Mongolia Compiled Genealogies

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In Asia, probably no nation or people can match the Chinese in the field of genealogy and family histories. In contrast, the Mongols, whose way of life was pastoral-nomadic and whose writing system did not develop until 1204, could not maintain such excellent records as their neighbors. However, because of the basic dynamic of Mongolian society and their strict exogamous marriage system, they kept a purity of blood lines in their clan-lineages and preserved their genealogy with great care. It was memorized and transmitted orally by the elders to their youth from generation to generation. The first dependable recorded source of this type of oral genealogy is the well-known Secret History of the Mongols, written in the 1240s in the Mongolian language.

As for Mongolian family history, some of the old elite families had historical records but these records were uncommon among the illiterate common people. Nevertheless, the oral tradition of nomadic heritage continued, according to which the elders faithfully remembered by heart the stories and genealogy of their own family. Unfortunately, from the 1920s, because of the Communist revolution, this precious oral tradition with its associated memories has declined.

During the 1980 World Conference on Records, Sechin Jagchid and Paul V. Hyer made a presentation, Genealogy and Family History in Mongolia, which is available in World Conference on Records : preserving our heritage, 1980, Vol 11, Asian and African family and local history, FHL book 929.1 W893 1980 v. 11.

Compiled Genealogies[edit | edit source]

Mongolians have a long tradition of keeping genealogies, including pedigrees and family books. These records were kept by Genghis Khan and other members of the ruling elite to define social privileges and by commoners to prevent marriage of close blood relatives. Some are printed; most are manuscript. Many are painted or stitched into silk or other fabrics. Some cover the broader family; some cover more narrow lineage and the more immediate generations.

The earliest records date from the time of Genghis Khan in the 1200s. The keeping of such records was forbidden after the Mongolian Revolution of 1921. The publication of genealogies has resumed since 1990.

Records show lineage structure and cite achievements of family members. They show male descendants in linked patrilineal sequence from founding ancestors, indicate generation order and the pertinent branches. Standard entries include generation order, surnames and usually multiple given names of males, death date or burial date and place, patrilineal lineage and often the surname of the wife's family. Other entries may include the name of the wife's father, titles and honors for more noteworthy individuals, and more recently the given names of women.

Records can be found in the National Archives of Mongolia, libraries, and in private possession. There are also reports that come some genealogies are located in libraries outside of the country.

The earliest genealogies covered only the nobility but since about 1600 they have included as much as 70 percent or more of the population. Many were intentionally destroyed after the Mongolian Revolution. It is possible that as much as 30 percent of these records still exist somewhere, but the figure could be much lower. Thus the population coverage of these records could be as low as 5 percent or as much as 30 percent.

The Family History Library has Tables genealogiques & histoires particuliers des princes & rois Mongols available on microfilm.

Genealogies of Genghis Khan[edit | edit source]

Reported by China.org.cn:

"The genealogy of a Mongol family related to the descendants of the great Mongol Emperor Genghis Khan has been included in China's list of ancient archives.

"The eight-meter-long document of Tulin Gujen's family lists 14 generations with over 1,900 Mongols, most of whom served as high- ranking officials, from 1635 to the early 1900s, said Zhao Yunpeng, deputy head of the Liaoning Provincial Archives.

"The genealogy, the largest ever found, is kept at the archives of Harqin Left Wing Mongolian Autonomous County, west of Liaoning Province, northeast China."[1]


The following was reported in The People's Daily:

"Studies of a Mongol genealogy may help unveil some mysteries in Chinese history, such as the whereabouts of the remains of Genghis Khan (1167-1227), the great Mongol emperor whose grandson founded the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), and the fate of his descendants.

"The eight-meter-long genealogy, the largest ever found, lists 14 generations of over 1,900 Mongols of the family, most of whom served as high-ranking officials between 1635 and the early 1900s.

"On top of the family tree was Tulin Gujen, a man who lived in the late Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and whose forefather Djelme contributed tremendously to Genghis Khan's unification of Mongolian tribes.

"'Genghis Khan therefore decreed that his family ally with the Djelme's, and his own daughter was married to Djelme's son,' said Hu Guozhi, a Mongolian scholar in the Harqin Left Wing Mongolian Autonomous County, west of Liaoning Province, northeast China, where the genealogy was found.

"Since then, the two families have been closely linked by marriage between their offspring. Tulin Gujen, like his forefathers, married an offspring of Genghis Khan.

"In history books, Tulin Gujen was referred to as the last fuma, or son-in-law of Genghis Khan."[2]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Largest Mongol Genealogy Listed in Ancient Archive, Xinhua News agency December 23, 2003
  2. The People's Daily, Mongol Genealogy May Unveil Mysteries About Genghis Khan 12 October 2001.