Public Notices (Legal Ads) in Hawaii Newspapers

New laws. Public health issues. Distribution of an estate’s asset. Changes in government. These matters are useful when conducting biographical and genealogical research and appear in newspapers’ public notices (or legal advertisements), which include the following:

Government’s appropriation of money
Land ownership
Tax collection
Government officials
Elections for governmental positions
Public health issues (e.g. diseases)
Distribution of an estate’s assets (usually after the owner dies)
Businesses and organizations


Criminal acts

English newspapers in Hawaii posted them in the late 1800 and early 1900s, mostly in English, but sometimes in Hawaiian or Portuguese.

Some of the public notices can be seen below.

-Alice Kim

Search Strategies

1. In the field with the phrase, enter “by authority” and select Hawaii in the Select State(s) list boxes.

2. In the field with the words, choose 5 in the adjacent dropbox, enter one of the queries below, and select Hawaii in the Select State(s) list box: “order of notice,” “Notice to Motor Vehicle Owners,” “Notice to Creditors,” and “Notice of Attachment.”

3. In the field with the words, choose 10 in the adjacent dropbox, enter “circuit court hawaii,” and select Hawaii in the Select State(s) list box.

4. For Hawaiian public notices, in the field as a phrase, enter “olelo hoolaha.”

5. For Portuguese public notices, in the field as a phrase, enter “junta das terras publicas.”
Public Notice Examples
You may benefit from knowing what diseases are out there. You can find out from the public notices. The Board of Health of Honolulu announced public health related matters in the public notices, such as the reward for the first person who reports a plague:

Text: “By Authority: One hundred ($100.00) dollars reward. Office of the Board of Health, Honolulu, HI, March 6, 1900. The sum of one hundred ($100.00) dollars will be paid by the Board of Health to any person in the district of Honolulu, not a paid employee of the Board of Health or a physician, who shall first report a case of plague at the office of the Board of Health.
C.B. Wood, President Board of Health. 1451-3t”

The Independent., March 10, 1900, Image 1

Want to keep up to date on who are your government officials? Public notices declare the changes in government officials. For example, below is a proclamation of Queen Liliuokalani becoming the ruling monarch after the death of her predecessor, King Kalakaua:

Text: “It having pleased Almighty God to close the earthly career of King Kalakaua on the 20th inst. in San Francisco, California, U.S.A., We, the members of the Cabinet of His late Majesty, hereby proclaim, by virtue of the 22d article of the constitution, her royal highness the Princess Liliuokalani Queen of the Hawaiian islands, under the style and title of Liliuokalani.
God preserve the queen.
Given at Iolani Palace, this twenty-ninth day of January A.D. 1891.
J.A. Cummins, Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Godfrey Brown, Minister of Finance.
Chas N. Spencer, Minister of Interior.
A.P. Peterson, Attorney General.

The Hawaiian gazette., February 03, 1891, Page 4, Image 4

Are you interested in attending a grand ball or a fair by your local government? Because the government announce events in the notices. In the public notice below, the Hawaiian government announces a reception at Iolani Palace:

Text: “Reception at Iolani Palace.
On Wednesday, the 28th instant, His Majesty will hold a Reception at Iolani Palace. He will receive the Officers of the Hawaiian Government from 10 to 10:30 a.m.; the Diplomatic and Consular Corps from 10:30 to 11; and the Public from 11 to 12 noon.
C.H. Judd,
H.M. Chamberlain.
Chamberlain’s Office, Honolulu, Nov. 26, 1883.

The Daily bulletin., November 28, 1883, Image 2

Did a revolution happen recently? You can read about it in the public notice. The public notice below announces the revolution in the Hawaiian government, the establishment of the Provisional Government after the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy:

Text: “Act I. Relating to the Powers and Duties of the President and Executive Council. …
“All powers heretofore by law vested in, and all acts and duties required of, the Sovereign of the Hawaiian Kingdom, shall hereafter be vested in and performed by the President of the Provisional Government of the Hawaiian Islands, subject to the terms of the Proclamation…”

The Hawaiian gazette., January 24, 1893, Page 3, Image 3

Do you like reading about crime? Public notices may announce rewards for more information about a crime, such as the one below announcing a $25 reward for information about the theft of 25 coconut trees:

Text: “The above reward will be paid to any person who will give information as will lead to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons who will give information as will lead to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons who carried off some twenty-four cocoanut trees from the Beach Road, near Kakaako, between Saturday afternoon, January 27th, and Monday morning, January 29th.
Alex Young, Minister of the Interior.
Interior Office, Honolulu, Jan. 30, 1900.

The Independent (Honolulu, HI) 1895-1905, January 31, 1900, Image 2


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