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Re: Wen Chong Yao

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Posted by M. H. Yee ( on July 22, 2004 at 12:21:59:

In Reply to: Wen Chong Yao posted by Worthy Wen on July 19, 2004 at 22:34:48:

Is the pinyin spelling of your ancestor Wen Zongyao--zong for "clan" and yao for "personal name of a mythical Emperor"? If so, I have seen a list of people with the Wen surname in which this name occurs. This said person has two Qing titles: one roughly translates as "The Great Offical representing Qing Intersts, and Stationed at Tibet"; and the other being "The Envoy Concerning Outside Trade and the Two Guang [i.e. Guangdong and Guangxi] Provinces." This Chinese article implies a connection between Zongyao and the Luodong Wen lineage of Taishan but the relationship is not clear since often the assumption is made that if one has the same surname, and is from the same county, then one must belong to the same lineage. My advice is that you do further research into this possible connection, because if you do belong to this lineage, then there might be additional genealogical information available to you as this article also mentions a Luodong Zupu [Luondong Lineage Register or Genealogy].
As to your question about a possible Jewish ancestry, I can suggest some academic books: William C. White's Chinese Jews (1966), and Michael Pollack's Madarins, Jews, and Missionaries (1980). These books should be found in a university library and might be available to you via inter-library loans and your local library. Than being said, from my limited knowledge of this subject, there are relatively few surnames associated with the Chinese Jews and the resources say that some of their early ancestors were bestowed Chinese surnames by the Emperors (Song dynasty). Such surnames from the Jews at kaifeng, Henan province, include Li, An, Ai meaning "a type of herb," Gao, Mu, Zhao, Zhang, Jin, Zhou, Shih, Huang, Nie, Zuo and Bai. Furthermore, there had in the past, been a tendency for perfered marriage between this limited group of surnames. In a recent contemporary but short artical about the Chinese Jews in the Toronto based bilingual magazine, Ricepaper (2004), a few more surnames can be included such as Ai meaning "love." None of my personal lists include the surname Wen and althought it is said that there has been a Jewish (and/or Muslim) community at Guangzhou since at least Ming times, the movement of any Sino-Jew from the provincial capital to a more remote rural setting seems unlikely, especially without some oral or written reference to this ethnicity in the regional or local histories. Could this Jewish ancestor be someone else of a different surname and from another region? You might entertain the ideal of a Hui or Muslim connection since some resources suggest certain affinites between the two including the common label of "People who do not eat pork." As well, both seem to give some significance to their place of worship having the name of, or having a similiar name to, Qingzhen or "Pure Truth."

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