In the case of weddings or funerals, there is a very exact order of things to follow. Who is in charge and makes the decisions is decided by the extended family, rather than the immediate family. Every person is inferior or superior to other family members. A female usually outranks a male, sometimes going back a couple of generations. Each person must know his or her place in the family genealogy to determine who is sitting in the proper place in the kava circle, which has great importance in the social and political life of each person.
To keep track of family ties, many ''Tongans'' make a ''Hohoko map'', which shows the descendants of their ancestral lines. The ancestral family is called the ''Ha`a, ''and most of us know which ha`a we are from.
This is helpful in doing our family history .
move from one village to another, so find out where your ancestors lived during their lives. Then study the history of the villages where they lived.
If you do a village family history project,
non-member neighbors as well as members should be contacted and included in the project, especially the ''Nobles''. Not many of the ''Nobles'' are members of the Church now, but their parents and grandparents fed the missionaries, and they may be interested in finding out more about this.
The further back in time, the more likely that a person has changed his or her name. If someone did something, proving themself in a certain way, they can change their name accordingly. Study the context of the person’s life, including parents, and other family members when dealing with name changes. On some Church records, the person’s several names may be given.
Surnames were unknown in Tonga
priior to the setting up of mission schools in Tonga and were not widely used until the expansion of secondary education in the late 1940s. Nowaday's most Tongans have a Tonganized papalangi name (e.g. Melenaite = Mary Knight; 'Ilaisaane = Eliza Ann; Sione = John; Tevita = David) plus a Tongan personal name (e.g. Manu, Finau, Leo) and a surname. Some names are not gender-specific, e.g. Tupou and Manu can be given to both male and female.
Prior to 1943 the letter '' g'' stood for the sound '' ng'', and the Wesleyan schools used the letter ''b'' where the Catholic schools used ''p''; ''j ''had earlier been largely abandoned in favor of ''s''. In 1943 His Royal Highness Prince Tupouto's, newly appointed Minister for Education, and known to his people as His Majesty Taufa'ahau Tupou IV, approved the substitution of ''ng'' for ''g'' and promoted uniformity in the use of ''p'' and ''s'' (eliminating ''b'' and ''j'' entirely), divided words that were formerly one word, and standarized the use of the glottal stop (''fakau'a'') in written texts where the sound occurred in spoken speech.
Therefore, researchers may encounter written records that ' look' different, however, are the same person. Case study: Prior to 1943, maternal grandfather of Caroline Wolfgramm Irwin was known in government and religious records as Baula Lagi. After 1943, this same individual is known in written record as Paula [Paul] Langi. The slight difference in the sound of "P" substituting for letter "B". Other relative' names were also subtlely changed going from Jio to Sio [Joe].
On outlying islands, people would often wait to get births, marriages, and deaths recorded at the headquarters of the place where they lived. Sometimes, people did not know the exact date of their birth. For instance, one man had an estimated birth date on his record that had been given by his mother a few years after his birth. The record also contained the date that he had been told was his real birth date. When the man had to decide which date to keep, he chose the one on the record that was an estimated birth date because it was the same as a favourite relative. His reasoning was to honor this relative by using the same birth date as his own even though it was not accurate. It may or may not be possible to be completely accurate with dates.
=== Case Study ===
'''2. Gather written records.<br>'''My mother wrote our family genealogy on a family map, or ''Hohoko''. Many Tongan families have charts like this. She wrote on sail cloth with a ball point pen so it could be folded up and carried and not be torn or destroyed by the elements. The map is about 4 feet wide and 20 feet long. (See the [[Step 5. Organize your information|picture in Step 5 of the Pacific Island Guide]].) I used this map to copy the basic information I needed.
'''3. Enter information into Personal Ancestral File or similar computer program.'''<br>Family members helped me copy the information from the ''Hohoko'' into the [[PAF and Other Genealogy Organizers|Person Ancesral File computer program]]. From there, it can be printed out as [https://wiki.familysearch.org/en/Image:Pedigree_Chart_Blank.png pedigree charts] and [[Family group record: roadmap for researchers|family group records]] preparing the names for publication and other work you wish to share.
'''4. Write what is learned and share the information with others.<br>'''We also compiled the stories of our family and published them in a book, Tisina Wolfgramm Gerber, ''[http://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/cdm4/document.php?CISOROOT=/FH27&CISOPTR=31717 Iohani Wolfgramm, Man of Faith and Courage]'' [FHL book 921.9612 G313i]. Testimonies, family stories and memories, as well as family history of our ancestors have been compiled in this book. You also could eventually compile your family stories into a book, if you have the time and the means to do it,