Welcome to the Micronesia Genealogy Project

Welcome to the Micronesia Genealogy Project site. We provide genealogical and historical transcriptions relating to the islands that make of the region of Micronesia. If you have transcriptions which relate to this area or other material that you would be willing to share so that others can benefit, we would like to hear from you. Please see our transcription guidelines page for details on donating transcriptions. If you should have a specific question about the Micronesia Genealogy Project, please feel free to contact me Nathan Zipfel.

General Information

Micronesia is one of the three major divisions of the Pacific Islands, encompassing more than 2000 islands in the Pacific Ocean. Micronesia includes the Caroline Islands, Marshall Islands, Mariana Islands, Guam, Gilbert Islands and Naura. Micronesia (Greek for "small islands") consists mostly of atolls and small coral islands. Of the few volcanic islands, Guam is the largest, followed by Babelthuap in the Republic of Palau.

Several of the Islands are in need of a host, so if you'd be interested, please contact me.

Federated States of Micronesia

The Federated States of Micronesia are made up of some 607 islands which lie in the Western Pacific Ocean just above the Equator. The country is mostly made up of the Islands comprising those of Eastern and Western Caroline Islands. Since 1525, FSM has had a succession of sovereignties and administrations, including Portugal, Spain, Germany, Japan and the United States of America. The Honorable Tosiwo Nakayama became the first President of the nation in 1979.

Resources: Government

Republic of Palau

Palau adopted its flag in October 1980 when the islands became self-governing and proclaimed a Republic on 1 January 1981. The disk represents the moon as a symbol of national unity and destiny. The blue field is supposed to represent independence.

Palau was part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific, administered by the US. The flag for the Trust Territory was blue with six stars arranged in a hexagon. When independence came Palau and the Marshall Islands decided to separate from the rest of the group, which became the Federated States of Micronesia with the same blue flag with four stars instead of six, for Kosrae, Pohnpei, Truk and Yap.

Resources: CIA Factbook on Palau

Commonwealth of Northern Mariana's

Hafa Adai!
When Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan made landfall at the Marianas in 1521, he was searching for the Spice Islands. After taking on water and provisions, Magellan departed, but not before naming the islands after Mariana, the Queen of Spain. At the time of Magellan's arrival a strong indigenous population of Chamorros and Carolinians already inhabited the three main islands of Saipan, Tinian and Rota, and to a lesser extent, the ten smaller northern islands. Anthropologists generally agree that these first inhabitants migrated to The Marianas from Southwest Asia around 1500 BC.

Located in the western Pacific, the Northern Marianas are the tips of massive undersea mountains of both limestone uplift and volcanic origin. Its towns and cities rest against a backdrop of verdant forest or aquamarine waters. The three main islands have their own unique personalities, Saipan is the largest island, and the capitol, most of the island remains rural. Tinian and Rota offer a quiet respite, though they offer modern conveniences, these islands embody the charm and simplicity of rural life "the way it used to be"

North of the main islands lies an archipelago of sparsely inhabited smaller islands. Some are volcanically active and many host huge bird populations - Farallon De Medinilla, Anatahan, Sarigan, Guguan, Alamagan, Pagan, Agrihan, Asuncion, Maug and Farallon De Pajaros may be reached by charter boat, helicopter or small plane.

Resources: CIA Factbook

Republic of the Marshall Islands

In 1885 the islands Ralik and the rest of the Marshall Islands came officially into German hands, who entrusted their development to the so-called Jaluit Company ("Jaluit Gesellschaft") that used another flag (based on the national German of the era), until the monopoly of the company ceased and the German colony was created on 1906-04-01.

The flag was adopted (presumably by a native government under German influence) 1878-11-20 Suppressed in 1885. The deep blue background represents the Pacific Ocean. The white and orange bands representing the Ratak (Sunrise) and Ralik (Sunset) chains, respectively. The customary symbolism of orange as the color of bravery and white as the color of peace are also recognized. The star represents the cross of Christianity, with each of the 24 points signifying a municipal district of the RMI. The four main points represent the major centers of Majuro, Ebeye, Jaluit and Wotje.

Part of the Federated States of Micronesia: 1962-85. The Bikini Atoll (and two near atolls) adopted in 1987 a protest flag to recall to the American government its responsibility in the nuclear pollution and its obligations to the islanders.

Resources: Republic of the Marshall Islands, Government documents

Republic of Kiribati

Kiribati was first settled between 200 and 500 AD. Kiribati is an independent republic, of which are some 30 low lying coral islands comprising the Gilbert, Phoenix and Line groups of islands. The capital is Tarawa and the population of 65,000 is mainly Micronesian.

English is the official language, but Gilbertese and Kiribati are the main local languages. The flag is the banner of the arms that was given to Gilbert and Elice islands in 1937. Ellice became what we known as Tuvalu today, and Gilbert changed name to Kiribati, but the shield remained the same. This flag came in use in 1979 after the country became a republic.

"Kiribati" is pronounced Kirribarce (kih-rih-baht), and is a rendering into an Oceanic language form of the English name Gilberts (the shorthand form of the Gilbert Islands' name). So in one sense it didn't really change its name, just the spelling.

The climate is tropical and the wet season is from November to April. Local currency is the Australian dollar ($AUD)

Resources: Banaban Culture & Message Board

Guam

The island of Guam is approximately 30 miles in length, and is the peak of a submerged mountain rising 37,820 feet above the floor of the Mariana's Trench. The largest island in Micronesia, Guam is shaped like a footprint and was formed by the union of two volcanoes. Two-thirds of Guam is raised limestone with several volcanoes at Mount Santa Rosa and Mount Mataguak in the north and Mount Lamlam (1,334 feet) in the south.

Guam straddles the edge of the Asian Plate with the Pacific Plate thrusting below it. The Western shoreline faces the Philippine Sea while just a few miles away the Eastern beaches face the Pacific Ocean. Ancient perpendicular fault lines which collect water, now determine paths of existing tributaries. Guam is the westernmost of U.S. territories, lying west of the International Dateline and is 1 day ahead of the U.S. For many years after the World War II, the United States maintained a military installation on the island.

    Some Dates:
    "Guam's Liberation, 50 Years" - presents some of Guam's past in four moving segments:
  • Pre-contact and Spanish history through 1898 - prewar 1930s under American administration
  • Invasion 1941 Japan
  • Occupation 1942-44 Japan
  • Liberated 1944 American Forces
  • 1944 - US Territory
Resources: Guam Genealogy

Nauru

Discovered by Captain John Fearn in 1798, the Republic of Nauru is north of the Solomon Islands and just south of the equator. With 9,500 people, the majority being nauruan, while the balance made up by pacific islanders, asian and european. Nauruan is the predominant language, however English is widely spoken.

Nauruan people originated from a mixture of people from Polynesia, Micronesia and Melanesia. During the early 1800's, Nauru was a base for American whalers. In the late 1800's it came under German administration. In 1914 it was surrendered to Australia and eventually became independent in 1968, the world's smallest.

Nauru existed as an independent island society until it was annexed by Germany in 1888 as part of the Marshall Islands Protectorate. In 1900 a British company discovered phosphate on the island and negotiated with Germany for mining rights. In November 1914 Nauru was seized by Australian troops and remained in British control until 1921. At the end of the war, when the German colonies were detached, a League of Nations C Class Mandate was granted to Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain. The three countries provided for an Administration and set up the British Phosphate Commissioners (BPC) to run the phosphate industry.

In 1940 Nauru was occupied by the Japanese and 1200 Nauruans were deported to Truk. Only 700 survivors returned. In 1947 the island was placed under United Nations Trusteeship and Australia resumed administration on behalf of the three partner governments: Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain.

Nauru became an independent republic on 31 January 1968. The blue on the flag symbolises the Pacific Ocean, the gold band the Equator and the 12 pointed star 12 tribes of the Nauruan people.

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