Researching Your Chinese Roots

Here' s a short primer for Americans interested in researching their Chinese Roots. First of all, there are a lot of English language resources, especially for people with Toisan roots. Online resources in English include:

If you don't have any records or genealogies, start with interviewing your elders, to get names, dates, places (villages), and relationships. Try to get as much as possible in Chinese characters. Be aware of multiple names and aliases. Chinese might have different birth names, married names, paper names, etc... as well as different English spellings. Look at tombstones which will often have village names, birthdates, and actual family name if they had been using a paper name. Look at photos and letters for similar information.

Also, try to capture the stories of your elders that wouldn't be written down in any family tree. What it was like growing up? Memories of their parents or grandparents or siblings? Fondest memories or family traditions?

Enjoy the journey! Little by little you'll make connections and perhaps a few friends and surprising discoveries along the way.

Surname Origins:

Chen 陳 -

              - House of Chinn - Archive

Gao 高 - tbd

Liu 劉 -


No comments: