Click here to view an outline representing the decendents of great great grandfather prepared by Dad’s Aunty Anna.


to Great Grandmother’s (“Apo’s”) family history
Written by
Anna Kam Oi Au Wong
Daughter of 3rd son, Au Koon Yen [and Apo]
Compiled December, 1978


Since I am of that generation that can still recall memories of that first Grandfather and Grandmother Au who first came to Hawaii, I thought it wise for me to try to record some image of those pioneers in our family. When I look back, I have the deepest respect for the two generations who preceded me — those of my parents and my grandparents. The struggles that they encountered in raising such large families, and the role and responsibilities the head of each family accepted dutifully are admirable traits.

Grandfather Au Tai Sau and his wife, Hee In Choy, must have arrived in Honolulu between 1870 – 1875. They came not as contract laborers but independently to farm, for at no time was there any mention of having worked on sugar plantations. At that time there were many Chinese families growing rice in the valleys of Waiahole and Waikane, and that is where they settled. Later, I understand, they had a little grocery store in the same vicinity.

Life on a rice farm in isolated Waiahole must have been lonely and difficult for Grandmother Au with seven small children at the time and with laborers to feed. Rice farmers usually fed their laborers 4 times a day — breakfast, mid-morning snack, lunch and dinner.

Grandmother was a small, fair, meticulously neat, energetic and intelligent woman with small feet that had been bound. Having had one’s feet bound was a status symbol. She was not meant to be of the working class, but grandmother was too capable and energetic a person to sit back with her handicap. She always did what she could; and what she could not do, she told others how or what to do. I remember that whenever one of her daughters-in-law gave birth, she was there to help with the care of the baby, doing special cooking for the new mother and supervising the household.

With loneliness, childbearing, and the heavy workload, I understand she either encouraged or consented to grandfather’s having a second wife. It was a common practice in China if one could afford to maintain such a household. Since my grandparents were here before annexation, they were not doing anything illegal at the time; nor were they aware of any wrongdoing, I’m sure. The second wife was a good natured, also very neat but more strongly built woman with unbound feet named Lau Nee Shee. She had been living with another Au family related to grandfather on Kauai. She came to work for grandfather’s family, and thus later dutifully accepted her role as second to wife number one.

When her children were born they called wife number one Ai and their own mother Ah Cha. She took over more of the heavier work in the kitchen and often carried Ai on her back, distances that Ai was sometimes unable to walk.

Wife number one, Ai, had 6 sons and 3 daughters. Wife number two, Ah Cha, had 4 sons and 4 daughters. Regardless of what mother they were born to, each uncle and aunt had a numerical number and we were taught to address them accordingly.

When Grandfather’s farming days were over, he and Grandmother Ai, and her unmarried daughter and unmarried son came to live with our family — their third son (Au Koon Yen).

Grandmother Ah Cha and her four unmarried children went to live with her oldest son and his wife and 2 children — our sixth uncle (Au Yen Cheung). This is what I meant when I said earlier in the introduction that I respected my father’s generation for dutifully accepting their responsibilities to the family.

As far as I can recall, Grandfather had no further relationship with Ah Cha. Later, Grandfather, Grandmother Ai and our 7th uncle returned to China with intentions of finding a wife for this bachelor uncle. He did find a wife. When Grandfather died in China in his nineties, Grandmother Ai and 7th uncle (Au Koon Sheong), leaving his wife behind, returned to Hawaii. Following their return to Hawaii and with the Communist regime in China, all contacts were lost. Grandmother Ai lived to the ripe old age of somewhere in the eighties, while poor Ah Cha was killed in an automobile accident when she was perhaps in her late fifties.

After much thought as to what would be the simplest method of presenting an easily understandable tabulation of the spreading roots of this family, I decided not to follow the conventional method of diagrams, but in outline form present the offspring of the sons and daughters of Grandfather and Grandmother Au’s family.

In closing, I wish to thank all the family members who helped to provide the needed information to make this family tabulation possible. I would also like to especially thank Jeanette Au Chang, daughter of our 9th uncle Au Koon Cheung, for offering to type and run off copies for everyone. To Naomi Tam, granddaughter of our 6th uncle Au Yen Cheung, for offering to print pictures of our grandparents to accompany your copy.

In closing, I would like to suggest that each family keep their individual outline complete with new additions to their family, now that they have a picture of the beginning of their roots in Hawaii.

Click here to view an outline representing the decendents of great great grandfather prepared by Dad’s Aunty Anna.