An old proverb states that "the eyes are the windows into the soul." A genealogy corollary is that "a photo is a window into the lives of your ancestors."
I love old photos, whether they are portraits of my ancestors or historical photos for the period when they lived. And it is important to a complete research that one attempts to understand the environment that surrounds our ancestors' lives if one wants to truly appreciate what they went through.
So where can they be found? Obviously the best resource is our own photo albums and those that our relatives possess. But what about other resources? Many archives, historical societies, libraries and genealogical societies have collections of old photos. And in the past few years there has been a massive movement towards making these historical photo collections available online. Some have search capabilities where you can actually put in a surname or a location, name of a building or historical event and find what is available.
For the state of Hawaii what collections are available for you to browse and/or search online? Here is a list of sites to start with. Please feel free to add in the comments other online resources that you might be aware of in the state.
Please be aware that there may be very strict rules regarding downloading or other use of the images that you may find. Copyright and other legal protections may be in force. Make sure that you read the limitations of use for any image that you find in these collections and wish to download and/or copy. It is your responsibility to adhere to the rules for all of these collections.
Please note that links to these sites may change in the future. The author (me) will not be constantly checking and updating these links, so if you find a broken link, please use your favorite search engine to locate the new link.
(Updated December, 2020; recently added links are in BOLD)
- Aloha Hawaiʻi Scrapbook
- Brother Bertram Photo Collection
- BYU Hawaii Photo Collections
- Center for Korean Studies Digital Archive
- City and County of Honolulu Historic Photograph Collection
- Hawaii Ancient Faces
- Hawaii Dead Fred
- Hawaii History Photo Gallery
- Hawaii History Photos
- Hawaii in the 1950s Photos
- Hawaii Old Family Photos
- Hawaii Penny Postcards
- Hawaii State Archive Digital Collections
- Hawaii Times Photo Archives Foundation - Nippu Jiji Photograph Archive
- Hawaii Vintage Pictures
- Hawaii War Records Depository Photos
- Hawaii, DP.LA Photos
- Hawaii, Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Black-and-White Negatives
- Hawaiian Historical Society Photograph Collection
- Hawaiian Mission Children's Society Library - Carte De Visite Photograph Collection
- Hawaiian Mission Children's Society Library - Family Photograph Collection
- Hawaiian Mission Children's Society Library - Photograph Collection
- Hawaiian Photo Album
- Henry Warner's Hawaii Photo Album - 1932-1943
- Historical Hawaii
- Historical Hawaii Photos
- Honolulu in 1888 - Photos
- Kamehameha Schools Museum Photo Archive
- Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Online Catalog
- Library of Congress Prints & Photographs - Hawaii
- Maui Historic Photos
- Molokai Historic Photos
- National Archives - Digital Photograph Collections
- Native Hawaiians Kanaka Maoli
- Ni'ihau Historic Photos
- Oahu Historic Properties
- Old Hawaii Photos
- Old Hawai'I Photos
- Old Hawaiian Photos
- Old Honolulu Photos
- Pacific Aviation Museum - Pearl Harbor Photos
- Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum - Honolulu
- Photos of The Territory of Hawaii in the 1950s
- Polynesian Cultural Center Photo Collection, 1961-1979
- Queen Liliʻuokalani Photograph Exhibition
- Smithsonian Images
- Ulukau - Brother Bertram Photograph Collection
- Ulukau - Ed Greevy Photograph Collection
- University of Hawaii, Manoa Digital Photos
For historical photos from other states as well as articles about photo research, please visit the Photos page.
Good Luck and Happy Hunting!
For other Free Hawaii Links, click on the category of interest: