Government of the Federated States of Micronesia

Family Genealogies and Histories on Pohnpei

PALIKIR, Pohnpei (FSM Information Service): January 2000 - It's taken about five years but a well-known Federated States of Micronesia archaeologist has just completed an important study of five family genealogies and histories on Pohnpei.

Rufino Mauricio's book, Family Roots: Genealogy and History of Some Families of Kitti, Pohnpei expands on the work of Japanese ethnographer Kinji Imanishi's The Island of Ponape: an Ecological Study (Ponape-to seitaigakuteki kenkyu) published in 1944, said Mauricio.

Mauricio is an anthropologist with the FSM Office of Archives and Preservation. He is a well-known anthropologist throughout Pacific academic circles, especially in Guam, Hawaii and Oregon.

"When I started I thought I was going to only work on my extended family members and several other families from Wene, Kitti (Pohnpei) whose genealogies were recorded in Imanishi's charts," said Mauricio, a Pohnpeian who holds a doctorate of philosophy in Anthropology from the University of Oregon. Kitti is today a large municipality located in southern Pohnpei Island.

"But the more time I spent on the project, the more I realized how much change the Pohnpeian family unit has gone through since the early 1940's and how important it is for us to attend to the changing family unit," continued Mauricio.

Mauricio's book begins with a preface stressing his immediate concern with what he calls "artificial' societies, or societies that have become automated in the sense that the patterning of human affairs are conventionalized and monitored by machines.

"I come off sounding very conservative when I discuss this topic," said Mauricio.

Such changes bother him because "there is no replacing the family's need to actually talk and see each other," said Mauricio. He begins the introduction of the book with an oral historical account of the Lipitahn clan of Luelen Bemart's family. Bernart, who was 72 when Imanishi interviewed him, was Pohnpei's first historian.

Following the discussion of the Lipitahn clan and Bemart's family are discussions on the families of Nahnmwarki Sehkismwundo and Nahnken Palasko, Nahmnwarkis Mihkel, Paul, Esekaia, and the nobleman, Dauk of Kitti. The nahnmwarki and nahnken ranks are the highest ranks in the royal and honorific lines, respectively, in Pohnpei.

The book then goes into the Nahnpei family with some sketchy information on Nahnken Isoheni of Kitti. These are followed by discussions on the families of Meriam, Henry Nahnpei, and Kilara and Carolines. The last two are members of the Sompwok clan of Kitti and relatives of the large Santos family here in Pohnpei.

The Dipwinmen Pwetepwet clan of Mwoakot next receives discussion, which is followed by discussion on Lieminkon's family. Lieminkon, a well-known matriarch in Kitti is a member of the Sounkawad clan, which is the ruling clan of Pohnpei's Sokehs and Nett municipalities.

Mauricio provides a long discussion on the Keinek of Pohrasapw, or Lineage of Pohrasapw in the end of the book.

"I have used my own resources so far in the publication of this work, and I am just about done. I'm just looking for a publisher and some money to get it printed," said Mauricio.

"This office (Office of Archives and Preservations) tries to do this type of writing, but we now don't have a printing budget - we are very limited in numbers," said Mauricio.

The anthropologist pointed out that the Japanese did a lot of work during their period here, but it is in Japan in Japanese.

"We can access it, and if we had translators we could translate it," said Mauricio.

He added that Japanese still come here and do work, but his office doesn't get translated copies of what was done, even though FSM regulations require two copies of the completed work to be submitted to his office.

Mauricio's publications include work coauthored with University of Oregon Professor William S. Ayres and a map of Nan Madol, which is probably the most commonly used map of the area. This map is included in David Hanlon's well-known history of Pohnpei, Upon a Stone Altar.

For further information on this release, please contact:

FSM Office of the President
Public Information: Press, Radio, Video
P.O Box 34
Palikir Station, Pohnpei, FM 96941
Tel.: (691) 320-2548/2092
Fax.: (691) 320-4356