Chen Family from Huangdi to Char Jew Toisan

This document traces the history of my maternal grandfather's family from it's beginnings in China's mythical past to the founding of the Ying Chuan branch of the Chin clan 潁川陳氏 in Henan Province, through to settling in Char Jew Village 六村槎州 in Toisan County, Guangdong 廣東省台山縣 at turn of the 18th century.

Char Jew Village Gate
1936-37 Photograph by William S. Chin


September 13, 2023: Added to post: photograph by William S. Chin of the Char Jew Village Gate taken on his first visit in 1936-37.

February 18, 2022: Added paragraph on page 11 about Feng Tai’s sons scattering to places with the water radical in remembrance of their home town Sha Shui. (Source: Gene M. Chin

11/17/2021: Minor corrections to table of contents formatting. Corrected generation numbering for Chen Wen and added Hanson Chan's ancestor Chen Zhi-tong.

6/18/2021: I have made the following updates to this document to more closely match the family tree in Hanson Chan's book Finding the Direct Bloodline of My 111 Ancestors in China:

    • Added entries for the cadet branch of Marquises of Chen that moved to Qi and adopted the name Tian.
    • Removed entries for the Emperors of the Chen Dynasty, which has been republished in a separate article.
    • Added entries for the Fujian branch of the family. 

See Oops! Mistakes in the Book for the reasoning behind these changes.


Doug said...

Nice website

Kenneth Hong said...

Thanks Doug. Hope you're doing well.

Doug said...

Kenneth, Consider joining our group Bay Area Chinese Genealogy Group ( You have a lot of expertise. If not join, then just subscribe to our mailing list here:

Kenneth Hong said...

Thanks for the info. I would love to attend the BACGG meetings, but I'm living near Philadelphia now. So, for now, I've subscribed to the mailing list.

Gam Kau said...

I'm astounded by what you've accomplished with your research. I am just starting my research and don't think I will be nearly as successful as you have been. I posted on the siyi geneology board about my start to researching my Chan family ancestral roots. Kudos for you for you patience and diligience!

Kenneth Hong said...

@Gam Kau,
Keep up your research! I've been working on my family stories for over 20 years. So, slow and steady wins the race. Start with interviewing your elders first because they are a diminishing resource. Get names of people and places using Chinese characters which are always more reliable than romanized names which can vary considerable depending on dialect and who's doing the romanization.

After you've capture as much about your living relatives and their immediate ancestors you can link that up to the 4800 year history of China and the Chan family. The ancient history has already been done so you just need to link your branch to rest of the family tree. Philip Tan on the Siyi Genealogy board can be a big help with all things related to the Chen/Tan/Chan/Chin 陳 family as well as many other clans.

Gam Kau said...

Hi Kenneth, Mr. Tan was a fantastic resource for me. I ended up using My China Roots to help research and even with the research I was confounded, but Philip had a look at the research and was able to link what they uncovered to the historic Chan family tree. I'm still missing a gap of a few generations to really complete the link, but it is amazing progress! :)