Chinese Genealogy

Past-Presence roundup: what’s new?

It’s an exciting time to be a Chinese genealogist. In this post I’ll share five quick stories about what’s new in the run up to Chinese New Year on Tuesday.

New edition of Getting Started in Chinese Genealogy

New and improved:

  • Tools for PC lovers
  • What are jiapus and how to find them online
  • Expanded section for beginning genealogists
  • Hurdling the Chinese language barrier with more tech tools for PC and Mac
  • learn to type Chinese on a computer
  • Make a Chinese cheat sheet
  • Exploring the Shanghai Library
  • Welcome to Baidu

Since it was released, Getting Started in Chinese Genealogy has been picked up by reference libraries and genealogists alike. Some people have taken the time to comment on what they’d like to see in a future edition, and the biggest request was, “Can you please help those of us on personal computers?”

Well. It wasn’t easy – in fact I had to buy a whole new computer, set it up, and then test, test, test. It’s been a long time since I worked exclusively on a PC and there were so many changes. But I’ve done it, and I’m so pleased with the results.

For every individual who bought a copy of the 2021 edition, stay tuned for a special offer for you. I like to reward my fans.

For more details, including how you might score a free copy, see my coming post for Chinese New Year, Tuesday, February 1, 2022.

New (to me) China Cemetery Records at FamilySearch

As I was updating my book, I was refreshing my knowledge of the vast stores of records at FamilySearch, and encountered a new (to me) collection. The “China Cemetery Records (1820-1983)” is not restricted to Chinese folks, nor is it exclusively in Chinese. I was able to find records of burials for servicemen buried in Hong Kong, but not at first, because all the geographic names are in Pinyin (and Chinese). For example, Hong Kong in Pinyin is Xianggang, and the Hong Kong collection is organized by districts. Find Kowloon in Jiulong, Hong Kong Island in Xianggangdao, and the New Territories in Xinjie. Here is a snip of what you can find in this collection.

China Cemetery Records for Hong Kong Island at FamilySearch

New monthly Chinese Genealogy coffee chats

For 2022, I’m offering a new and rebooted monthly coffee chat where I will be showing off some of the collated research I’ve been working on for the past year.

January was my first five tips for beginning Chinese genealogists, and February’s meeting on the 3rd will be the next five tips. In this series I’ll be touching base on everything from names to records. The meeting are in conjunction with the British Columbia Genealogical Society and free to attend even if you are not a member of the Society. All members of my Facebook Group Genealogy for Asian Canadians are welcome.

Please reach out to me directly on this site if you’re not on social media and would like an invite, and set a reminder in your calendar for the first Thursday of the month at 10:00 am Pacific.

New indexing project at FamilySearch: the Register of Chinese Immigration

Fellow Chinese genealogists, I do not need to explain to you how frustrating it can be to read how badly butchered our family names can be when the transcriber is not familiar with the names and districts. If you’ve got some time and would like to help out, consider assisting with the new FamilySearch indexing project of the Canadian “Registers of Chinese Immigration to Canada, 1885–1949.” This indexing project will help Chinese genealogists everywhere, and also give you good practise in reading the records themselves.

If you’re already familiar with The Register, you’ll know that results are only available at Library and Archives Canada by name search. Once the project is available on FamilySearch, you will be able to do something you cannot currently do: go through the records page by page. That alone is a tool of inestimable value to researchers.

Indexing project for the Register of Chinese Immigration (1885-1949) at FamilySearch

Coming: New Chinese genealogy videos

OK, last tidbit. I’ve been super busy in my little office.

I’m not quite ready to release it, but I’m developing a video library for the would be Chinese Canadian genealogist. It already has dozens of videos, and there’s more on the way. The site has transcripts and copies of the presentations and is organized so you can quickly and easily navigate to see exactly what you’re searching for. I’ve been developing themes and lectures for ages now and it’s time to get them all in one place.

Thank yous

To everyone who bought a copy of Getting Started in Chinese Genealogy, thank you. To everyone who wrote to me with comments and suggestions: this book is for you. And to Gail Dever at Genealogy à la carte, thank you for sifting through the huge array of news in the genealogical world and keeping us up to date.

4 thoughts on “Past-Presence roundup: what’s new?

    1. You’re so kind. I think if we can build a kind of groundswell of interest and understanding that this IS possible, we’ll go a long way in getting to the end goals of better genealogy for everyone.


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