Many involved in Chinese genealogy research are family with the Chinese jiapu/zupu and perhaps local gazetteers. Tony King addressed both of these critical tools but also provided an introduction into the rich world of other documents and resource materials that originated in China. These included marriage agreements, property records, residential registrations, census records, examination rosters, obituaries, Chinese language newspapers, funerary epigraphy, clan association records, to name a few. He discussed the possible value these have to our genealogical research; repositories such as archives, libraries, and the internet; and search strategies.
Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Tony King is of Toisanese roots. His ancestors immigrated to the U.S. in the late 1800’s. Since entering retirement some ten years ago, he has concentrated on searching out his Chinese roots. He has conducted research during extended stays in China, as well as during trips to California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, New York, and Canada. He serves as a volunteer for FamilySearch, consulting with patrons seeking assistance.
A recording of the Webinar will be available to CFHGSC Members shortly.
Qīngmíng (also known as “Tomb-sweeping Day”) 2021 occurred on April 4th; it’s a “festival” when many ethnic Hàn Chinese families return to the gravesites of their ancestors to pay their respects. In this talk, the Patrick Chew delved into the history and background of the festival, examined the potential treasure trove of family history information to be found at the cemeteries, some more tidbits on surnames and names, as well as touched on some current relevant projects.
A recording of this webinar is available to CFHGSC members.
Who is Shee 氏?
U.S. History and Chinese American Women
Presented by Marisa Louie Lee and Zachary Wilske
In observance of Women's History Month, the Chinese Family History Group of Southern California presented, "Who is Shee 氏 ?"
Zack Wilske discussed the history of US immigration laws and its impact on Chinese American women focusing on marriage and citizenship regarding the derivation of nationality, expatriation, marriage, and repatriation. Marisa Louie Lee will joined the conversation sharing her great grandmother, Ng Shee's story who was born in Fresno, California in 1887 and how these laws directly affected her family.
Marisa Louie Lee - 雷妙玲 is a freelance archival researcher who first encountered historical archives while discovering her own family's roots in the United States. She has worked for the National Archives at San Francisco and the Chinese Historical Society of America. Marisa occasionally presents workshops and talks on archival research for family history and is a proud alumna of the “Friends of Roots” program. She and her family live in San Francisco.
Zack Wilske is the Senior Historian for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. His research interests include the history of the Immigration & Naturalization Service, the development of federal immigration and nationality policies, and the uses of INS records for historians and genealogists. Zack speaks regularly at genealogy and academic meetings. He has published articles on researching with INS records, and has served as President of the Society for History in Federal Government.
February 2021 Meeting - Food and Tradition Stories: A Celebration of Heritage Family and Tradition with Chef Martin Yan
To celebrate the Year of the Ox, world renowned Chef Martin Yan joined the Chinese Family History Group of Southern California to share stories from his rich Chinese heritage. In the Chinese culture, food and family traditions are essential during Chinese New Year. Chef Yan performed a live cooking demonstration featuring some of his favorite Chinese dishes.
Chef Yan invited viewers to cook along with him as he did a cooking demonstration and shared his stories and images of his youth in China. As is his trademark, Chef Yan executed his dishes with expert techniques, enthusiasm and lively conversation. We loved the way Chef Yan wove in his family stories by using the language of food. He prepared Chinese New Year dishes, full of symbolism and not normally seen on restaurant menus, including Kaiping Braised Chicken, Lotus Gold Coins and Red Snapper in Eight Treasures Sauce. We appreciate his generosity of spirit in giving to our organization included not just his time, but a portion of sales proceeds from his website store.
1. Participant Number 168- Sheila B. Petaluma, CA
2. Participant Number 88- Ron Y. Belmont, MA
3. Participant Number 388- Gene L. Fremont, CA
4. Participant Number 99- Grant D. Oakland, CA
5. Participant Number 418- Janet L. London, Ontario, Canada
6. Participant Number 18- May W. San Jose, CA
Gold and Silver members of the Chinese Family History Group are able to view the recording of the presentation by logging in at programs.chinesefamilyhistory.org To become a member, please find out more by selecting Join/Donate in the website menu.
Please see the recipes for the three dishes that were prepared below or download printable copies by clicking here:
Good Fortune Lotus Gold Coins
Makes 6 servings
2 medium lotus root, peeled, cut into ¼-inch-thick rings
¼ cup cornstarch for dusting
1/4 cup chicken broth
2 cubes fermented bean curd, crushed
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro, including stems
3 tablespoons rice wine
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
8 ounces ground pork
4 ounces shrimp, shelled, deveined, chopped
1 Chinese sausage, chopped
1-1/2 tablespoons chopped salted cooked duck egg
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 - 3 tablespoons cooking oil
Copyright: Yan Can Cook, Inc. 2021
Bountiful Fish in Eight Treasures Sauce
Makes 4-6 servings
1 whole fish (1-1/2 to 2 pounds), such as sea bass or red snapper, cleaned and scaled
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon white pepper
2 teaspoons cornstarch for dry coating
2/3 cup fish or chicken stock
1 tablespoon oyster-flavored sauce
2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce
2 teaspoons Shao Hsing wine or dry sherry
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon fish sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
3 tablespoons cooking oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 green onion, thinly sliced
2 jalapeno or serrano chiles, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons dried shrimp, soaked to soften, coarsely chopped
4 dried black mushrooms, soaked to soften, coarsely chopped
¼ cup chopped water chestnuts (fresh or canned)
2 teaspoons chopped Chinese anchovies (optional)
1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 2 teaspoons water
Copyright: Yan Can Cook, Inc. 2021
Kaiping Braised Duck (Chicken)
Makes 6 - 8 servings
1 duck (or chicken fryer)
8 thin slices ginger
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 pieces dried tangerine peel, soaked to soften
2 cups soup stock
1/4 cup rice wine
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
Cooking oil for deep-frying
6 ounces dried bean curd sticks
4 ounces dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked to soften
1 small daikon (Japanese radish), cut into 1-inch pieces
1 small onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
6 – 8 fresh arrowroot, peeled and cut in half (optional)
1/2 cup sliced lotus root
Cilantro sprigs for garnish
Copyright: Yan Can Cook, Inc. 2021
More About Chef Yan
A legendary TV icon and host of numerous cooking shows around the world, Martin Yan is a Master Chef, instructor, and prolific author of over 30 cookbooks.
Born in Guangzhou, China, Chef Yan acquired a passion for cooking at an early age. He honed his skills at a culinary institute in Hong Kong and earned a Master of Science degree in Food Science at the University of California Davis. During this time, he discovered a flair for teaching.
In 1978, he launched the Yan Can Cook series, infusing cooking lessons with his own brand of humor and skill. Generations of audiences have grown up watching his shows and learning the joy and wonders of Chinese and Asian cuisines. Chef Yan is a popular guest instructor at many top culinary institutions around the world. Teaching remains near and dear to the heart of Chef Yan.
* Winning numbers were selected by Chef Yan. Numbers were assigned by Zoom to participants. Participant numbers were unknown to members of the Chinese Family History Group or Chef Yan until after the completion of the event. All winners were notified by a congratulatory email.
Michael Ho gave an overview of Chinese naming conventions and practices that family history researchers may encounter in their research of Chinese ancestors. Topics included surnames, differences in pronunciations, name order, married women's names, and alternate names. He also gave a demonstration of conducting searches using Chinese names, along with strategies on how to obtain better results
CHINESE NAME GAME Q&A
Questions posed from participants of “The Chinese Name Game”
The group of volunteers answering your questions have found there is more than one way to conduct your family research, and there may be more than one answer to your question. We strive to, at minimum, stoke your curiosity and inspire you to pursue further research.
From Monterey Park, CA: My parents used to address most men as “Ah Sook”. I don’t believe that was his name as it was a very common address. Any explanation?
You are correct, most likely it wasn’t his first name. It was and is common to use “Ah” when addressing someone. There is a likely explanation for the use of “Ah Sook” by your parents. In Chinese kinship terms, there are two different terms to refer to an uncle, which are specific to whether that person is older or younger than your parent. In Cantonese and similar dialects, the terms for uncle are “Bok” and “Sook.” To properly address one’s uncle, he would be addressed by a given name followed by “Bok” or “Sook.” The terms “Ah Bok” or “Ah Sook” are polite ways to address men, who may not be related to you. It’s like saying someone is your “uncle,” even though he may not be blood-related.
From Irvine, CA: Do you recommend adding the Chinese characters when creating your family tree or adding them to databases, like FamilySearch or Ancestry?
When creating your family tree, we definitely recommend documenting your family member’s Chinese name. As your research continues, this definitely helps because family trees found in China consist of only Chinese characters. As far as adding them to free/paid databases, this becomes a personal choice. Are you willing to share the information in a public forum?
From Huntington Beach, CA: Do women also have “poem” names?
In history, the “poem” names documented the male lineage, which retained the clan surname. The women, when they married, became part of her spouse’s family, even though she retained her surname. There is one exception, and that is for the Naxi minority in mainly Yunnan province, where it is a matriarchal society.
From Huntington Beach, CA: My grandmother has “Shee” as the third character of her name. Based on what you’ve said, that is not really part of her given name, right?
You are correct if the character has been translated correctly. Often a Chinese character has more than one interpretation. We are answering this as if it has been done correctly. Shee is not a given name but indicates that the woman is married. The woman upon marriage retains her surname. One of the other two characters should be your grandmother’s surname.
From Los Angeles, CA: What exactly is a milk name?
A “milk name” is one that is given by the parents to a child until a formal name is decided on, after 100 days after birth.
Links shared during the Presentation:
AncestryLibrary (Some Links)
Los Angeles Public Library https://www.lapl.org//collections-resources/research-and-homework
Orange County Public Libraries http://www.ocpl.org/page/ancestry-library-edition
San Francisco Public Library https://sfpl.org/locations/main-library/general-collections/genealogy-resources-library
Oakland Public Library https://oaklandlibrary.org/research-resources/family-history-genealogy-resources
Sonoma County Library https://sonomalibrary.org/library-collection/ancestry-library
New York Public Library https://www.nypl.org/collections/articles-databases/ancestry-library-edition