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.
'''Titles and Rank'''
To keep track of family ties, many ''Tongans'' make a ''Tohi'' ''Hohoko map'', a document 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. Chiefly titles are
divied into ''ha'a'' (clan groups or lineages), with titles being "sons" or "younger brothers" to the most senior title of that ''ha'a''. The ''ha'a, ''formerly the basis of military alliances and still defining ritual obligations, gradually became less important in the 20th century.
The aristocrats (hou'eiki) of Tongan society trace their descent from the ''Tu'i Tonga'' or sacred ruler. Their status is assured
regardlesws of titleholding. In the 18th century there were many titles (indicating control of land-and-people). Only a few of these titleholding chiefs were given the status of hereditary estateholder (nopele or matapule ma'u tofi'a) by Tupou I ( in 1875, 1880, and 1882), by Tupou II (1894 and 1903), and by Salote Tupou III (1921).
There are two other noble lines that impact Tongan genealogy. A change in government was done during the reign of Tu'i Tonga Kau'ulufonuafekai. He appointed his younger brother, Mo'ungamotu'a as the 1st Tu'i Ha'atakalaua as a temportal king. Tu'i Tonga would remain the sacred or spiritual king while the Tu'i Ha'atakalaua would take care of running the kingdom overseeing the cultivation of plantations, and directing the people in bringing tribute to the Tu'i Tonga.
Later the Tu'i Ha'atakalaua line would create another noble line known as the Tu'i Kanokupolu during the reign of the 6th Tu'i Ha'atakalaua Mo'ugatoga who had married a Samoan chieftian named Tohuia from the island of Upolu, Samoa. Their son Ngata would receive and serve as the 1st Tu'i Kanakupolu. Ngata's personal god was Taliai Tupou and the name "Tupou" was adopted by many Tu'i Kanakupolu
, after the 7th, Tupoulahi, and is now always affixed to the name of the reigning sovereign.
People moved from one village to another, so create a residental history of 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, all village families should be contacted and included in the project, especially the ''Nobles''. As like European overseers, Tongan ''Nobles ,''their parents and grandparents knew who were in their village and may have information to share with you about your ancestors.
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 ===