Michael Ho is a 4th-generation Chinese American who has spent over 25 years researching his family roots. His ancestors immigrated from Zhongshan to Hawaii. Michael has made numerous trips to his ancestral villages in China, and assists other family history researchers to interpret both English and Chinese records.
Even if you don’t understand a word in Chinese or you weren't paying attention as a kid in Chinese school, you learned something during Michael's presentation, “It’s all Chinese to me!”?
1. Basic Introduction to the Chinese language.
2. Understanding Chinese surnames and given names.
3. Useful resources for reading place names, simple documents and gravestones.
Returning to my ANCESTRAL Village with Roots Plus
Barbara Lu-Baltazar joined CFHGSC in 2012. Through the various CFHGSC workshops, she learned how to piece together her family history. This past November, her research culminated in a trip to China with the Roots Plus group from San Francisco. She spoke about her journey of discovery and how Roots Plus helped her return home to her family's village.
John Wong from ROOTS PLUS shared the process on how to get involved with ROOTS PLUS, the history of the program, and information about the groups that are now forming for the next trip to China.
Helen Chan shared the graphic novel that she has created and published Faith and Fire, A Journey to Gold Mountain.
Thank you to the many members who brought traditional Chinese New Year food symbolizing health, fertility, togetherness, and prosperity.
Program: Chinese Genealogy Detectives - Solving Family Mysteries
Focused on research methods that uncovered genealogy mysteries of the past:
1) unusual or unique methods;
2) with lots of determined digging;
3) serendipitous findings; clues and stories that fell into our lap
Members of CFHGSC gave examples of the above:
Michael Ho: Who is Uncle Boo?" Michael determined if an "uncle" in an old family photo was actually related. He used English and Chinese-language documents and oral interviews in his research.
Trae: Nicholson: Identified the boy on a family Certificate of Identification and the correct name.
Bo-Gay Tong Salvador: Gave an account of a Tong family story about successfully finding our Hawaiian-side relatives by going through the Honolulu phone book to find surnames mentioned in an Hawaiian family history book found in the Hilo library.
Patti Dung: Found a book on a Honolulu bookstore’s “bargain” table, that had my late husband’s family genealogy and photos & text on his grandfather’s plantation restaurant in Hawaii. Had this old photo of a youngish man who I couldn't identify, but looked vaguely familiar. After viewing files at NARA she discovered It was her material grandfather as a young man.
Steve Kwok: Used Tony King’s jia pu help document to translate one page of his family jia pu.
Ben Lee: Solved the mystery of Great-Grandfather Lee's death.
Bill Chun Hoon: Described his family history in Honolulu, how he wrote up his family history and the family commemorative plaque at Angel Island.
Angel Island & National Archives Records
Find out what Chinese immigrants endured at the Angel Island Immigrant Station, 1910- 1940.
What family records are at the National Archives and Records Admininistration?
PRESENTED BY: GRANT DIN
Grant Din, Community Relations Director at Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation (AIISF), talked about the history of immigration through Angel Island and the documents that are often available about those who have passed through it and other ports of entry. Some are available at National Archives branches, especially in San Bruno, CA, as well as Seattle, Riverside, etc.; and others need to be requested through various government agencies. Grant showed examples of some of the information that is available at the Archives and elsewhere and tips on how to find them. He will talk about deciphering some of the information one can find online such as ship manifests and "Board of Special Inquiry" reports to determine how long people were detained at immigration centers. He will also talk about AIISF's Immigrant Voices website and encourage attendees to share their family stories on it.
Grant Din has been searching for his family's and other families' stories for over thirty five years. His family's history in the U.S. started when his maternal grandfather walked across the border from Huntingdon, BC to Sumas, WA in 1905, with merchant status, and he has found documents about all of his grandparents' time spent on Angel Island. His real family name is Gong, but his paper son grandfather also went by Ow, Doon, and Din. His paternal grandmother had to pretend to be married to her brother-in-law to immigrate to America, and his maternal grandparents brought a nephew over and claimed he was a son from a first marriage - all this to get around the Chinese Exclusion Acts. In Grant's job at AIISF, he has been able to help many families learn about their family immigrant histories, with many of these stories shared on its Immigrant Voices website (www.aiisf.org/immigrant-voices). You can see some of his research on his and his wife's families at www.tonaidin.net
Presented by Niki Muñoz
Kinds of DNA useful for Genealogy: mtDNA which follows the straight female line, Y-DNA which follows the straight male line, and autosomal DNA which follows all ancestor lines back to 5 generations (and sometimes beyond).
mtDNA follows the straight female line back in time. mtDNA is in the egg. All people are created from an egg so both males and females have mtDNA but only females pass it forward to their children. There are multiple copies of mtDNA in each cell of the body and they are the "energy pack" of the cells. Since there are so many copies of mtDNA in the body, they are the easiest to identify in ancient remains. The only company testing mtDNA, showing haplogroups and their migration paths and giving matches is Family Tree DNA.
To see a video about mtDNA inheritance, go to: http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/chromosomes/typesmito
To see the Chinese geographical charts of mtDNA (Dr. Yan Shi of Fudan University) in Chinese, but charts are viewable, go to: : http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_465ddf790102v2w2.html
Y-DNA is the test for males only. Y-DNA follows the straight male line back in time. Y-DNA comes from the sperm and is what makes a child a male. No females have sperm so the genealogy traces directly
back in time from male to male. There is one copy of Y-DNA in the nucleus of each cell in the body. This test is particularly useful for a male who is a direct male line descendant of a "paper" son. The only company testing Y-DNA, showing haplogroups and their migration paths and giving matches is Family Tree DNA.
To see a video about Y-DNA inheritance, go to:
To see the Chinese geographical charts of Y-DNA (Dr. Yan Shi of Fudan University) in Chinese, but charts are viewable, go to: http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_465ddf790102v2w2.html
Autosomal DNA (at Family Tree DNA this test is called Family Finder). Autosomal DNA comes from 22 chromosomes in the nucleus of each cell in the body. Each child gets half their autosomal DNA from their father and half from their mother. One would suppose that each child would get one-fourth from each grandparent, one-eighth from each great grandparents, one-sixteenth from each great-great- grandparent, but as one goes farther back in time a strict mathematical division is not the reality. A child is likely to have some DNA from every great-great-grandparents, but prior to that some lines may no longer be contributing DNA to that child. Two sisters of a family will get a different mix of inheritance from their ancestors as will two brothers as each child is unique. Only identical twins get the same mix. Autosomal DNA has no migration maps or haplogroups as it consists of many lines, not a single line. Autosomal DNA is useful in identifying cousins up to 3rd cousins (common great-great-grandparents) and will sometimes show cousin relations prior to that.
Multiple companies test autosomal DNA. Three look for matches from the last 5 generations and show matches: 23andMe, Ancestry, Family Tree DNA. One looks for deeper ancestry and does not show matches: National Geographic’s Genographic. Autosomal DNA does show traces of where all lines came from and this is represented in biogeographical maps, but maps from different companies will not be identical due to using a differing set of reference populations.
To see a video about autosomal inheritance, go to:
Chinese Genealogy Books Follow Male Lines (Y-DNA)
Recommended Websites for Beginners:
Recommended Books for Beginners:
Genetic Genealogy (DNA) 2016: Thursday, June 2, 2015
47th Annual Southern California Genealogy Jamboree, Friday-Sunday, June 3-5, 2016
11 optional Workshops with 3 on DNA topics.
Location: Los Angeles Marriott Burbank Airport Hotel
Register at http://scgsgenealogy.com Click on Jamboree.
http://uyeda.net/cam/ Direct link to photo collection.
On Saturday, August 23, 2015, docent Michael Ho and Chinese American Museum’s Director of Operations and Programs, Michael Truong, gave a special tour of the museum to 32 members and friends of the Chinese Family History Group of So Cal.
Michael Truong welcomed us and informed us that CAM is jointly operated by the Friends of the Chinese American Museum and the City of Los Angeles. It is housed in the city-owned Garnier Building, built in 1890 in the area of Los Angeles’ original Chinatown. Recognized as the oldest surviving structure in Southern California that is linked to the Chinese community, it originally housed Chinese businesses and civic organizations.
Our guides then proceeded to lead us, in two groups, through the on-going exhibits on display.
The ground floor exhibit, “Journeys,” features Chinese immigration to the U.S. with emphasis on the history of Chinese in Los Angeles. Along one long wall is a pictorial timeline, beginning with the sojourn of Chinese from Guangzhou province in 1850s, then moving on to early contributions, anti-Chinese sentiment leading up to the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, and continuing with significant events, historical figures and milestones of the 19th and 20th centuries. Personal stories about local Chinese Americans are featured throughout. A separate room displays photos, documents, and other artifacts relating to Old Chinatown Los Angeles. Our guides pointed out examples of some early businesses (e.g. laundries, restaurants, produce markets), and the creation of civic and political organizations, such as the Native Sons of the Golden State, now known as the Chinese American Citizens Alliance.
The “Sun Wing Wo General Store and Herb Shop” exhibit is a re-creation of an actual shop that was housed in the Garnier Building in the 1890s. We were shown examples of acupuncture instruments and herbs that doctors specializing in Chinese medicine used. Banking and postal services were also available at the time the store was opened to the public. A letter writing service that was provided was essential for those workers who came with little or no education. Today visitors can write a postcard to their friends or relatives from a replica of a writing station.
The exhibit on the mezzanine floor is “Origins: The Birth and Rise of Chinese American Communities in Los Angeles.” Highlights include the creation of “New Chinatown,” Chinatown associations and youth groups such as the all-female Mei Wah Drum Corps, and the depiction of Chinatown in Hollywood movies. The exhibit chronicles the dispersion of Chinese population to Monterey Park and throughout the San Gabriel Valley during the years after lifting of severe immigration quotas by the U.S. Government in the 1960s. Our guides explained the reasons that Chinese began to populate areas to the east of Chinatown, and also described some of the challenges communities faced and continue to face, such as the “English-only sign” controversy in Monterey Park, which first occurred during the ‘80s.
At the end of the tour, we were treated to a mini-exhibit of our own. Some artifacts belonging to the Museum that are not currently on display were shown to us. They were:
We thank our tour guides and CAM for a highly informative and fascinating morning spent at the Museum. We learned much from their expert commentary and lively stories. For those of us who are researching our Chinese ancestors’ histories, the Museum provides a good overview and excellent primary source examples of the historical and cultural context in which they immigrated, lived and worked. As one tour member said, upon hearing and learning about the history of Chinese in Los Angeles and in the U.S., he realized how interconnected we all are to our past.
For more information about the Chinese American Museum, consult its website: http://camla.org/
Hunting DNA in China with Alice Fairhurst
10 a.m.-12:00 p.m., May 30, 2015
Instructor: Alice Fairhurst Facilitator: Steve Kwok
Alice introduced Kalani Mondoy, the Polynesian DNA expert from her FamilyTree DNA group. She gave her personal email address: firstname.lastname@example.org and that of the SCGS group: DNA@scgsgenealogy.com where she, Bonnie Cook and Kathy Johnston look at the email inquiries.
Alice informed that the 6 page handout Steve put together from Alice’s presentation contains the key information.
Alice indicated that the full PowerPoint presentation should not be distributed due to copyright concerns. Websites will be included in this document if one wishes to look at the data online.
OVERVIEW (See handout with link to his page, pg.1)
The research of Dr. Yan Shi (Polyhedron), Fudan University provided phylogenetic trees and maps showing where male and female lines appear in China. ALL maps, etc., are HIS work. (Do not copy. Ryan Wei is his English-speaking associate and Alice’s contact. DO NOT contact Ryan directly – go through Steve Kwok and cc Alice ONLY.
Personal DNA: 3 types
APRIL 2015 MEETING - WRITING FAMILY HISTORY STORIES that your family will want to read with Jeanette Shelburne
CFHGSC Writing Workshop
10 a.m.-12:30 p.m., April 25, 2015
Instructor: Jeanette Shelburne Facilitator: Carol Ng
Pre-workshop Participant Preparation: participants were asked to choose what they wanted to write about from this list: 1) one ancestor of interest to you; 2) a cultural practice of your family or a saying or proverb; 3) a family celebration or family activity; 4) your trip to China to discover your family village - what you found, if anything; who you found; how you found it; your reaction; 5) your interaction with a particular older relative like a grandparent; 6) the immigration story of one of your ancestors, or the story of your own immigration. They were asked to write down some notes on the topic and bring copies of photos and/or documents to share.