Densho partnered with Linda Harms Okazaki, noted expert in Japanese American genealogy, to present a 10-part webinar series to help families research and preserve their history. Go in-depth on one subject like records in Japan, navigating genealogy websites, or doing your own oral histories. Watch one or all 10 and get ready to dive into your own research.
*This series originally aired between April and August 2020. You can view recordings for all of the webinars using the links below.
Introduction to Genealogy
Densho Family History Program with Tom Ikeda, followed by a discussion by Linda Harms Okazaki about the importance of family history and tips for getting started with your search. Run time: 01:09:39
So much of our research requires knowing how to navigate websites. Although not everything is online, there are a lot of resources available at our fingertips which can help the family historian. Caitlin Oiye Coon will show you how to navigate the resources on the Densho website. Linda Harms Okazaki will help you with strategies for successful research utilizing Ancestry.com, FamilySearch.org, and more. Run time: 01:14:57
It’s important to understand where records are located, how to find or order them, and how to extract critical data. Learn about some of the most important documents for your family history journey, including vital records, census, land and more. Some of the information is necessary for jumping the pond and researching in Japan. Run time: 00:56:41
Have you always wondered when your ancestors first immigrated? Did you know that Japanese immigrants and their Nisei children often traveled back to Japan to visit relatives, maintain businesses, or to be educated? Learn how to search a variety of immigration records in this session, beginning with passenger manifests and moving on to Immigration Investigative Case Files, A-files and more. Linda Harms Okazaki will be joined by Marisa Louie Lee, archival researcher specializing in federal records. Run time: 01:14:38
Incarceration Camp Records
Most Nikkei from the western states were incarcerated during WWII. Some individuals came from other states and even Latin America. You will learn about the abundance of archival material at the National Archives pertaining to the War Relocation Authority and the Department of Justice. Linda Harms Okazaki will be joined by Brian Niiya, Densho’s Content Director. Run time: 00:56:20
Many Nikkei registered for the draft in WWI and WWII. Some of them served. During this session, we will cover how to go about finding U.S. military records for your ancestors. Linda Harms Okazaki will be joined by Jonathan Webb Deiss, professional researcher, military historian and genealogist. Run time: 00:56:42
Records in Japan
Privacy laws in Japan, coupled with the language barrier, makes searching for Japanese records seem impossible. It might be daunting, but it is absolutely possible! Learn what records are available in Japan, and how you can use the documents found in your US research to obtain those Japanese materials. Run time: 01.05.37
Preserving Your Family Archives
Everyone has their own family archives. They can be as simple as the photos on your phone or as sprawling as the boxes and boxes of materials spread across your extended family. Join Densho staff to learn family archives essentials, such as how to decide what to keep, best ways to preserve items, and how to digitize. Run time: 01:07:02
Writing Your Family History
What do you do with all the research you conduct and the stories you collect? Your family history should be shared but don’t let it daunt you. Linda Harms Okazaki will share tips and strategies on writing your family’s history. Run time: 00:59:15
Recording Oral Histories
An essential way to preserve your family’s stories is through oral history. It is one thing to look through your grandmother’s photo album. It is so much richer if you can record your grandmother telling you about the pictures. Learn best practices for conducting and recording your own oral history interviews with Tom Ikeda. Run time: 01:14:07
Organizing Your Family History Research
Researching your family history is a labor of love. But do you sometimes feel like you are drowning under a pile of paper, have no idea what to do with all of your findings, or can’t even find those records on your hard drive? Learn how to tackle that growing mountain of data. Linda Harms Okazaki shares strategies to help you start your research, keep track of your findings, and establish naming conventions for both digital and paper files.
Introducing the 1950 U.S. Federal Census
The 1950 U.S. Census was publicly released on 1 April 2022, 72 years after it was enumerated. Genealogist Linda Harms Okazaki shows you how to find the 1950 census, help you to understand the nuances of the data, and share strategies for locating your relatives.