Ohana Means Family Or Why You Should Use Facebook For Family History

Ohana Means Family Or Why You Should Use Facebook For Family History

One day, while Google-ing for dead people, I came across an announcement about a family reunion for descendants for Captain Thomas Mossman and his wife Mary Ann Lewis. I so excited because:

  1. Those are my 3rd great grandparents
  2. There was going to be a reunion 
  3. It was in HAWAII! Thank goodness my ancestors didn’t settle in South Dakota! 
My family line left the aloha state for California with my grandmother. Something about education, pffffffft! what were they thinking?! Anyways, because of the move, my family line had drifted away from their Hawaiian ohana. This was a great chance to reconnect with my cousins and learn more about my ancestry.

My husband, 2 daughters, mom, aunt, uncle and 2 cousins all made that reunion and had a glorious time meeting and connecting with our new extended family. We have cousins with ethnicity from Polynesia, Japan, China, Portugal and everywhere else too – how cool is that! 

Thomas Mossman started his career here as a sail maker
 Thomas Mossman was born in 1 April 1801 in Tweedmouth, Northumberland, England. Thomas was the fourth son of Robert and Mary (Steel) Mossman. Thomas started out as a sailmaker and ended up as a Master Mariner and captain of his own ship.

Thomas was granted a marriage license by the Vicar General on 18 Nov 1831 and was married on 19 Nov 1831 at Wapping St. John Parish Church to Marry Ann Lewis.
Wapping St. John Parish Church, England
Mary Ann, born 30 Jan 1814 and baptized 23 Feb 1814 at Rotherhithe St. Mary Church to Richard and Elizabeth Lewis.
Captain Thomas Mossman and his wife immigrated first to Australia. Thomas had left earlier and Mary traveled with the 4 small children. 

A Mrs. Mossman and 4 children sailed from London in 1841 to Sydney on the ship Alexander. God bless her! Can you imagine sailing around the world with 4 children, ages 9 down to a new baby? 

Captain Thomas had sailed the world: Guam, South America, the Orient, but he and his family settled on the beautiful Hawaiian Islands. Thomas eventually gave up the life of the sea, opened a bakery and mercantile business in downtown Honolulu. They mostly likely arrived in 1846, though it appears that Capt. Thomas had traveled to Hawaii before. We know they were for sure established in Hawaii before 25 March 1851, when Frederick’s birth was registered at the British Consulate in Honolulu.
Thomas and Mary Ann had the following children:

  • Thomas James Mossman, baptized 28 Jan 1832 at Bermondsey St. Mary Magdalene in Surrey, England
  • Elizabeth Mary Mossman baptized 21 Dec 1834 at St. George in the East, Middlesex, England.
  • William Frederick Mossman, baptized 28 January 1838, Bermondsey St. Mary Magdalene in Surrey, England
  • Mary Ann Mossman, born 21 Oct 1840 Deptford St. Paul, England.
  • Frederick Mossman, 10 May, 1845, Bailmain, New South Wales, Australia
  • Henry Mossman born 21 April 1847, Honolulu, Territory of Hawaii (died at age 6 from a brain disease)
  • Alfred Henry Mossman born 21 Feb 1849, Honolulu, Territory of Hawaii. 
The descendants of these children – (mostly Thomas James’ and William Frederick’s) held a reunion on Oahu in 2010. There was a luau, picnics, dinners, family history classes and tour of the cemetery, a talent show and a fun visit to the Polynesian Cultural Center.

Since that time, the Mossman family has created a Facebook page for our Mossman Ohana. Families have shared photos, newspaper articles and other great family history information.
Mossman cousins have taken trips together to England, Wales and Scotland and another trip will commence next week in England as the group learns more about our Mary Ann Lewis’ family in Surrey, England and will visit our British cousins in the north.
The Hawaiian Mossman bunch are very musical, darn talent gene didn’t get passed down onto my side, but one cousin shares Hawaiian musical selections every Sunday on the FB page.

Our next Mossman family reunion will be Feb 12-17, 2014 in Kaneohe, Oahu, Hawaii. One of the highlights will be placing of a headstone for Captain Thomas and his wife Mary Ann. Many more exciting activities are planned and I can’t wait! By then, we hope to include more Mossman cousins. Social media is a great tool to reconnect and share your family history and create and strengthen bonds between families. Ohana means family – find yours. Aloha!


  1. Hawaii! What a wonderful place to hold a family reunion! And taking trips to the British Isles doesn’t sound half bad either. =)

  2. Valerie,

    I want to let you know that your blog post is listed in today’s Fab Finds post at http://janasgenealogyandfamilyhistory.blogspot.com/2013/10/follow-friday-fab-finds-for-october-4.html

    Have a wonderful weekend!

  3. What a great reunion from all parts of the world, and in such a lovely place!

  4. I have just been tracking my family history, and from what I can tell so far, Capt. Thomas James Mossman is my 4th Great Uncle (his Father, Robert Mossman, is my 4th Great Grandfather. I am descended from his brother, John Mossman (1805-1862). Fascinating! (posted by Alastair Jones)

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.