Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Family Stories that Bind Us

This is a really cool article posted earlier this year in The New York Times.

Turns out family history is just as important for us to know as it is for us to "do." So true!

Thanks to middleagedmormonman for posting it!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Billion Graves Project

I heard about a while back, and now that my husband has an iPhone we thought we'd try it out, so we spent the late afternoon at a local cemetery photographing headstones, and I spent too long tonight transcribing and linking information to FamilySearch. This is so neat! I need to get some users on board in Japan, though gathering data from gravesites is not so simple there...

If you have some spare time and want to help others with their family history research, this is a fun and easy way to do it!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

I haven't forgotten!

I know I still have a lot of work ahead of me, and I am trying to get other things in order so I can move forward on it. There will be more to come!

This little guy wants me to find his family! (My dad as a child in Osaka. He passed away nearly 12 years ago now.)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Another Research Resource

A link to this blog popped up in Facebook today, and it looks like there is plenty of good information there.
Advantage Genealogy is written by Valerie Elkins, who runs a genealogy research service by the same name, which you can see at her business site here. If you want a kickstart for your Japanese genealogy and have some funds to spare, this might be a good place to go!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

FamilySearch Wiki Articles and Forums

I had no idea that there is a feature called Research Wiki on It looks like there is some good starter information there, and I am excited to read up a bit more and see what I can find there. Here's a link to the article on getting started with Japanese research:

There is also a research forum for Asian family history research where you can ask questions and see if anyone can help with your questions:

And, in keeping with the times, there is a Facebook page for Japanese research.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Dates and numbers: conversion charts

One of the first challenges you may come across in doing family history and dealing with koseki is reading the dates. The following are two fairly helpful charts for this.

First, a conversion chart for the Japanese calendar system. Traditionally, the year is recorded as the year in the reign of a particular emporer. For example, I was born in Showa 58, or 1983. The Koseki will only show the Japanese year, not the western year, but you can look it up here (click to view larger):

Another problem is that koseki may use antiquated characters. I'll include some additional charts for other kanji in other posts, but for now here is a chart that shows various written forms of each number.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

BYU Research Outlines

Here is a PDF compilation of several research guides and outlines for researching Japanese family history:

I am excited to go through them and glean some new information.

Starting on page 24 of this PDF is a copy of a pamphlet printed in Japanese entitled 日本の戸籍, or Japan's Family Registries. I have a hard copy of this pamphlet that I purchased at the Church distribution center in Tokyo and attempted to read at the time. It looks like it could be a pretty helpful resource, but I must admit that my reading skills are such that I am kind of intimidated by it. However, if I can't find an English translation of the booklet, I hope to do it myself. I think it will be worth the time both so that others can benefit from the information and so that I can go back and reference it without having to rack my brain trying to read it again.

Also, I'm planning on scanning the records I have collected so far so that I'll have digital copies, and I'm going to try to post some tutorials on how to glean information from these records - again for my benefit and the benefit of anyone who happens to stumble upon this blog.

I'm hoping that by posting these goals, I'll actually do them =).