The following announcement was written by The Generations Network, the parent company of Ancestry.com:
ANCESTRY™ EXTENDS GLOBAL REACH TO CHINA, PROVIDING FIRST ONLINE ACCESS TO FAMILY HISTORY RECORDS IN WORLD’S LARGEST INTERNET MARKET
Exclusive partnership with Shanghai Library gives 1.3 billion Chinese and 38 million people* with Chinese heritage internationally the chance to explore their family history
- Chinese internet usage highest in the world
- Chinese family histories dating back 2,600 years
- Confucius’ family history available
The Generations Network Inc., parent company of the global network of Ancestry family history websites, which is the largest network of family history websites and dominates one of the internet’s fastest growing pursuits, has launched a dedicated Chinese family history website, jiapu.cn.
To date, Ancestry global network site users have created more than 6.5 million family trees containing 600 million names and nine million photographs on its eight websites. Ancestry also boasts more than seven billion historical records. jiapu.cn is Ancestry’s ninth website to launch.
For many in China, home to one fifth of the world’s population, jiapu.cn will provide their first opportunity to access jiapu (family histories) online. They have been made available through an exclusive long-term partnership with the Shanghai Library, which holds the largest collection of Chinese family history records in the world.
jiapu.cn is the first Ancestry website 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. Site users will shortly be able to share their trees via the Ancestry global network, and in doing so discover and connect with potential living relatives around the world.
Senior Vice President of Ancestry’s International network, Josh Hanna, has overseen the launch of Ancestry websites in France, Italy and Sweden in the past year and is confident that jiapu.cn will be of huge interest in China and internationally. An estimated 38 million people with Chinese heritage live outside of China.
Mr Hanna comments: “As China overtook the U.S. in February to become the world’s largest internet market with 221 million users, the launch of jiapu.cn is perfectly timed, both to generate interest in and lead the online family history category in China.
“Launching a Chinese family history website also represents a unique opportunity for Ancestry to extend its global reach to those in the many Chinese communities around the world who may already have access to the eight Ancestry international websites but not to Chinese records.”
The family history of the famous Chinese thinker and social philosopher Confucius is one of more than 1,450 jiapu, which cover 270 surnames, now available on jiapu.cn.
The collection will grow to include 36 million pages and more than 181 million names contained in 181,600 volumes covering 22,700 Chinese family histories. Confucius came from the Kong clan, for which records of members dating back to the 6th Century BC are now available on jiapu.cn.
A jiapu 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. As it follows a family down through time, a greater number of people can claim a jiapu as their own.
Information that may be included in a jiapu includes family trees – often going back many hundreds of years, biographies, records of early immigration, information on famous family members, and even colour illustrations and maps. (images available)
The most recent printed jiapu featuring in this collection is from 1949 and the earliest from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644); most were printed in the late Qing Dynasty to the Republic of China Period (18th to 19th Centuries).
jiapu.cn’s collection includes most of the top 200 Chinese surnames in use today.
In addition to jiapu, 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.
Mr Hanna concludes: “Interest in family history has grown significantly in the past decade thanks to the internet, which has made it possible for people to gain access to billions of historical records from the comfort of their own homes.
“With China’s clear sense and respect for its own historical identity, we anticipate that many people of Chinese heritage will enthusiastically take up researching their own roots and in doing so make new connections around the world.”
At launch, access to the jiapu on jiapu.cn will be available at no cost.
* OHIO Universities Library, April 2008. Figures are based on those of both Chinese birth and descent living outside of China.