Your Family, Your History - Session 5: Camp Records

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Thursday March 2

6:00 PM  –  7:30 PM

Your Family, Your History with Genealogist Linda Harms Okazaki and the Center: Monthly Workshop Series on Researching, Preserving and Sharing Your Japanese American Roots

Generously Supported by The Henri and Tomoye Takahashi Charitable Foundation

First Thursday of Every Month Beginning October 6, 2022 (October Workshop is FREE)
6:00pm - 7:30pm PST
Hybrid Class Format - Simultaneous In-Person and Virtual Instruction
$25 Center Members / $35 General Public
Discounted Full Course Enrollment (9 months): $180 Center Members / $270 General Public


Have you wanted to start researching your family history but didn’t know how to begin? Did you start your family history journey, only to get stuck, or hit a brick wall? Do you want to write your family story, but need some assistance?

Please join genealogist Linda Harms Okazaki as she takes you on a genealogy journey. She will guide you through the research and help you to write your story. Each session includes a homework assignment and culminates with sharing your final written project.

The series begins October 6, 2022 at 6:00pm PST at the Center and virtually on Zoom. After the free introductory session, participants may enroll for subsequent sessions, to be held monthly.

This series is suitable for teens through seniors. Prior family history research is not required, but seasoned researchers are welcome to attend. Homework will be assigned after each session. Students are encouraged to participate in class. Handouts will accompany each presentation. Each session will include a writing component.

Video recordings of each workshop will be available to enrolled participants following each session for a limited time.

One-to-one private consultations can be arranged with the instructor at $75/hr via Zoom.

Monthly Course Outline

Thursday, October 6, 2022
1. Introduction to Family History

This initial session covers getting started in genealogy, organization, pedigree charts and family group sheets, interviewing relatives, navigating websites, planning a writing project, and will end with an opportunity to “ask the genealogist.”

Thursday, November 3, 2022
2. Preserve Your Artifacts

Every artifact has a story waiting to be told. What should you look for in your house? Your grandmother’s house? Learn tips for searching through the house repository, organizing your artifacts and ephemera, determining what to keep, how to keep it, what to donate, what to store. Should some of your items be donated to a museum or historical society? If so, how do you choose where these items will live for perpetuity?

Homework to be assigned.

Thursday, December 1, 2022
3. How to Interview Family Members

Who should you interview? What questions should you ask? How should you record the sessions? What if you are the oldest family member?

Homework to be assigned.

Thursday, February 2, 2023
 Finding Records in the U.S.

Learn how to find the important records which will help tell your family story. Basic records covered include census, directories, immigration, land, manuscripts naturalization, newspapers, vital, and more.
Incarceration records will be covered in a separate session.

Homework to be assigned.

Thursday, March 2, 2023
5. Camp Records

Do you have friends or family members who were incarcerated during WWII? Learn what records exists, where to find them, how to order them, and how to decipher the information.

Homework to be assigned.

Thursday, April 6, 2023
6. Records in Japan

This overview will include koseki retrieval, land records, village histories, and translation tips. Assistance for obtaining these records for a fee will be offered. Free resources will be discussed for those who wish to obtain these on their own.

Homework to be assigned.

Thursday, May 4, 2023
7. Analyze Your Documents

Each document or artifact tells part of your story. Learn what to look for in each document and how to interpret your findings. This session will be part lecture, part writing workshop. We will discuss brick walls, revisit tips for organizing your findings, tie up loose ends, and discuss sources, bibliographies, and inserting photos into your project.

Homework to be assigned.

Thursday, June 1, 2023
8. Writing Workshop

If you have been writing throughout the series, much of your narrative has written itself. In this session, we will look at the story, formatting, layout documentation, inserting kanji into the narrative, and proofreading.

Homework to be assigned.

Thursday, July 6, 2023
9. Share Your Stories

This is an opportunity for everyone to present their family history projects and to share their personal stories and experiences in the research and writing pr. Participation is not required but is encouraged.

Future add-on workshops and webinars:

Potential add-on sessions include:

  • “Planning a Research Trip"
  • Document scanning sessions

About Linda Harms Okazaki:

Linda Harms Okazaki is a fourth-generation Californian, active in the genealogy and Japanese American communities in California and beyond. She is passionate about teaching Nikkei to research, document, and share their personal family histories. Her other areas of research include upstate New York, England, Australia, and the use of DNA in genealogy. Linda has been researching her husband’s ancestry since 2012, documenting his family in the internment camps and in Japan. A charter member of the Nikkei Genealogical Society, and a consultant for’s Progenealogists, she is also a featured columnist for the Nichi Bei Weekly. Her column, Finding Your Nikkei Roots, is published bimonthly. Her guide to Finding Your Japanese Roots was updated in 2020 and is available in hard copy. Ms. Okazaki is the author of numerous articles, including the recent National Genealogical Society magazine article “Paper Sons and Picture Brides,” which was co-authored by Grant Din. She is a member of as the Association of Professional Genealogists, the Genealogical Speaker’s Guild, and the Daughters of the American Revolution. Linda currently serves as the past president of the California Genealogical Society, as a board member of the Nichi Bei Foundation, and a family history consultant for Densho.

Ms. Okazaki holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Development and a Master of Arts degree in Education. She can be reached at