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Chinese-Canadian Genealogy

Resources for Canadians of Chinese origin who wish to learn more about their personal connection to Chinese-Canadian history.

Start Your Research

Once you are organized and know how to use genealogical charts, you are ready to start your research.

If you haven't already done so, begin by filling in as much information as you can on your Ancestor Charts and Family Group Records.

Now look at the charts to see where information is missing. Finding this missing information is a major part of what genealogical research is all about.

It is generally recommended that you start with the generation closest to you (your children or yourself) and work backwards, one generation at a time. It is also a good idea to focus on one branch of the family at a time. For example, you might decide to follow your mother's paternal ancestral line - that is, her father, her father's father, her father's father's father, and so on.

You'll find information to help you locate the missing information in your genealogical charts in the Family Sources and Other Records sections of this website.

As you conduct your research, it is very important to Evaluate and Cite Your Sources and Keep a Research Log.

Other people with an interest and experience in researching their Chinese roots may also be able to help. There are two online Chinese Genealogy message boards on which you can post questions and share information with others.

Good luck!

If you want to establish an authentic family history, it's important to evaluate and cite your sources. Many people make sincere but fantastic claims about their family history that are built on circumstantial evidence and cannot be proven.

If, for example, you find a document indicating that your ancestor was the son of two particular people, don't accept it at face value. Continue looking in other sources for records that will confirm the linkage. Some genealogists argue that it requires at least three pieces of evidence to prove a connection. The challenges associated with the characteristics of Chinese Names can make the task very challenging.

For your own reference and for the sake of future generations (particularly anyone who may continue your genealogical research) it is very important to keep track of exactly where you find the information recorded on your genealogical charts.

Several books explore in greater detail the subject of genealogical standards of evidence and how to cite your sources:

About Genealogical Standards of Evidence: A Guide for Canadian Genealogists, 3rd ed. (2008)
Merriman, Branda Dougall
929.371 M57a2

Cite Your Sources: A Manual for Documenting Family Histories and Genealogical Records (1985)
Lackey, Richard S.
929.1 L14c

Evidence! Citation & Analysis for the Family Historian (1997)
Mills, Elizabeth S.
9229.1 M65e

How Do I Prove It? (2000)
Christensen, Penelope 
929.1 C55h

Although it is crucial to Evaluate and Cite Your Sources, you should keep a record of ALL the sources that you consult - even if the search was not fruitful. Otherwise, you may end up repeating a search in the future - and wasting your time.

Prepare separate Research Logs for specific individuals and objectives, for example:

CHOW, William
Objective: Determine date and place of birth

You may have several Research Logs for one individual, each with a different research objective, but try to focus on one objective at a time. When you have achieved an objective, set a new one.

Print and use this blank Research Log [PDF] as a master.