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Tracing their roots: genealogical sources for Chinese immigrants to the United States

Sheau‐yueh J. Chao (William and Anita Newman Library, Baruch College, City University of New York, New York, New York, USA)

Collection Building

ISSN: 0160-4953

Article publication date: 18 April 2008




This paper seeks to discuss the genealogical sources for Chinese immigrants as well as the settlement of Chinese in the USA and the historical evolution of Chinese names, their origins, arrangement and development. It aims to cover the origins of various classes of Chinese surnames, followed by the content description of a traditional genealogical book for jiapu.


The paper researches the various ways that a Chinese person can find out about their ancestry.


The paper reveals the roles of libraries, including serving the needs of patrons interested in genealogical research, preserving and interpreting information through oral and family history projects and collaborating with other libraries through interlibrary loan, document delivery, library consortia, collection management and international resource‐sharing.

Research limitations/implications

The study provides information on where and how to locate the genealogical resources for researching the genealogy of a Chinese family.


The paper analyzes the value of genealogical research as a documentary source for population history, life expectancy in a clan, marriages and family connections, as well as lineage organizations and inter‐lineage relations.



Chao, S.J. (2008), "Tracing their roots: genealogical sources for Chinese immigrants to the United States", Collection Building, Vol. 27 No. 2, pp. 74-88.



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Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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