Tag Archives: Japan

Beginnings and Endings: The Family of Frank and Iku Arima

The birth certificates of three different children from one set of parents in one year is liable to catch one’s attention. It turned out that in July 1905, when Frank and Iku Arima filed for birth certificates for twins Estella and Orville born July 18, 1905, they also filed for their first son, Clarence, born February 8, 1904.

Birth Certificate for Estella Arima (Utah State Archives Series 81443)

Birth Certificate for Orville Arima (Utah State Archives Series 81443)

Birth Certificate for Clarence Arima (Utah State Archives Series 81443)

Further research revealed more about this family. According to documents available on Ancestry.com, Frank Arima immigrated from Japan in 1891 (Fourteenth Census of the United States, 1920, Rexburg, Madison, Idaho) while his wife Iku is listed on the ship Indrapura in Portland, Oregon arriving December 30, 1902. (Oregon Passenger and Crew Lists, 1888-1957).

Frank is listed in the Salt Lake City R.L. Polk Directories as a cook at Harry Murata (1903) and Fort Douglas (1904).

Sadly, the family would be interacting with the Office of Vital Records and Statistics once again, but this time to register the deaths of the twins born in 1905. On September 29, 1905 Estella died of cholera and on December 30, 1905 Orville (written as Orbear) died of “convulsions,” two and five months old, respectively. They are buried in the Salt Lake City Cemetery.

Death Certificate for Estella Arima (Utah State Archives Series 81448)

Death Certificate for Orbear (Orville) Arima (Utah State Archives Series 81448)

Clarence Arima would go on to apply for a U.S. passport in 1925 while a student for a trip to Japan. The application even includes a presumed photograph of Frank and Iku’s remaining son.

Clarence Arima (Ancestry.com. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925)

Iku Arima died in Los Angeles, California in November 1967 (Ancestry.com. Social Security Death Index).

How did this family exemplify the Japanese immigrant experience? Perhaps Estella and Orville were, as speculated in the article “Japanese Life in Utah” the first Nisei born in Utah.  These documents provide a bit more to that story, but there is always more to learn about people in the past.


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