Does your family have documentation of most of the descendants of one person, listing two million names and filling 80 printed volumes? The world's largest extended family does and has just released a new update to the documentation.
Confucius (pronounced Koong Fuzi in Chinese) is believed to be the ancestor of all Chinese people with the surname of Kong (pronounced koong). The family clan yesterday released the first updated edition of their family tree in more than 70 years. The Kong 'Clan Register,' which stretches back more than 1,000 years, had not been updated since 1937. According to custom, it should be revised at 30-year intervals but in 1967 the terror and persecution of the Cultural Revolution made that impossible.
In the philosopher's home city of Qufu, the blast of horns and the thumping of drums shook the ground at the great temple. The ceremony took place in front of a high altar where a sheep, a bullock and a pig had been sacrificed.
With family records scattered or destroyed during the Cultural Revolution, the restoration of the complete genealogy has taken more than a decade of international research, conducted by individual Kong clans in China, but also in Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia.
Kong Ming, a 33-year-old businessman from Shanghai, began researching his branch of the family from the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou in 1998 when his elderly grandfather dug up the coffin in which he had hidden the family records to escape persecution during the Cultural Revolution.
The newly-updated register contains the names of women for the first time and will be available on a computer database. A copy will be deposited at China's National Library in Beijing.