China Collection of Genealogies (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at
Access the records: China, Collection of Genealogies, 1239-2010 .

Title in the Language of the Record

中國, 族譜收藏

Record Description

Chinese Genealogy Collection includes images acquired from the National Archives of Japan and other institutions in Japan.

This collection will include records from 1500 to 2010.

The records are mostly about families who have lived in various provinces in China for several generations. Some of the records contain information about only the most recent few generations. Some of the records are hand-copied, while others are published records in standard format. Most of the records are easily readable, although some have damages due to age, water, and tight bindings. 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.

Records from the Feng Ping Shan Library Collection contains Chinese genealogy titles from Hong Kong University’s Feng Ping Shan Library. Microfilms come from four acquisition projects from the Hong Kong University. The records are not always complete and may not contain information that would normally appear in traditional Chinese genealogies, such as ancestral burial ground descriptions, family motto's or generation poems, and so on.

Additional collections have been added to this database, including records from the East Asian Library Collection from Columbia University in New York.

Genealogies of the Zhejiang Province from the Cultural Research Center of Taiyuan City have been added to this collection.

This collection now includes genealogies from the following: Hubei Provincial Library, the Shandong Province, Institute of History, the Chinese Academy of Social Science in Beijing, and the Taiwan Province Surname Studies Association.

Collections scheduled to be added to this database are from the Zhongshan Library, Shanghai Municipal Archives, and the Hainan University Institute for the Study of Ancient Literature.

Additional records are being added to this collection about residents of Jiangsu Guangdong, Henan, and Anhui Provinces of China.

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 size, generational depth, and type of information included in clan genealogies vary a great deal. Most of the genealogies microfilmed in various library collections are printed books that average ten volumes per title. However, most of the genealogies collected in special projects from private individuals in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Southeast Asia, and the Untied States are single volume manuscripts.

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

Records in this collection contain information between the Qing dynasty and the Republic era (1700s to early 1900s), even though some preface material includes earlier dates.

In the history of the Chinese people, there are three important elements that are significant, they are: China's history, the local gazette, and a clan's genealogy. Among these three elements, genealogy has the longest history and is the most influential. Family genealogies were recorded -- first by objects tied onto knotted rope and later by writing found on turtle shells, cow bones, and bronze -- to record the changes to a family's lineage and to honor that family's ancestors.

For an alphabetical list of records currently published in this collection, select the Browse link from the collection landing page.

Citation for This Collection

The following citation refers to the original source of the information published in Historical Records collections. Sources include the author, custodian, publisher, and archive for the original records..

"China, Collection of Genealogies, 1500-1900." Images. FamilySearch. : accessed 2013. Citing Feng Ping Shan Library, Hong Kong University.

Suggested citation format for a record in this collection.

Record Content

These 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 surname of the spouse, if known
  • The number and names of the male descendants of each couple, if known

How to Use the Record

To begin your search, it would be helpful if you knew the following information:

  • Ancestors name
  • Approximate year of birth
  • Name of Province

Search the Collection

To search the collection image by image select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page:
⇒ Select the appropriate “Family Name (姓氏)”
⇒ Select the appropriate “Country (國)”
⇒ Select the appropriate “Province (省)”
⇒ Select the appropriate “County (縣)”
⇒ Select the appropriate “Title (題名) and Year" which will take you to the images.

Look at the images one by one comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine if the image relates to them. You may need to look at several images and compare the information about the individuals listed in those images to your ancestors to make this determination.

Known Issues with This Collection

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 Wiki 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.

Related Websites

Related Wiki Articles

Contributions to This Article

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 Records.

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

Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections

When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records.

A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the wiki article Help:How to Cite FamilySearch Collections.

Citation Example for a Record Found in This Collection

"China, Collection of Genealogies, 1500-1900," images, FamilySearch ( accessed 9 May, 2012), Leng > 冷China > 中國Hunan > 湖南Xinhua 新化冷氏續修家乘 [4卷], 1862; citing University of Hong Kong. Chinese Genealogies. Fung Ping Shan Library, Pokfulam, Hong Kong.