Collection, Hawaiian, History, Japanese American

Got Documents?

Birth Certificate from Hawaii

Birth Certificate from Hawaii

APA Collections Update from Noriko Sanefuji:

I recently had an opportunity to meet Maureen Kuwano Hinkle, who kept her parents’ documents from the early 1900’s!  Among the documents was a birth certificate.   Her father, Douglas Tsuneo Kuwano, was born in Puunene, Maui, Territory of Hawai`i in 1906. Douglas’ father was a laborer like many other Japanese immigrants in the sugarcane fields of Maui for most of his life, and his mother made clothes for plantation workers.

In the fall of 1926, Douglas enrolled at the University of Colorado where he majored in electrical engineering and graduated with honors in 1930.  He also met his future wife Daisy Sasaki his junior year, and they got married in June of 1930. The depression deprived Douglas of an anticipated position at Westinghouse in Pennsylvania, so the newlyweds went back to Hawai`i.

Douglas’ birth certificate is five pages long, including not only a photo, but a witness statement by his father’s friend. I wonder if this is the long birth certificate that President Obama was also questioned for?  On the other hand, Daisy, who was born in Colorado in 1909, had a much different birth certificate. It is only one page, without a photo, and was not filed until 1927.  It is interesting to note that there is a section on “Legitimate” status and what they listed under “color” might be surprising.

Maureen also donated some travel documents, passport, and her parent’s wedding certificate.

Birth Certificate from Colorado

Birth Certificate from Colorado

Certificate of Marriage

Certificate of Marriage

All documents donated by Maureen Kuwano Hinkle
Source: Meeting with Maureen Kuwano Hinkle


One thought on “Got Documents?

  1. Marisa Louie says:

    The notation “4333/1503″ in the upper left-hand corner of Mr. Kuwano’s birth certificate refers to his Immigration & Naturalization Service (INS) file. The “4333” case files contained applications for Certificates of Citizenship for individuals born in Hawaii. Only a handful of these “4333” case files were transferred to the National Archives at San Francisco; unfortunately, Mr. Kuwano’s is not among them.

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