29 August 2013

Fiji Oral History Map

Fiji Time is a new film about the colonial times in the Fiji Islands. It follows the story of  Jean Bish, who was born in Fiji, as she tells of her history, and then returns to Fiji after many years away. It also tells conflicting stories about the British colonization of Fiji (from the points of view of the colonizers and those colonized), and the disastrous aftermath once Fiji gained independence.
Officially launching today, August 29th, is an Oral History Map. The map will be a user generated map with audio, visual and written histories from Fijians worldwide (anyone who has lived in Fiji, regardless of race).
With the Oral History Map now active, you can even submit your own story.

Find Fiji Time on Facebook or check out their blog.

24 August 2013

Old photos of Fiji

Ok, so they aren't all that old. Maybe 15 years, but trust me, things haven't changed much in the past 50 or so years.

16 August 2013


In July I ordered some microfilm for the first time, through Family Search. A week and a half later I got one, the other three were backordered. I'm not entirely sure why they don't have that kind of status on the website. I mean, a library can tell you if a book is on the shelf or checked out, why can't they do that with the film. I totally would have ordered something else in the meantime. But, I digress.
The film that came in was the Indian birth records index (from Fiji) from 1895-1929. Great! I have several names in that time period that I am looking for. Then comes the frustrating part.

#1 frustration- The first 25 years of this index is all jumbled together, not separated by year. The last 10 years is, so that was nice.

Frustration #2- Indians in Fiji in these years didn't usually have last names. So, searching for families is difficult.

Frustration #3- Because they don't have last names, the index is alphabetized by fathers first name, then mothers name, then childrens names. This may be good if I knew the fathers name, but in most cases, I didn't.

So, I went through all 263 pages of years 1895-1919 one by one, looking in the childrens column hoping to spot a name I was looking for (note, there are 86 rows on each page). Then I had to look at the year, and hope it also matched. Then I could write down all the info in a list of possible matches. I have 7 for one of the names on my list. And 3 with no matches. Argh!

On the plus side, I do have 7 possible matches, and I found some siblings for one of the known ancestors. So, hopefully soon I will get the other rolls of film and be able to find more names, and then I can order the specific rolls needed to find the actual records and not just the record numbers on the index. At least now I know what to be prepared for next time.

I also couldn't help but think how easy it would be to index these records. They were all in neat typed rows. Given the time, I could easily do it. And I would too, if the LDS church would ever digitize them and offer them up to be indexed. Maybe they will someday.

05 August 2013

Recipe: Indo-Fijian Style Chicken Curry

When Indians came to Fiji, they naturally brought with them recipes from home. Over time these recipes took on a different flavor that reflected their new island home. Indians in Fiji don't use quite as many spices in their curry, because they just aren't as available. So, here is a family recipe for Chicken Curry made Indian-Fijian style.

1 whole chicken
1 small onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
3 small chilies, minced (omit if you want it less spicy)
1/4 inch ginger, grated
salt to taste
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1/2 tsp Tumeric
1/2 tsp Cumin powder or seeds
1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
1/4 tsp Fenugreek seeds
1 Cinnamon stick
6 Cloves
4 Cardamom pods
2 tsp Curry powder or paste
Water as needed

Chop chicken to bite size pieces, set aside.
In a medium size pot, heat up olive oil, add onions, seeds, and cinnamon stick.
Stir and cook for a minute, then add the minced garlic together with tumeric and curry powder/paste.
Stir and cook for a minute. Then add chicken and salt and a little water.
Stir and cover. Reduce heat to medium.
Stir every 10 minutes or so.
If the chicken sticks to the pan, add more water
Chicken should be done in 40 minutes.
Serve with rice.