’s remarkable. That’s not a steamer, that’s an old.
School ship. Yeah, it’s a sailing ship. We talk about uniting with families. There are so many different ways to be united with a family, but one of them is to know something about them, know where they were and what they’re like and to see a picture and to have a feeling for what their life would have been. It’s really what makes our hearts connect in a way because you’re not strangers, you’re not distant, you’re close, you’re family.
So when your grandfather was eight years old, his family left the plantation in Kuhala and walked across these lava fields to Kona.
It’s 50 miles. You’re moving with a family of four young children. Probably we understand they had a donkey to carry some of it. But can you imagine going across this lava field in the heat of the day, day after day. And yet it’s part of the story. We’ve never been here before. And so when you think of discovery, why are we here? We’re here in part because we need to feel what it’s like to be on the lava fields and to think of the family moving from a plantation life, which was very hard, to a new life, and the hope for setting up a store and a different livelihood, and this is part of it. Often, pioneer heritage includes a physical hardship, a trial, a moving across difficult terrain, and maybe in a way, this is the plains, the lava fields for our family to have that opportunity to connect generations. It’s really quite moving.
So here we are at Ava Plantation. Over 40 years ago, before we were married, you spent a summer in Hawaii, and part of what you did was interview your relatives, your uncles and your great uncles. What did you learn?
I was just noticing that one of those interviews with my uncle Harry Leung, who’s the brother of Margarite Leung Char, Pupal Char’s brother, was conducted at a McDonald’s at the Cahala Mall on August 5, 1978. I typed it up and we put it on Family search.
So you were brilliant to record that in writing.
No, I wasn’t brilliant, but I was happy to have this first hand account. My parents, he says, so this is my great grandparents, worked at Eva Plantation. So here we are at Eva Plantation.
And this is where your grandmother was born.
He says, My father became the engineer at the pumping station. They ran the pumps for the sugarcane plantation. And he worked from 6 to 6, 12 hours shifts for $1 a day, which he thought was good money and was skilled to be able to do that. And the company gave them two acres of land. It says we had a pond. And guess what they had at the pond? Carp, frogs, Chinese catfish, and snails. Hawaiian snails.
Yeah, everything you might want to eat. All these delicacies. But they had a little two acre plot that they could grow here at Ewa Plantations. How many years has this.
Been since you’ve been here?
I don’t know. It’s been a couple. It’s just been a couple. Now, look. This is purple Charles.
Everything I’ve ever heard any family member say about her is that she was sweet and kind and tender and loving. I hope to meet her someday.
Well, I’m sure you will, and I’m sure she’ll love you. Here’s the grandpa gong gong chart. Also, February notice 18…
They say they shared the same birthday. Yeah. They always celebrated them together.
But as a child, I remember both Popo and gong gong. They would come to California and stay.
Grandpa used to train your.
Dog, right? Yeah, Gung Gung would. Every morning he had a piece of buttered toast for the dog and Sophie. Months after he had left, when the door opened, our dog would come running because he thought maybe there would be a little piece of butter toast for her. I also spent some summers here in Hawaii. It’s a tender thing to grow up to have a sense of your roots and your cousins. My mom, of course, is one of nine children and the only one to move to the mainland, to California. And so I had 50 cousins and so many family members. We would hunt for raw dads.
Dads? Yeah. We went down by the ponds and looked for Craw dads and did things that little boys do together, me and my cousins. When I see our grandparents, I think of all those family experiences. Here I am. Here’s my mother. Here’s gong gong char. And then back by generation, back to this first generation, Shermong Chui n, 23 generations continuously. Isn’t it remarkable to have specific generation by generation? And then you look at that with respect to our own family.
So this is a family group sheet of your mother and her siblings, which it’s lovely because it’s in her own handwriting. And this was done in 1986, you think? So that’s already starting to be a long time ago.
I think it’s wonderful that there’s a way that our mother has wanted so much to be connected to her father and her mother, not just in time, but also in eternity. It is such a delight and a privilege to be here at the Bishop Museum, this world famous museum in Honolulu, Hawaii. As I remember, it was founded in around 1889, so 133 years ago. And we’ve been coming to this museum as a family for many, many years.
Well, and you have a special reason to come because your grandfather, Aunt Charho was a photographer, actually donated 90,000 negatives from his studio collection to the museum here. And the photographs cover all kinds of things. They really document the immigration from all over Asia, especially to the Hawaiian Islands. And people. And local Hawaiian.
Yeah, and people growing up and so on.
So this is your great grandmother, and we’re and your great grandfather, Lio Kuei Char.
Those are remarkable. Remarkable pictures, aren’t they? Now, that’s a priceless picture.
That is so representative of his life.
That’s the happiest one. Look at how everyone is smiling. We remember them older, but you have a picture and it helps you to remember that we all have different ages in our experience. Nice to see them younger. Some families might not have had the funds to pay for a picture when a baby was born. And he generously said, It’s such a precious moment. Come in and have the picture taken, and then later on, when you have the money to pay for it, come back and pay for it. And this is.
Another World War I.
You hope that they were able to come back.
They’re amazing photos. Yeah.
Sometimes we think our decisions affect only ourselves. Discover our family reminds us otherwise. We’re more connected in our generations than we usually think. Often, the more we learn about so called distant relatives, sometimes in far away places with strange sounding names, the more we realize we truly are Kith and kin, close family. Families come in varying shapes and sizes with different circumstances and backgrounds. But no matter who we are or where we’re from, family helps us build unity and belonging.
This summer, we traveled to Dunedin, Dundonald County Down in Northern Ireland. There, we connected with a distant Lindsay cousin who was raising cattle on land our Scots Irish Lindsays have farmed for at least eight generations. Hi. Hi, E ddie. Nice to meet you.
Hi, I’m Garrett.
I’m James. James, Susan. Hi, James. Hey, E ddie. What’s your full name? Full name is James Lindsay. James Lindsay? Yes. How do you spell that? L, I, N, D, S, A way. That’s the right way. That’s the correct way. So are we cousins? Could be. Could be. Could be. Are you descended from Samuel or William? Samuel and Elizabeth Lindsay. Family tree starts up. Okay. And then that’s where we job it off now. I think.
We’re cousins. I think we’re long lost cousins. Come on, I’m going to give you a hug.
So here’s my Samuel and Elizabeth. So I’m descended from William, who’s the father of John, who’s the one who left for America. Okay. Gould of Samuel. That would be my great great grandfather. His farm was over there. So this is our mutual ancestor that we’re descended from is this Samuel Lindsay from 1725. So your branch of the Lindsay family has been here for 300 years. Yeah. We would be going by the Church records. According to McGrathen, he always said we would be one of the oldest families in the dawn, if not the oldest. Really?
Yeah. It’s very touching to think that we’re Kith and kin in some way. I felt very deeply when we were in the cemetery. We have Samuel.
Buried here. He’s your four time great grandfather.
He’s buried here with his four sons.
And lots of other family.
And then the one that you really want to see.
Lindsay, who died in 1840.
And then the.
Other family that’s buried with him here.
But that’s your three times great grandfathers.
This is our family. This is where they are. This is where they are. Great tender. We sometimes talk about a cemetery being for people who are gone, but they’re not gone. I feel so close. I feel very close. We’ve talked about this, but it’s different to be here. It’s really different to be here.
That’s sacred ground, isn’t it? Well, we’ll have to tell them about this.
I wish my father had.
Been able. Yeah, I don’t know if he’s been.
I think I’ll take home just more family stories. We’ve long had a commitment to help our children understand family stories. And I think we’ve had an emphasis on the gong side for a long time. And it’s nice to have some fresh things to say about the Lindsay family history.
Demographers estimate some 27 billion individuals have been born between 1,500 AD and the present, a geneological sweet spot for identifying individuals and relationships in family trees. Collectively, Family search International shared family tree currently includes about 1.4 billion names with some duplication. A good start, but still much to do. That’s where everyone can be part of one of the most exciting puzzles of all time to assemble the living family tree of mankind. Each person, each story matters. We begin with our living memory and existing records, our favorite family stories, photos, the shared experiences that make us who we are. Online archives and sources like Family search also make these records increasingly available as a free public service to connect and unite us.
The stories we preserve and share through generations can have a lasting impact on our hearts and minds. Here’s a family story about my great grandmother, Mary Ann Cunningham, and her father, Thomas. The Great potato famine in Ireland began in 1847. A blight, a fungus destroyed the potato crop over several years. Of the eight million people then living in Ireland, at least one million died of hunger or disease. Another million left the country. At the time of the Great Hunger, my ancestor, Thomas Cunningham, then a teenager, emigrated to Loughborough, England, to find work. In 1853, he married Mary Franks, a local young woman. They had two children, a son and a daughter. Three short years after their marriage, their young son, John died. Mary, the mother, passed in 1858. Thomas then contracted tuberculosis and as his health declined, he was forced to move into a workhouse. This meant leaving his daughter, my great grandmother, in the care of another family. Despite his dire circumstances, every evening, Thomas Cunningham walked to visit his young daughter. We know this because as an old woman, Mary Ann Cunningham told her daughters of her father’s devotion and daily kindness. I imagine him singing and telling her stories.
Thomas died when Mary Ann was just seven years old. The next 10 years were difficult for her. Yet this memory of her father’s love helped to sustain her through difficult times. As a teenager, Mary Ann found the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints and with her mother’s sister, joined the Saints in the Salt Lake Valley in 1873. Knowing of Thomas’s love for his daughter sparked a desire to find his parents and unite the family for eternity through sacred temple covenants. While we were in Ireland, we visited the small town of Atherneigh in County Galway, an area that recently discovered DNA evidence suggests might have been Thomas’s home. A local Church member, brother Brian Maloney, showed us around town as we sought to discover more about the Cunninghams.
Here we are at what we believe to be the Cunningham Homestead. We met a lovely farmer. He spoke to me and said that his father had heard of the Cunningham family that were there and that their family had emigrated at the time of the famine. He showed us the area where he had seen the original ruins of that family home. Oh, interesting. As the years progressed, and naturally as farming progressed, farmers tend to have value on the lands so the word went to leave runes that were there and that the runes couldn’t be used. So what they decided to do was take up those runes, plow the field. And I’m sure nowadays the runes, because it would have been good stone, would have been used for walls within the farm.
Area like that. So we know this was tenant farm for Cunningham.
That would be correct.
It’s hard to believe you could have this much land and the whole crop would be destroyed. Yeah.
It’s moving, isn’t it?
Yeah. Well, I think the family was right.
Here, right? Yeah.
This is their land, and this is where they were until the great hunger came and they needed to go somewhere else.
May I ask you, Sister Gung, do you find it a moving experience?
I do find it a moving experience. Brings a lot of questions about what their lives were like, what was the scope of their life. I mean, how far would they walk in a day and who would be their neighbors? Clearly, people had to work hard and make sacrifices and keep trying when things were very, very difficult. That perspective makes me grateful for who they are and for what they’ve given me and for the privilege and the opportunities that we have. And then that in gender is a sense of responsibility to go and do likewise.
Family history and efforts to unite families aren’t only about the past. They also look forward. As we saw with Mary Ann Cunningham, her strength and feeling of identity lives with us today. And as we saw with my grandfather on Char, our appreciation of family can deepen and change as we understand their times and circumstances.
Family traditions help connect generations. From early in our marriage, we’ve tried to honor heritage, culture, tradition, and family stories from both sides of our family. We love celebrating Western holidays such as Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving, and also Chinese holidays such as the Midautumn Festival and the Lunar New Year. Chinese celebrations with children and grandkids and children are enlivened by homemade treats and land terms.
One of my favorite family stories is that of my father as a 14 year old boy walking with his father across the Golden Gate Bridge on opening day, May 27, 1937. That day, 200,000 people walked across what was at the time, the world’s longest bridge span. I still try to imagine what it meant to my grandfather and father to share that moment in history. Perhaps their spirit of adventure influences our family to this day. This summer, July 2022, our family celebrated the 100th birthday anniversary of our father, Walter Gong, including by walking the mile and a quarter across the Golden Gate Bridge and then back. I think my father must have smiling at the thought of five gong family generations sharing that experience. His father, himself, his son, me, my wife, his grandson and his wife, and his great grandchildren all together.
Keeping family stories alive can be simple and fun. One Christmas, we created cards featuring photos and details from the lives of our Lindsay women progenitors. My nieces and sisters loved the cards. I think these Lindsay women cards were the most appreciated Christmas gift I’ve ever given. Here’s another example of how we’ve captured and preserved family stories. I invited each of Great Grandma Kong’s grandchildren to call her and ask her to share one story from her life that she wanted to be remembered through the generations. Those interactions were very positive. We then compiled what they had learned into a book that we titled Once Upon a Time in Old Honolulu. We hired an artist to illustrate the stories, experiences working in her father’s photography shop, selling vegetables with her grandmother in the local market, her memories of the morning of the Pearl Harbor attack. These are all now treasured stories that inspire her posterity. One story tells of how Great Grandma Gung’s mother pond her own jewelry to buy an embroidery silk jacket for her daughter, who at 16 was leaving Hawaii for the US mainland. When great grandma read that story to her great grandchildren, one of them said, Oh, Grandma Gung, your mother loved you more than money.
Our mother is now 97 years old. I’m grateful our family know her experiences growing up in Old Honolulu, and I’m grateful future family generations can also know their grandfathers and great grandmas through the stories, records, and memories each family can preserve and share. Faith, identity, place, grace. Our stories may be our own, but as we connect and belong, shared stories can unite us all. Susan and I experienced this when we met individuals of various ages, backgrounds, homelands, and life experiences at the historic tabernacle in Honolulu. This magnificent building is meaningful for me. My mother, as a young convert, took part in a choir in 1941 when the tabernacle was dedicated by President David O. Mckay. of course, we’ve been here many times, and each visit is just as special. Are so grateful to have this opportunity to talk with you. Can you think of something that you’ve done that will affect people following you. A member of the board.
Told us about indexing.
And how we can find more of our family members through this system. We want to be having to challenge ourself.
I’m just thankful that we were given a task or challenge to start indexing, and then we did it as a family, and I hope that it continues. I know that if I collect the family history now, then my sisters or my grandchildren will always be is at some point they would look for it so I can have it so I can share it with them. So I think it’s not just me finding it, but about me helping my generation to find it. Thank you.
Family history has, for some odd reason, guided me in a way to help others now through all the process that I’ve done. And I really enjoy it. Genology is a healing part of our family. My mom really had.
A rough life.
Her Chinese family. My uncle connected from China to our family.
My mom was.
Welcomed by those individual in China. My mom feel connected to this family now and feel very healed. I think that word healing is so deep and profound. It’s a beautiful blessing. It is really a blessing.
I think that the dress that you have is such a particularly beautiful dress. Is there a story behind that dress?
This is how we dress when we go to special occasions. So tonight when I found out I’m here, I said, I’ll put on my thong and lie down because this is how people will know that.
I’m a thonger. As you look at the group, which is here, it’s wonderful to think of all the different countries and all the different backgrounds, but also the different experiences.
I think family history is just so important because it helps us connect to our ancestors and feel where we can belong, I guess. My great great great grandmothers, she was baptized in 1890 in the island of Savatea, and she was the fifth person there who was baptized. Whenever I start to lose my faith a little bit, I think back to her story and I think, I can do this.
I can do this.
I can do this.
When I first started doing.
History, looking into it, because I’m the only member in my family, right?
I was amazed at how much work had already been done for my ancestors. And at.
First I was a little disappointed because.
Couldn’t do that.
And then it.
Made me realize.
It’s people like.
Willingly do that for others.
So it’s special.
It is special. Very special.
I think a lot of the success I’ve achieved.
In life, I owe to my great grandfather.
Because of his faithfulness. Family history, it really gives me hope. And heavenly father’s plan also gives me hope that I can see them happy together.
I guess we probably all feel the same way. Once you.
History, you can’t stop. It’s addicting. Thank you. This has been a very special time. I think many of us have thought of connections in our family and experiences. And I think we felt the Holy Ghost teaching and testifying that what we’re talking about is true. We just express our gratitude to you for sharing some very sacred and tender things and for letting us do this. I love the fact that family discovery adventures do not have a beginning or an end. These adventures continue in both directions, uniting family past and uniting family future. And each person’s lived experience and testimony can enrich our understanding of the covenant belonging we share with those we love.
Our time in Hawaii and Ireland has been deeply meaningful for us, making new friends and meeting family, tracing our history, creating memories in the places where our ancestors lived. This has brought us closer to those who made possible our lives. There’s a special spirit in this endeavor. Ultimately, this extraordinary family history work leads here to the house of the Lord, the temple, this beautiful Laie temple, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints, was dedicated by President Hever J. Grant in 1919. In sacred buildings like this, through our Savior, Jesus Christ, we make covenants with God and participate in sacred ordnances that bind us to Him and to each other in love. These covenants and ordinances are also available by proxy for our ancestors. In the temple, we can be sealed to our families for eternity. I hope that we will each make an effort to discover our own family stories, to record them, and to share them with our children and grandchildren. I hope that we will all gain greater appreciation for the struggles, courage, faith, and sacrifice of those who’ve gone before. I pray that as we come to know our ancestors, we will, in gratitude, perform proxy ordin for them in holy temples to enable them to have all the blessings of the Gospel.
I pray that we will live lives of goodness to honor their memories and to show thanks for the gift of life that they have given to us. We are grateful to have had the opportunity of sharing our family discovery experiences with you, and we wish you success in your efforts to find and unite your families.
Dear friends, dear brothers and sisters, we and our family are meant to be happy and forever. Our most important and precious relationships are not intended to be until death do you part. God, our heavenly father and his son, Jesus Christ, have prepared a divine plan of happiness, including sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples that make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally. I’m grateful to learn about the Leo, Char, Lindsay, and Cunningham families, their courage in new beginnings, their vision and sacrifice to overcome hardships, their efforts to belong and become in each generation. None of us is perfect, nor is any family. But we need not be afraid to look for, discover, or embrace our family. Whatever the joys, frictions, delights, challenges in our relationships, our Savior Jesus Christ offers us strength and wisdom beyond our own to bring peace to our past and hope to our future. As an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, I testify we can find new beginnings, covenant belonging, divine identity in Jesus Christ. Ultimately, our deepest identity comes from our relationship with God, including as found in the house of the Lord.
In our day, the Lord’s Prophet is inviting us to draw closer to God, our Father and our Savior, Jesus Christ in the Holy Temple as never before. The Lord’s Prophet is bringing sacred temple ordnances and covenants centered in Jesus Christ, closer to more of us in more places than ever before. Now, some 300 temples operating, announced, in design or under construction across the earth. Dear friends, dear brothers and sisters, may we become a welding link in our generations. May we connect with our ancestors and bless our current and future families. The families we have and the families we want. The trials and accomplishments of our ancestors can bless us with faith and strength today. Their love and sacrifices can increase our perspective and gratitude. In the office of my calling, I witness God our Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. They live and love you. Latterday revelation and restoration continued. Sacred temple ordinances and covenants connect in heaven what we treasure on earth. President Russell M. Nelson is the Lord’s living prophet today. The Holy scriptures, including the Bible and Book of Mormon, teach when all things are gathered in one in Jesus Christ, all things can work together for our good.
In Jesus Christ, it is possible. In Jesus Christ, it is true. This is the faith of our fathers, our heritage of faith in every footstep in the sacred and holy name of Jesus Christ. Amen. the beautiful, can’t.
Go when will toward in equity as loan, home I will agree now hers. Closh meeth on folk of our fathers, we will strive to win all nations unto thee. And through the truth that comes from God, mankind shall then be true. true, we free. Faith of our fathers, home of our fathers, Holy Faith, we will be true to thee, till then. Pray the Lord our prayer and the wind, we will be true to thee, till then. Death. you good to I am was not creating for me. For me. you. you you.