Miami, Florida: Early Families and Records

By: Oby J. Bonawit

For those readers who are passionate about the history of early Miami- the first families, the communities, the burial grounds and everything else that delved into the history of Miami’s past, there was for decades a definite lack of research available. Miami, a new city by most standards even in 1980, did not have records as readily accessible as older, more established areas.

Then Came along Oby Bonawit, a retired Eastern Airlines pilot, who took it upon himself to write “a book that needed to be written,” Miami Florida – Early Families and Records (1980). Although he occasionally bumped heads with other historians, the “Red Book,” as it would come to be known by history buffs, broke ground. Bonawit spent countless hours assembling a many faceted book, with the assistance of several equally passionate historians, including Arva Moore Parks and Harriet Liles. Starting with voting lists from 1836 and the probate files of over 380 early settlers, the book provides the first history of Pinewood Cemetery and the  genealogies of many of the pioneer families who played a vital role in establishing Miami. Long out of print, if you can secure a copy, you are fortunate indeed.

  • By John R. Allen
  • Volume One; Number Two
  • September 2018