Ancestry.com has just opened www.jiapu.cn in a partnership with the Shanghai Library. The new Ancestry website will be "dedicated exclusively to Chinese family history. It has been developed exclusively in the local language to allow users to search records and build family trees in Chinese and is fully supported by a Beijing-based team."
Already available on the site is the Confucius family history along with information covering 270 other Chinese surnames. Ancestry promises that soon jiapu.cn will have 36 million pages, with more than 181 million names from 181,600 volumes of jiapu covering 22,700 Chinese family histories.
A jiapu [or Jia Pu or Zu Pu] is a family history bound in volumes, which starts with a Chinese ancestor and traces his family history down the male line by generation. It is traditionally updated every 15-30 years to include births, deaths and marriages; on average, each Jiapu runs from eight to ten volumes and covers 300 years of a family’s history and can include information on emigration, biographies and perhaps maps or other illustrations. Jia Pu do not usually include information about women, foreigners, or those adopted into the line. The Jia Pu on Ancestry's site will range in date from 1368 to 1949; most will be 18th and 19th century. In past years, a website by Danny Boey had details from about 12,ooo Jia Pu on-line but that information hasn't been available for some time.
Most interesting for those of us outside China with Chinese family roots will be the possibility for users to make connections outside China. "Chinese family history enthusiasts will be able to build trees, upload photographs and stories, and also connect with living relatives around the world who are also researching their family history through an Ancestry website."
Thanks to Dick Eastman for the heads-up about Ancestry's new venture.
For more information about Jia Pu and references for further reading, see the Vancouver Public Library's Chinese-Canadian Genealogy web pages or the article on Confucius's family tree which now includes up to 560,000 people - as of very recently, even women.
Jia Pu - An Ancient Chinese Tradition, Chinese-Canadian Genealogy: http://www.vpl.ca/ccg/Ancient.html
Ancestry.com Announces New Partnership with the Shanghai Library, Dick Eastman, Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter: http://blog.eogn.com/eastmans_online_genealogy/2008/08/ancestrycom-ann.html
Confucius' Family Tree—Longest Family Tree in the World, Epoch Times: http://en.epochtimes.com/news/7-2-9/51500.html