My genealogical history, in my possession, a CD (digitized by Shanghai Library) that traces back to 1341, and a handwritten book dates back to Tang Dynasty 唐 (高宗 Gāo zōng 650-683), it’s complied by Zhou Zhifu; (photocopies; the original is at the Library of Congress). Partial records of one branch are on 家谱.
Genealogical pursue can be a topless (or bottomless) endeavor. However, the family tree I assembled primarily starts from 1800s, the earliest time I’m willing to go because my project is focusing on Late Qing and onward.
I’ll start with my maternal family, the Lü 吕 (Lv or Lyu) because they’re the closest to me since my birth.
From left to right – Back row:
- Nainai 奶奶 (note): Yeye’s last concubine
- The little thing .. Nainai lovingly dabbed it as Little Smelly, Little Dog Fart .. .. the list’s long.
- Yeye 爷爷: my maternal grandfather and
- Popo 婆婆: my maternal grandmother
Jiujiu said that Yeye mentioned few times that they’re from Lü Hou 吕后 (wife of Liu Ban 刘邦). As with any family, there are many branches after few hundreds of years. The traceable generations were from Shanxi province 山西 then they moved to Anhui province in 1700s.
Namesake: xiao you zhen ming jia 孝友振明嘉 – this represents five generations starting from Yeye (孝华; Mom was Youlan 友蘭). My cousin Xiao Peng who’s born in 1969 did not take a middle name (or generation identifier. He should have been a 振 Zhen .. ) due to the Cultural Revolution – it was considered feng, zi and xiu 封 (feudalism),资 (the capitalism or the bourgeoisie) and 修 (revisionism). Xiao Peng’s son takes 明 Ming. Hopefully his child(ren) will use ‘嘉 Jia’ ..
My paternal family, the Zhangs 张 (Chang, Cheung):
The Zhangs 张, my paternal family, circa 1933, at 24 Xumo Jie in Tianjin. I have never met my paternal grandparents. From L to R back row:
- Changluan 常鸾 – 二姑 (1924 – )
- Changji (Patrick) 常胤 – 二伯 (1928 Tianjin -)
- Dad (1931 Beijing -)
- Changfa 常发 (其祥) 又名 岱鲁 – 大伯 (1927 Jinan -)
- Changying 常英 – 大姑 (1920 Beijing -)
This second set of couplet has 14 generation identifiers, followed the 鳌 Ao:
I’m the 在 Zai generation. Mom didn’t use it and Dad didn’t insist. So the Irene Eng is Zhang Ning 张凝.