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Looking into the Life of a Family Ancestor
Skull Valley is a desert area in Tooele County, Utah, about 80 miles southwest from Salt Lake City. Today this area accommodates military training facilities, but over a century before, it was the home to a community of Hawaiian settlers who left their scenic island in 1889 to be in Utah, their church’s headquarters. The community was named Iosepa and remained there for 28 years before the Hawaiian settlers moved back to Hawaii in 1917.
One of those settlers was my family ancestor, George Alapa, my great-grandfather. Born to Hawaiian parents, George grew up in the small community of Iosepa where he helped his family with farming and raising his younger siblings. My uncle recalled a time when his grandfather reminisced on the struggling times in Iosepa. It took him two days to travel to Salt Lake City to pick up supplies. At one time, he was sent to Salt Lake City to bring a milk cow back to Iosepa, a journey which took a full month. Despite the hardships of living in Iosepa, the Hawaiian settlers persevered to build a thriving community so that they could be close to their church headquarters.
Iosepa was also the place where George met and married my great-grandmother Alice Savaiigaea. She had come to Iosepa with church missionaries from American Samoa. In 1916, my grandmother was born in Iosepa and one year later, she and her parents moved back to Hawaii, making a home in Laie, a small town on the island of Oahu.
In college, I took a genealogy class was intrigued to discover the history of my family ancestor, George Alapa. He and Alice raised the rest of their six children in Laie. Their children remained close by and gave them many grandchildren, including my father. My dad reflects on being raised by his grandparents among his cousins. He shared a close bond with all of his cousins and that closeness still exists today. I have many relatives both on the mainland and living in the islands that I am close to because of our shared ancestry.
As an individual with many different traits and attributes, it is valuable to trace the lives of family ancestors so that you can understand your inheritance of physical and personal qualities. It is also beneficial to trace the history of a family ancestor so that you can discover your current relatives. When I attended a family reunion, my dad explained my relationship with some unfamiliar faces. He traced them back to my great grandfather, and from there I am able to distinguish the relationship. Because I have done a lot research on my family ancestors, I have become very knowledgeable on my own lineage through that descendent.
With so many advances in technology, it has never been easier to do research on your family ancestors. Resources like the library or the Internet allow you ancestral information simply by providing the first and last name of your ancestor. There are even companies dedicated to providing you with DNA results to determine your relationship with a potential ancestor. Start doing research today and you will discover the valuable history of your own family heritage.
Relative Genetics makes it possible to verify that you are related to an individual you believe to be a family ancestor.
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