Sunday, January 17, 2010


I believe this is something new.

Genealogy is the study of families and the tracing of their lineages and history.

I have a mentor and friend - Dr Philip Tan, who introduced this genealogy thingy to me.

I believe it's something worth a try, as a show of respect and appreciation of what made you today - your forefathers and ancestors.

Someone with a same linage blood line as I - Mr. Tan Shi Sheng actually posted a comment on my blog at

citing he is in fact, someone of my grandfathers generation, but is only 39 years old!

So it seems this is a small world and we may find people who are actually relatives of us leaving amongst us and yet we don't know.

Of course it'll be cool to know that you have your family generation records with you.

So I guess this is what genealogy is all about. It's quite popular especially in 1st world countries like the US and Europe, whereby people are putting in their best effort to trace their linage.

So, I am happy to share this post on behalf of Dear Dr Philip:


I am the one who went with Wee Ser to Eng Chuan (潁川) Association in Melaka looking Tan ()’s zupu and jiapu from the Province of Fujian (福建). In particular we are trying to find a copy of Wee Ser jiapu/zupu without him having to go to his ancestral village to source for one. Since the last Chinese New Year, I have being trying in getting Wee Ser to trace his pedigree lineage to see where our ancestral lines would meet.

From what I can read from 詩聖’s comment to Wee Ser posting at (, he probably already know his pedigree line and thus know at point in the pedigree line he and Wee Ser share a the common ancestor at the 9th generation of that Tan branch. Wee Ser being in the 29th generation, it would be 20 generations before Wee Ser or 19 generations before 詩聖. Last year I met Dr Tan Ching Sin, a lecturer in the university where Wee Ser is now studying, over some professional matters. After the meeting we discovered his ancestry is from the same ancestral village Xiaohu (小岵) as mine. From my ancestral village zupu, I manage to trace our common ancestor. I am in generation 33 while Dr Tan Ching Sin is in generation 36 and he is my 16th cousin thrice removed, so our common ancestor is 18 generations before me or 21 generations before him. We are now connected in the same family tree group in Geni. In our family tree group, I am also connected to a Chin in New York (my 50th cousin twice removed), another Chin in Boston (50th cousin twice removed), a Chan in Canada (50th cousin once removed) and two separate Tan family branches in Kuala Lumpur whose ancestral villages are in Hainan. Whilst I am able to connect up with other Tan/Chin/Chan/Chen () with ancestral villages in other provinces, I have yet to be successful to connect up with other Tan with ancestral villages in Fujian (福建). That is one reason why I am pushing Wee Ser to trace his pedigree line. I hope 詩聖 would be interested to find out where our ancestral line crossed.

Whilst Wee Ser was excited in at least getting his generation poem for his family lineage during our trip to Melaka, I was actually quiet disappointed with the total lack of any Tan family records available there. The person in charge there is also a Tan from the same ancestral village in Young Chun (永春) as I am but he knows not which generation he belongs to, let alone the generation poem of his ancestral line. I had to email him the generation poem of Xiaohu (小岵) which is as follow:












I am very happy to learn that 詩聖, some 26 years younger than me, is not only keenly interested in tracing his genealogy but also is trying to rebuilt the family zupu. I hope every younger readers of Wee Ser blog would try to record as much their genealogy data before they are lost through the passage of time. In particular I would strongly recommend you record at least the following:

1. Your ancestors names (in Chinese characters) as far back as possible. In this respect also your ancestors relatives of the same surname.

2. The name of the ancestral village in China where your ancestors came from.

3. Get photographs of the tombstones of your ancestors. They would reveal quite a lot of information.

The older readers should take the above steps if you had not already done so. In this connection allow me to quote below from an email my son wrote to an Internet friend of mine from US:

"Dear Mr. Tom,

First of all, I would like to apologize for my tardiness in writing this email. Although I know it s a poor excuse, I have been extremely busy with my semester and I had much to do for my examinations during the time I received your email. I hope the news that I am indeed in possession of the books that you desire, makes up for the delay in my response to your kind email. It would be my pleasure to hand over this book for your use.

I would also like to take this opportunity to express my admiration and gratitude of your work in the study of genealogy. As a third generation, Chinese migrant in a foreign country, I have long wondered about my roots and where indeed do I lie in the grand history of the Chinese race? How did I get to where I am today? In fact my mind abound with thoughts based on the simple quesion of "Where did I come from?" It is through the hard work of men and women like you that we, the younger generation of the world owe a debt of gratitude. In the words of Pulitzer Prize winner Alex Haley, a prominent African American historical novelist, "In every conceivable manner, the family is link to our past, bridge to our future". If this is so, then you and others like you sir, have given us a bridge to our future.

In the past two years, I have often had discussions and been enlightened by my father about my past. Many hours have been spent with me being enthralled by the tales of how the "Tan" family came to exist in China, the tales of how my ancestral home came to be named and indeed how as a tribe the Tan has spread all over the world. The knowledge that I do indeed have a history and am preceded with generations of kinsmen leaving their footprint in the sands of time, leaves me with a sense of pride that I am looking forward to pass on in the event that I have children of my own or nephews and nieces. As such, it delighted me when my father told me about a distant (albeit indirectly linked) "uncle" I have in the United States that share his own passion. With your kindself, adding much to my father's knowledge of genealogy, the tales that I have been hearing from my father has become richer and deeper. I thank you sir for teaching my father so much and aiding him in his quest for tracing our genealogy. As a son, it brings me great joy to see my father's passion expanded and as a grandson in the sands of time, it encourages me to travel the bridge of history into the future.

Once again, I thank you for all that you have done and it would be my honor to present you with the Hakka Chinese book as my meager contribution to your work.

Yours Sincerely,
Adrian Tan"

In readers should think that you need to know reading in Chinese before you could start tracing you genealogy, I only need you to know that Mr. Tom (the person my emailed to) and I are both illiterate in Chinese. But that did not prevent us in our search for our past. I do not think that we had achieved so far is of no small measure. You could judge for yourself should you care to the following:

Thread “Common Ancestor with Surname Chen (/)” under the Chinese Genealogy section. There are 8 pages so far.

Also see “Clan Progenitor References” under the thread “Chen/Tan/Chan/Chin (/)” Clan at the webpage below. Three are 4 pages.

All the above are at

I hope I would be able to have the privilege of meeting up with 詩聖 in the future to share and compare our interest in Chinese genealogy.

Philip Tan