Just a reminder that by editing any pages in Chinese Roots Wiki you agree to license your content under the following license: CC Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported. This section contains information on Chinese Roots Wiki, how to contact us, formating articles, and disclaimer.

Welcome to the Chinese Roots Wiki

This wiki is designed to help people of Chinese heritage discover their ancestral roots. This can be complicated because China is a huge melting pot country with a culture that reflects an array of ethnic and local customs. And because of this diversity, no one person is knowledgeable enough to be an expert on all facets of Chinese culture. This wiki is a vehicle to pool knowledge from multiple persons and sources and make it easier for anyone interested in studying Chinese family heritage.

To correctly view Chinese characters please select View, Encoding, and Unicode option from the browser Menu.

The Chinese Roots Wiki is a compilation of information by an eclectic group of world wide overseas Chinese family heritage enthusiasts searching for their roots, both personally and via the English language Chinese Genealogy Forum. Whereas the forum was initially started in 2004 by descendants from the SiYi or Sze Yup (四邑) area of the Pearl Delta Region (珠江三角洲) of China, the focus has advanced to include all expatriate Chinese discovering for their heritage. Of course, see the disclaimer. Furthermore, Chinese language skills are NOT a requisite for you to research your heritage (Click here for my rationale).

Please post questions about your research obstacles on the Chinese Genealogy Forum. Finally, click here to post questions or comments about this wiki.

Village Database

For years the Chinese Cultural Center in San Francisco (CCCSF) had made available villages and surnames of Zhongshan (中山), Xinhui (新會), Taishan (台山), and Haiping (開平) to online Chinese genealogy researchers. Though the information is published by the US government and in public domain1)2)3)4) digitalization required many hours of labour by Dominic Yu. As of June, 2011, this invaluable resource has not always been available on the sponsoring CCCSF website.

Some members of the Chinese Genealogy Forum have volunteered to undertake the project of recreating a Chinese Roots Wiki Village Database of these four Pearl Delta Region (珠江三角洲) plus other counties. We want to 1) restore a surrogate search function currently missing in the CCCSF Village Database and 2) allow users to update the historic database with current information.

Click to access the CRW Village Database.

Additionally, the CCCSF's In Search of Roots program has produced a separate Roots Village Database on the villages the interns have visited. The site can be accessed at Roots Village Database.

Ancestral and Family History

China has a particularly rich ancestral and family history. The lineage of every Chinese clan is thousands of years old, most dating back to the middle of the Zhou Dynasty (周朝), approximately 2,500 years ago. In fact, most current Chinese surnamesexamples??? originated during this period. However other clansexamples??? go back even further, all the way to the Yellow Emperor (黃帝) and the dawn of Chinese written history 5,000 years ago.

While we can trace one's clan lineage back thousands of years, family histories generally go back only a few hundred to one thousand years. Many familial records (jiapu 家譜) have since been damaged, destroyed, or lost to wars and natural disasters.

An important tool in genealogy research is visiting cemeteries. Tombstones, especially Chinese tombstones, contain a wealth of information including dates of birth and death, maiden name, and place of origin. Some even have the time of death.

This wiki exists to help you understand how to fill in gaps in your personal heritage research.


How to create a new page or edit an existing page

Because of the amount of spam, we have stopped allowing editing or uploading of pages. Please email the administrators and we will give you the privileges to upload or edit.

Doug 2013MAY

There are three ways to create a new page: - Click either here to create a new page or here to create another new page. You should see a page stating: This topic does not exist yet. Click on the top tab 'Create this page'. Then just start typing. Remember to click 'Preview' and 'Save' at the bottom of the page. Someone will be notified of this new page and can help with the formatting. If you are logged in, click signature at the top icons and we can communicate with you regarding suggestions. Later you can delete your signature. - Go to the Search Box on the top left. Type a name for your new article. If that name does not exist, then you will be sent to a page which at the top has a link labeled: 'Create this page'. Click on that link and start typing. Remember to 'Preview' and 'Save' at the bottom. - Create a link in a document you are writing in - <code>your article name</code>. The 'folder name' inside the double square brackets in front of the colon : sign is the name of the folder where file 'your article name' will be kept. Three currently available 'folder names' are history, references, and techniques.


Navigation Tricks

To go back to the home or start page, click on the brown Chinese Roots Wiki logo on the top left. Also, below is the 'Trace: »' history section enabling a quick jump back to any previous viewed section.