Cover image for In search of your Asian roots : genealogical research on Chinese surnames
In search of your Asian roots : genealogical research on Chinese surnames
Chao, Sheau-yueh J.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Baltimore, Md. : Reprinted for Clearfield Co. by Genealogical Pub. Co., 2000.
Physical Description:
xvii, 323 pages ; 22 cm
Geographic Term:
Format :


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Material Type
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CS1162 .C42 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
CS1162 .C42 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Grosvenor Room-Reference-Ethnic Collection

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Sheau-yueh J. Chao, a librarian on the staff of the Newman Library of Baruch College, has prepared a groundbreaking treatise on the related topics of Chinese-American genealogy and Chinese onomastics. In fact, her new book is the first basic tool in English that traces the origins of Chinese surnames. The Chinese possess one of the oldest genealogical traditions in the world, extending back to the Shang Period (1700-1122 B.C.E.). The author honors this tradition and provides context by including a glossary and a chronology of Chinese history to help readers in finding terms and the dates of imperial time periods referred to in the volume. Also included is a Pinyin to Wade-Giles Conversion Table for the benefit of readers who are less familiar with the Wade-Giles system of romanization of Chinese sounds adopted by the Library of Congress and utilized throughout the book. At the heart of the work are three principal chapters. Chapter 1 describes the history of Chinese surnames, the research on Chinese surnames in literature, and reasons surnames have changed in Chinese history. Chapter 2, by far the largest of the chapters, delivers a genealogical analysis of more than 600 Chinese surnames. Typically each surname sketch depicts the founder or other originating influence upon the name, the various locales associated with the surname, reasons behind alterations in the name, and so on. Chapter 3 consists of an annotated bibliography of Chinese and English language sources on Chinese surnames. The work concludes with separate indexes to family names, authors, titles, and Chinese-character stroke numbers (one mechanism used for grouping Chinese characters). The preparation of Genealogical Resources on Chinese Surnames was the result of a prodigious effort. Among other things, the author translated and analyzed nearly 200 books in ancient Chinese literature housed at Columbia University's East Asian Library, the Harvard-Yenching Library at Harvard University, and the Library of Congress. Its publication at this time is guaranteed to be a boon to East Asian researchers, librarians, bibliographers, students, and, of course, genealogical researchers working on their Chinese forebears.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

Listing names, important terms, and titles in English and Chinese, this reference work categorizes and discusses the origins of 622 Chinese surnames. In addition, it has introductory material, a history of surnames, long bibliographies of works in Chinese and English, and some Chinese history. In an interesting chapter on the history and origin of Chinese surnames, Chao, a librarian at Baruch College in New York, particularly notes that a handful of names (Li, Wang, Chang, Liu, Chao, Yen, Ch'en, Sun, Ma, and Wu) are by far the most common of hundreds of surnames. Given names, of course, are a matter of family choice and not based on precedent. Chao does not note the meanings of names unless the meaning is involved in the origin, and she distinguishes different listings (the five different Chung listings, for example) by their Chinese characters. This reference, which seems very complete and up to date, should be useful for Chinese Americans searching for their roots, although Chao assumes some knowledge of written Chinese. Recommended for academic libraries and public libraries serving a large Chinese population.DKitty Chen Dean, Nassau Coll., Garden City, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. v
Glossaryp. ix
Chronology of Chinese Historyp. xiii
Pinying to Wade-Giles Conversion Tablep. xv
1. History and Origin of Chinese Surnamesp. 1
2. Genealogy of Chinese Surnamesp. 13
3. Bibliography of Chinese Surnamesp. 223
Chinese Language Publicationsp. 225
English Language Publicationsp. 265
Family Name Indexp. 279
Stroke Number Indexp. 295
Author and Title Indexp. 311