For small communities like Samoa, a tiny group of islands in Polynesia, genealogy is preserved and fiercely protected through oral tradition as they are intrinsically linked to land and chiefly titles. The validity of these genealogical narratives have not been immune to at least two waves of mass population loss that coincided with the arrival of Europeans, coupled with political interference towards colonisation. With today's advancement of technology, family historians can now access and salvage never seen before documents and photos, and decipher DNA tests and some of the findings are not supporting versions of traditional genealogy. How should Family Historians approach this sensitive subject?
Andrew Peteru is a Samoan who is researching his maternal Samoan and European ancestors and analysing historical documents, genealogical records and DNA matches. He is currently a PHD candidate at Auckland University.