On a recent client project, we untangled a varied pedigree consisting of Chinese, Japanese, and Southern American heritage. Here’s how we dissected a complicated family history!
As a Project Manager with Legacy Tree Genealogists, one of the best parts of my job is seeing the amazing things we are able to do for our clients. Clients come to us with questions, genealogy tangles, and often with a pile of old documents they don’t even know what to do with. We take these muddled ingredients and turn them into something beautiful and meaningful for the client and their family.
Focusing on Immigration
One of the most memorable projects that recently came across my desk involved a client who came to us with Chinese and Japanese immigrant ancestry as well as Southern American heritage, all in one pedigree. She had already gathered quite a collection of family documents in Chinese and Japanese, although she couldn’t read them, and just wanted to learn as much as she could about her entire varied heritage. Looking over everything, we decided that a project mostly focused on U.S. records would help her learn more about her immigrant ancestors and prepare the lines for research in their individual foreign lands in the future as well as explore her Southern American heritage.
As the research progressed, we were able trace the client’s Chinese and Japanese ancestors in California and Hawaii through census, immigration, and vital records – which is quite the challenge given the tendency for names to be completely hashed by record keepers unfamiliar with Asian naming traditions! Translations of the documents and letters provided by the client revealed not only the names of the villages of origin for many of the family members, but difficult stories of poverty and misery in the old countries. In the end, the client’s entire Asian pedigree was filled out and extended to the fifth generation on every line and details of the ancestors’ lives, both from their home countries and in their new homes and lives in the United States, were gathered along the way.
Discovering a Rich Heritage
But that was only the beginning! In digging into the client’s All-American Southern heritage in her maternal line, the leads just kept falling into place, one after another. We ended up discovering deep Colonial roots back to the tenth generation on some of the lines! Many of the client’s ancestors are even recognized participants in the Revolutionary War. It turns out this granddaughter of struggling Asian immigrants is eligible to apply for membership to the Daughters of the American Revolution, a unique meeting and meshing of the American Dream in one beautiful and varied pedigree.
For the record, this project was quite the beast and definitely not completed by a simple 25-hour project. It serves as a reminder, though, that keeping the research momentum going, following up on leads, and thinking outside the generic genealogy box can bring together a thing of true depth and beauty that the client and her family may cherish for generations.
We’d love to help you with your family history, whether we’re breaking down brick wall mysteries, finding your biological parents, or just starting from scratch finding the stories about your ancestors.Contact us today for a free quote.