Genealogy / Family History
Discover and research your Japanese American family history with our webinar series and special workshops!
- TBA – check back soon!
- NEW! Online access to pre-recorded video sessions of Your Family, Your History – Online Workshop Series on Researching, Preserving and Sharing Your Japanese American Roots with Genealogist Linda Harms Okazaki
- Purchase lifetime password access to stream pre-recorded videos of the webinar series sessions on this page (see embedded videos below)
- Lifetime online course access prices: $15 Center Members, $25 General Public
- NEW! Join the Center’s genealogy/family history online community on our Facebook group to share information on your family history and community history findings, research tips and to stay up to date on future genealogy programs!
- May 13 – August 5, 2020: Your Family, Your History – Online Workshop Series on Researching, Preserving and Sharing Your Japanese American Roots with Genealogist Linda Harms Okazaki
- June 20, 2020: Japanese Family Names and Crests (Kamon) – Genealogy Webinar with Chester Hashizume
Accompanying Documents (click to download):
1. Discovering Your Japanese American Roots – Family Names and Crests
2. 100 Most Popular Japanese Surnames
3. Common Japanese Family Names
Your Family, Your History with Genealogist Linda Harms Okazaki and the Center: Online Workshop Series on Researching, Preserving and Sharing Your Japanese American Roots
Generously Supported by The Henri and Tomoye Takahashi Charitable Foundation
Have you wanted to start researching your family history but didn’t know how to begin? Do you want to write up your family story but needed some assistance? The Center’s Your Family, Your History genealogy course is the perfect way to introduce you to genealogy and get you started over the course of 8 previously recorded webinar lessons! Please join genealogist, Linda Harms Okazaki, as she takes you on a genealogy journey. She will guide you through the research, and help you to write your story.
Our webinar series was originally held and recorded bi-weekly from May 13, 2020 to August 5, 2020, with a full registration capacity of 30 participants for the course. We will offer the course again in the future for new participants to provide opportunities for in-class discussion and genealogist guidance. In addition to the presentation by Linda, each session includes a homework assignment and culminates with sharing your final written project.
Can’t wait for our next live class sessions? Purchase online access to previously recorded sessions! Lifetime access to view the password-protected webinar sessions below is $15 for Center members, $25 for the general public.
About Linda Harms Okazaki:
Linda Harms Okazaki is a fourth-generation Californian, active in the genealogy and Japanese American communities in California and beyond. She is passionate about teaching Nikkei to research, document, and share their personal family histories. Her other areas of research include upstate New York, England, Australia, and the use of DNA in genealogy. Linda has been researching her husband’s ancestry since 2012, documenting his family in the internment camps and in Japan. A charter member of the Nikkei Genealogical Society, and a consultant for Ancestry.com’s Progenealogists, she is also a featured columnist for the Nichi Bei Weekly. Her column, Finding Your Nikkei Roots, is published bimonthly. Her guide to Finding Your Japanese Roots was updated in 2020 and is available in hard copy. Ms. Okazaki is the author of numerous articles, including the recent National Genealogical Society magazine article “Paper Sons and Picture Brides,” which was co-authored by Grant Din. She is a member of as the Association of Professional Genealogists, the Genealogical Speaker’s Guild, and the Daughters of the American Revolution. Linda currently serves as the past president of the California Genealogical Society, as a board member of the Nichi Bei Foundation, and a family history consultant for Densho.
Ms. Okazaki holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Development and a Master of Arts degree in Education. She can be reached at LindasOrchard@gmail.com.
Course Video Recordings and Class Materials
1. Introduction to Family History
This initial session covers getting started in genealogy, organization, pedigree charts and family group sheets, interviewing relatives, navigating websites, planning a writing project, and will end with an opportunity to “ask the genealogist.”
Watch Session 1:
Download Session 1 Course Materials:
2. Finding U.S. Records
Basic records, including census, land, naturalization, vital, plus newspapers, city directories, manuscript collections will be covered. Camp records to be covered in next session.
Watch Session 2 (Password Required):
Download Session 2 Course Materials:
- Finding Your Japanese Roots in the U.S. and in Japan
- Session 2 Class Materials
- Session 2 Presentation Slides
3. Camp Records
Learn how to order camp records from the National Archives. Assembly Centers, WRA camps, and DoJ camps will be covered.
Watch Session 3 (Password Required):
Download Session 3 Course Materials:
- Session 3 Presentation Slides
- List of National Archives Record Groups Related to WWII Incarceration Camps
4. Japanese Family Names and Crests (Kamon) with Chester Hashizume
Learn about traditional Japanese family name meanings and origins, as well as family crests and designs.
Watch Session 4 (No Password Required):
Download Session 4 Course Materials:
- Discovering Your Japanese American Roots – Family Names and Crests
- 100 Most Popular Japanese Surnames
- Common Japanese Family Names
5. Records in Japan
Learn about conducting research on your family’s ancestral records when travelling to Japan, including how to obtain your koseki, kakocho, okaka and more.
Watch Session 5 (Password Required):
Download Session 5 Course Materials:
6. Writing workshop #1
Overcoming writer’s block, brick walls, and other challenges.
Watch Session 6 (Password Required)
Download Session 6 Course Materials:
7. Writing workshop #2
Proof reading, how to layout and print your project/book.
Watch Session 7 (Password Required)
Download Session 7 Course Materials:
8. Project Presentations
Present your completed written family history projects to other program participants. Congratulations! You did it!
Watch Session 8 (Password Required)
Future add-on workshops and webinars:
Potential add-on sessions include:
- “What’s All the Fuss about DNA?”
- “Planning a Research Trip.”