China, Collection of Genealogies (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page

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Title in the Language of the Record

中國, 族譜收藏

Record Description

This collection will include records from 1239-2014.

This collection is comprised of Chinese genealogy records collected from various institutions and sources in China, North America, and some Southeast Asia areas.

The records are mostly about families who have lived in various provinces in China for several generations. They consist of clan genealogies, civil records, compiled biographies, histories and genealogy charts. Although some genealogies reach as far back as 1239, the time period and content of the records will vary from one genealogy to the next.

The size, generational depth, and type of information included in clan genealogies are varied. Some of the records that have been obtained from private households and collectors in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Southeast Asia, and the United States are hand-copied, single volume manuscripts, and only contain information about the most recent few generations or just a few pages of pedigree charts, while others are published records in standard format. Most of the records are easily readable, although some documents have been damaged due to aging, water droplets, and tight bindings. Since most of the records are written in traditional Chinese characters, it is assumed that the user should be able to read Chinese or get help from someone who can read Chinese to fully benefit from this collection. See the section titled For Help Reading These Records for translation tools.

Most of the genealogies that have been microfilmed in the various library collections are printed books that average ten volumes per title.

Clan or lineage genealogies constitute the major source material for Chinese family historians and genealogists. Scholars have shown that clan genealogies can be a valuable source for research into Chinese history.

The objectives of Chinese genealogical research has changed tremendously over time. Researchers are now studying Chinese genealogies as a supplement to other research areas, such as social and economic history, geographical history, history of law, population history, religion and culture, history of overseas Chinese, inheritance practices, and biography of historical figures.

Records in this collection primarily contain information between the Qing dynasty and the Republic era (1700s to early 1900s), though some material from earlier and later dates is included.

In the history of the Chinese people, there are three important elements that are significant: (a) China's history, (b) the local gazette, and (c) a clan's genealogy. Among these three elements, genealogy has the longest history and is the most influential. Family genealogies were recorded—first by objects tied onto knotted rope and later by writing found on turtle shells, cow bones, and bronze—to memorialize the changes to a family's lineage and to honor that family's ancestors.

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for China, Collection of Genealogies, 1239-2014.

Record Content

Genealogy collections generally include the following information:

  • A brief history of the origin of the family and the dispersion pattern of some of the branches
  • A list of male ancestors’ names according to generation order
  • The birth year or death year of the ancestor, if known
  • The maiden surname of the spouse, if known
  • The number and names of the male descendants of each couple, if known

How to Use the Record

To begin your search, it would be helpful if you knew the following information:

  • Ancestors name
  • Approximate year and place of birth
  • Province
  • Any family relationships

Search the Collection

To search by image:
To search the collection by image, select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page:
⇒Select the appropriate "Family Name"
⇒Select the appropriate "Country"
⇒Select the appropriate "Province"
⇒Select the appropriate "County"
⇒Select the appropriate "Title and Year" which will take you to the images.

Search the collection by image comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine if the image relates to them. You may need to look at several images and compare the information about the individuals listed in those images to your ancestors to make this determination.

For Help Reading These Records

These records are in Chinese. For help reading the records, see the following links:

Tips to Keep in Mind

  • When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct; there may be more than one person in the records with the same name as your ancestor.
  • Your ancestor may have used nicknames or different names at different times.
  • Titles may be clues to property ownership, occupations, rank, or status within the community.
  • Check for variant spellings of the names.
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Don't overlook FHL Place China items or FHL Keyword China items in the FamilySearch Library Catalog. For other libraries (local and national) or to gain access to items of interest, see China Archives and Libraries.

Known Issues with This Collection

Important.png Problems with this collection?
See a list of known issues, workarounds, tips, restrictions, future fixes, news and other helpful information.

For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached Wiki article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.

Related Websites

Related Wiki Articles

How You Can Contribute

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.

Citations for This Collection

When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information; that is, cite your sources. This will help people find the record again and evaluate the reliability of the source. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records. Citations are available for the collection as a whole and each record or image individually.

Collection Citation:

"China, Collection of Genealogies, 1239-2014." Images. FamilySearch. : accessed 2015. Citing Feng Ping Shan Library, Hong Kong University.

Image Citation:

The citation for an image is available on each image in this collection by clicking Show Citation at the bottom left of the image screen. You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for China, Collection of Genealogies, 1239-2014.


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  • This page was last modified on 3 August 2015, at 16:37.
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