This is to introduce myself and to advise you of the background of an exciting project which relates to our ancestral village of Gwa Leng in Jungseng County, China.
A book called "Zengcheng New Zealanders" was launched by the NZ Tung Jung Association, in Wellington on 5 August 2006, as part of their 80th anniversary celebrations. This book included a section on Gwa Leng but due to space being limited, only part of the story on Gwa Leng could be included. After the celebrations a team of Gwa Lengders from all over NZ who are passionate in recording the ancestry and history of the village and the families who migrated to NZ over the years, decided to form the Gwa Leng NZ Family History Group.
I have been nominated as a village co-ordinator for the Group whose ultimate aim is to produce a book on the history of Gwa Leng that will comprise a genealogical directory and include some case studies of families in New Zealand with roots in Gwa Leng. This may include your family if you wish to be involved.
We are fortunate in having in our midst Dr Edmon Wong, eminent research scientist now retired, who has in his possession a rare copy of the official Genealogical Record of Gwa Lang village. With his knowledge of Chinese, he was able to extract from it much interesting and valuable historical information which he has already presented in the chapter entitled "The Origin of Gwa Leng and the Genealogy of its Early Ancestors", in the recent TJA book. Edmon has now agreed to participate further, and will be taking a key part in producing our proposed forthcoming follow up publication.
His vision for the book, endorsed by us, is firstly to make available in it the names of the first 17 generations of GL ancestors contained in the ancestral record, in an accessible format This will serve as the core anchoring section from which to extend the genealogical record down to later generations. If present day GL families/family groups, through consultation with their older living members can individually work backwards and can search out the written Chinese names and generation ranking of their own known ancestors, and can indicate what their relationships are with other known GL families groups, then it should be possible to reconstruct from the collective data bigger and bigger family trees, and eventually link up many of them right back to the core table of the past ancestors, to over 500 years ago. In this regard we are also fortunate in having in our group several elders who have lived in the village, are fluent in the Chinese language, and can still recall from their own memory the names of the patriarchs of many other GL families, and can even provide information on how many of these families are interrelated. While their vigour and memories are still intact, we hope to record this knowledge and made it accessible in English to interested readers, and make use of it to help in bridging the present to the past.
Whilst these earlier parts of the book will largely be concerned with the Chinese past, the last and equally important part will involve participation by as many of the present day GL-NZ people as possible. It will in the main be a collation of individual family histories in English as provided by their present day descendants. In short, the envisaged book, besides being an update of the historical record, will aim to serve as a directory of GL people past and present. It will be an accessible reference for young non-Chinese speaking GL people to find their own roots, to help them to know better who they really are.
In the process of producing this book we also envisage continuing and expanding our contact with people back in the village who have already helped in providing valuable information earlier. There has apparently been a revival of interest in genealogy back in the villages in recent years, and we fully expect that our work when published will also be of great interest and use to our kinsmen back home in GL.
I would be pleased to meet with you to explain the project in more detail and discuss how we can work together to produce a publication that will be not only a reference for the future but a book to be treasured by future generations.
My contact details are as follows: firstname.lastname@example.org