Posted by ET on February 01, 1999 at 07:51:15:
Easier guide for tracing surnames:
1) find out the Chinese character for the surname;
2) If you do not know the character and cannot find out, then find out the dialect group of the person;
3) Once you have the dialect group, it will be easier to obtain the chinese character for it.
First, some facts.
People in China speak Mandarin only because it is the unifying language (originates from Northern China).
China is the almost the size of the whole of Europe and so in every province, people speak a different
dialect. In fact, for example, if the person is Teochew/Teochiu, he would probably come from Swatow (a trading port technically
in the Guangdong province). Aroung Swatow there are many villages...eg Meng Hsing, Chin Yan, Chao Yang etc...
This is used for narrowing the search.
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