Posted by j.v. gabriel on September 11, 1999 at 04:28:14:
In Reply to: AMOY, CHINA posted by Joy Gabriel-Birkel on September 10, 1999 at 15:26:50:
: I am in the process of tracing the lineage of my gggrandfather who came from Amoy, China. He was a merchant marine, who often travelled to the Philippine Islands. Can anyone offer me some insight as to where I can begin my search?
hi my name is joel gabriel, are we related? hey perhaps we are!
well i don't know if i can really help you out in any specific way but
we seem to have a lot in common. i too am part chinese, (1/4 to be exact)
by my mother's side. my grandfather was also from amoy, fukien china.
it seems that most of the people in the philippines and southest asia are
from fukien provence, where amoy is located.
it would really help alot if you knew your chinese name and could write it.
this would help in that we could translate the name from hokkienese (the dialect
spoken in amoy) into mandarin. at least this way you could see if there are any
chinese associations that might be able to help you out. but most of the time,
the chinese in america come from canton and guandong provence and speak cantonese.
not too many people from fukien here.
also you might be able to check on the internet for you last name and even if
you are lucky can get someone with the same last name. for example my last name in
hokkienese is sim, and in mandarin it turned into shen. figure that out. just how
it is pronounced in mandarin can drastically change. my cousin also 1/4 chinese has
the last name of tan, but in mandarin it turned into chen.
either way it really does help if you can write down the last name. another
suggestion is to ask someone from taiwan, and who speaks taiwanese. taiwanese is just
another name for this dialect. it seems that the people from amoy were great sailors
and found their way around southeast asia with great ease.
another source of just general information can be found in a book by lynn pan.
it is called "the sons of the yellow emperor" a book of the chinese diaspora. this is
a very good book on the chinese migration patterns. it will give you insight to why
most of the old chinatowns in the united states are mostly cantonese, not hokkienese.
i can tell you that if you do not know how to write your chinese last name it will
be nearly next to impossible to find out anything. and like i have mentioned above, even
if you know it and can pronounce it, it would help alot how to write it. i am currently
taking a chinese class. and there is one student who is half chinese. she can pronounce
her name but since it is in cantonese. the teacher cannot give translate the name into
mandarin cause the student does not know the meaning or the characters in her name.
o.k. i think that i have gotten off on a tangent. let me try to see what you can
do to find out about you family tree. i am guessing that your grandfather, like mine
has already passed away. do you know if he had any brothers or sisters? perhaps back
in the philippines? aunts and uncles are a great source of information about your parrents
and grandparents. also if you know where he settled in the p.i. this could also help. cause
he might have some relatives with the same last name, or same clan. perhaps some that even
came from the same place, village, city, town, ect.
well i hope that what i wrote down is going to be of some help to you in discovering
your chinese heritage. i wish you all the luck in finding out your family tree. remember
where there's a will there is a way.
p.s. could we be related? where is your father from? mine is from bataan, p.i..
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