Mongolia Compiled Genealogies

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Genealogy and Family History in Mongolia is an introduction to such records and can be found in the Proceedings of the World Conference on Records - 1980, Vol 11. (929.1 W893 1980)

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.

From a Dick Eastman newsletters comes this:

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 (24 feet) 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, reportedly the largest ever found, is kept at the archives of Harqin Left Wing Mongolian Autonomous County, west of Liaoning Province, northeast China.

Compiled genealogies

Research Use: Genealogies are the most significant lineage-linked genealogical source for Mongolia, and a primary research source. A researcher who can connect into one of these genealogies should be able to determine his pedigree accurately back to the 1600s and, often, much earlier.

Record Type: 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.

Time Period: About 1200 to present. The earliest date from the time of Genghis Khan in the 1200s. The keeping of such records was forbidden after 1921. The publication of genealogies has resumed since 1990.

Contents: 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.

Location: Mongolian National Archives and in private possession. Also, according to a church member from Mongolia, many Mongolian genealogies are located in libraries or archives in Taiwan.

Population Coverage: The earliest genealogies covered only the nobility but since about 1600 Mongolian genealogies probably covered as much as 70 percent or more of the population. Many were intentionally destroyed in the twentieth century. 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.

Reliability: Very reliable in recent generations. There may be some weak generational links in very early generations.[1]

Also available on microfilms are various genealogies of Mongol royal houses. (# 611947 through 611951). The text is written in Mongol with the Mongolian alphabet.

New discoveries

In the Dick Eastman Newsletter we find: (We need someone to research the date of this article and perhaps link to it) [citation needed]

Mongolians have had a long and rich history with several unusual genealogy twists. More than sixty years ago, the population was ordered to stop using family surnames. The Communist rulers proclaimed that each person was to use only their given names. A few years ago, the new generation of leaders reversed the older rule and ordered everyone to again start using surnames. A lot of confusion resulted, as many families had been dispersed in sixty years of war and turmoil. Many people did not know what surname to use.

Now, in a unique turnabout, newly-discovered Mongolian genealogy records are providing insights into the history of Mongolia and China. In fact, the records are correcting errors found in many history books. The studies of the newly-discovered 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 25-foot-long genealogy, the largest Mongolian genealogy 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.


  1. The Family History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “Family History Record Profile: Mongolia,” Word document, private files of the FamilySearch Content Strategy Team, 2001.