China Collection of Genealogies - FamilySearch Historical Records

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China, Collection of Genealogies, 1239-2014
This article describes a collection of records at
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Record Description
Collection years: 1239-2014
Languages: Chinese
Title in the Language: 中國, 族譜收藏
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites

What Is in the Collection?[edit | edit source]

This collection will include records from 1239-2014.

This collection is comprised of Chinese genealogy records collected from various institutions and sources in China, North America, and some Southeast Asian areas.

The records are mostly about families who have lived in various provinces in China for several generations. They consist of clan genealogies, civil records, compiled biographies, histories, and genealogy charts. Although some genealogies reach as far back as 1239, the time period and content of the records will vary from one genealogy to the next.

Since most of the records are written in traditional Chinese characters, it is assumed that the user should be able to read Chinese or get help from someone who can read Chinese to fully benefit from this collection. See the section titled For Help Reading These Records for translation tools.

These records are written in Chinese.

To Browse This Collection[edit | edit source]

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for China, Collection of Genealogies, 1239-2014.

Collection Content[edit | edit source]

Sample Images[edit | edit source]

Genealogy collections generally include the following information:

  • A brief history of the origin of the family and the dispersion pattern of some of the branches
  • A list of male ancestors’ names according to generation order
  • The birth year or death year of the ancestor, if known
  • The maiden name or surname of the spouse, if known
  • The number and names of the male descendants of each couple, if known

How Do I Search the Collection?[edit | edit source]

To begin your search, it is helpful to know the following information:

  • Ancestor's name
  • Approximate year and place of birth
  • Province
  • Any family relationships

To search by image:
To search the collection by image, select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page:
⇒Select the appropriate "Family Name"
⇒Select the appropriate "Country"
⇒Select the appropriate "Province"
⇒Select the appropriate "County"
⇒Select the appropriate "Title and Year" which will take you to the images.

Search the collection by image and compare the information you find with what you already know about your ancestors to determine if the image relates to them. You may need to compare several images in order to make this determination.

For Help Reading These Records[edit | edit source]

These records are in Chinese. For help reading the records, see the following links:

Tips to Keep in Mind[edit | edit source]

  • When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct; there may be more than one person in the records with the same name as your ancestor.
  • Your ancestor may have used nicknames or different names at different times.
  • Titles may be clues to property ownership, occupations, rank, or status within the community.
  • Check for variant spellings of the names.

General Information About These Records[edit | edit source]

The size, generational depth, and type of information included in clan genealogies is varied. Some of the records have been obtained from private households and collectors in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Southeast Asia, and the United States. These records may be hand-copied, single volume manuscripts that only contain information about recent generations in a few pages of pedigree charts. Other records may be published in a standard format or have a deeper wealth of information. Most of the records are easily readable, although some documents have been damaged due to aging, water droplets, and tight bindings.

Records in this collection primarily contain information between the Qing dynasty and the Republic era (1700s to early 1900s), though some material from earlier and later dates is included.

Most of the genealogies that have been microfilmed in the various library collections are printed books that average ten volumes per title.

Clan or lineage genealogies constitute the major source material for Chinese family historians and genealogists. Scholars have shown that clan genealogies can be a valuable source for research into Chinese history.

The objectives of Chinese genealogical research have changed tremendously over time. Researchers are now studying Chinese genealogies as a supplement to other research areas, such as social and economic history, geographical history, history of law, population history, religion and culture, history of overseas Chinese, inheritance practices, and biography of historical figures.

In the history of the Chinese people, there are three elements that are significant: (a) China's history, (b) the local gazette, and (c) a clan's genealogy. Of these three elements, clan genealogies have the longest history and are the most influential. Family genealogies were recorded first as objects tied onto knotted rope and later by writing on turtle shells, cow bones, and bronze. These purpose of these records was to memorialize changes in a family's lineage and honor that family's ancestors.

Known Issues With This Collection[edit | edit source]

Important.png Problems with this collection?
See a list of known issues, workarounds, tips, restrictions, future fixes, news and other helpful information.

For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.

Citing This Collection[edit | edit source]

A citation is a note that shows where you found information. Citations help you keep track of places you have searched and sources you have found. Using citations allows others to find the same records.

Collection Citation:

Collection Citation:
The citation for this collection can be found on the Collection Details Page in the section Citing this Collection.

Image Citation: This template has been deprecated and is no longer used.

When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen. You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for China, Collection of Genealogies, 1239-2014.

How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?[edit | edit source]

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Historical Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.