by Linda Okazaki
Who was Nobutaro Okazaki? He was born about 1879, emigrated to Vancouver, BC in 1898 where he worked as a coal miner. He married, had two sons, and divorced. What’s most important is that he was from the village of Tabara, Okayama, Japan, the tiny hamlet from where my husband’s family originated. As of this date, there are precisely 7 families in the village with that surname and reportedly 6 of those are related.
How is a genealogist expected to figure this out? Koseki records are only available to those who can prove direct descent. Last week I contacted several potential descendants in Canada and the US but so far have not had any response. Even if I could compare koseki content with some descendants, the data might not go back far enough in time. And y-dna studies aren’t an immediate choice because of the frequency of heir adoptions.
Perhaps there is a written history of the town. Certainly there must be a written history of the prefecture, but translation would be cost prohibitive. Interviews with the eldest residents in Tabara might be my best option.
Looks like I need to get back to Japan.