- Gordon Dumoulin
40,000 Chinese genealogies under one roof...
40,000 𝘥𝘪𝘧𝘧𝘦𝘳𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘨𝘦𝘯𝘦𝘢𝘭𝘰𝘨𝘪𝘦𝘴 𝘪𝘯 300,000 𝘷𝘰𝘭𝘶𝘮𝘦𝘴, 𝘵𝘰𝘵𝘢𝘭𝘪𝘯𝘨 456 𝘴𝘶𝘳𝘯𝘢𝘮𝘦𝘴 𝘶𝘯𝘥𝘦𝘳 𝘰𝘯𝘦 𝘳𝘰𝘰𝘧... 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘯𝘦𝘸 𝘩𝘰𝘮𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘊𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘢’𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘤𝘦𝘴𝘵𝘰𝘳s 𝘳𝘦𝘤𝘰𝘳𝘥𝘴...
While the new massive East branch of the Shanghai Library, opened in Pudong district last autumn, is renowned for its architecture (architect Chris Hardie), size, expositions and services, one of its original, major driving force to build the new library was a new home for arguably the world’s top collection of Chinese genealogies.
Some scholars argue the practice of genealogy records dates back 3000-3500 years ago, to the Shang dynasty (1600-1046 B.C.), though it didn’t reach its peak until the Wei, Jin, and Southern and Northern dynasties period (roughly A.D. 220-581). In an era dominated by powerful clans, genealogies were a vital means of establishing family ties, blood relationships, marital alliances, even bureaucratic posts.
Did you know that the top 100 Chinese surnames account for about 85% of China's population (from a total of about 4,000 surnames). And the top 5 Chinese surnames (王 Wang, 李 Li, 张 Zhang, 刘 Liu, 陈 Chen) are also world’s most common surnames, each with 70-100 million worldwide.
老百姓 (Lǎo Bǎi Xìng); literally. 'Old Hundred Surnames' is an ancient and traditional term describing the Chinese people. A term originated from the early Song Dynasty (960-1279)
Read more in Sixthtone about the culture, records, lores and tales of Chinese genealogy over millennia during the different dynasties :
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Pictures Sixthone, Shanghai Daily