Understanding Chinese Family Trees

One of my friends with Chinese ancestry asked for help tracing his family tree.  Ifamilytreegraphic started with the standard question, ‘What do you now about your family already?”  He said he had the standard stuff most of us had when we started our own research; namely a shoe box full of photos, handwritten family notes and a some old family souvenirs.

My friend when on to say that he was confused by all of the names he heard his family use when talking about their family.  I thought I understood a tiny bit about the Chinese naming system but after listening to him talk for a few minutes, realized I knew next to nothing about it.

I referred him to the Chinese FamilySearch Wiki site, knowing it was in its infancy and resources were limited and to the Chinese records collections on FamilySearch.

We knew there are over 9 million records in the collection but a LOT more people than that currently live in China let alone the huge number that have lived there through time. 

We needed to start with what he knew about his family and expand our research out from that known dataset, but what is the deal with all the names he has heard his family called?

Fortunately, we found a video on YouTube that explained the names.  Thanks NTDOffTheGreatWall.  You folks gave him the key even though you talk really fast.

The Complicated Chinese Family Tree
Copyright (c) Lee Drew 2013-03-18 07:00:00
The URL for this post is:

About lineagekeeper

Family history research is a favored avenue of relaxation. It is a Sherlock-like activity that can continue almost anywhere at any time. By leveraging a lifetime involvement in technology, my research efforts have resulted in terabytes of ancestral data, earning me the moniker of Lineagekeeper. And yes - We are all related to Royalty.