Publications and Research

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2016


The purpose of this paper is to provide an extensive analysis of the Chinese family history, using genealogical records or jiapu for the study. It starts with an introduction to the historical development of genealogy, defining and conducting family history research, building the subject in curriculum, offering pertinent sources for genealogical research, as well as providing background information for writing your own jiapu. The topics extend from writing a family history to compiling a genealogy and illustrating the methods, approaches, styles, and skills used in the compilation process.

Chinese Americans searched for their identities and strove for achievement in the United States. Respect for the elders is considered as one of the outstanding virtues of Chinese culture. The importance of this trait is underscored via its record-keeping traditions and clan genealogies which was fostered by centuries of Confucian philosophy. Some of the history of Chinese in America can in fact be found not only in China but also internationally around the world. In this paper, the author will share her experiences and ideas on building and enhancing family history research through understanding the major components of jiapu, library resources, collaborative projects, oral history interviews, and case studies. Readers will learn how to conduct family history research so that they could incorporate the knowledge to build their own jiapu or expand existing documents through the learning curve.


This work was originally published in Chinese America: History and Perspectives, the Chinese Historical Society of America

Included in

Asian History Commons



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