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Re: looking for my chinese roots

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Posted by Yip-wang Law on May 31, 1999 at 04:25:50:

In Reply to: looking for my chinese roots posted by adrian on October 26, 1997 at 14:56:18:

: I was born in Chile - South America. I understand that my maternal greatgrandfather emigrated from Canton, China in the late 1800's to work in the Panama area (possible Panama Canal). He then moved south and settled in northern Chile where he married my greatgrandmother - a Spanish woman. Although in Chile he was legally known as Felipe Gonzalez (he had changed his name), his given name was "Choi". Since I am not knowledgeable in Chinese imigration history, can someone help me in finding more information? Is "Choi" a common name? Are there records in China or genealogical societies I could contact?

"Choi" is also spelt "choy" in Cantonese and spelt "Cai" or "Tsai" in Mandarin. It is from a feudal state by that name created by the Duke of Zhou around 1122 BC when the boy Emperor Cheng of the Zhou dynasty ascended the throne shortly after his father's (Emperor Wu) death. The first ruler of this state of Cai was Cai Shu-du, the fifth son of Emperor Wen who was the founder of the Zhou dynasty. But the state of Cai, together with some other states, later revolted against the Emperor, only to be put down by the duke. The duke then assigned someone else to rule the state. It lasted about 200 years more before it was annexed by the State of Chu. After that, the Cai people adopted the state name as their family name. If "choi" is a given name, it is probably the character that means money, or wealth. It occurs in the Cantonese phrase "Hung Hee Fat Choy", a Chinese new year greeting that wishes you a prosperous new year.

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