The A 5000 years old unbroken chain of DNA.
This story traces the roots of author's ancestral clan all the way through 5000 years of recorded Chinese history, also a brief account of recent family history with 7 consecutive generations of poets starting from his father and uncle upwards.
( Note: All Chinese names are spelled mainly with the current official standard of Pu Tong Hua ( ). Click to go back to Page of Related Topics After reading this page I would recommend you to visit http://zengsingapore.tripod.com for more reading about the Zeng clan)
The Chinese people generally like to call themselves descendants of Huangdi (). Who then is this all important Huangdi? The name Huang-di literally means the Yellow Emperor. He was the great historic figure who has been credited as the first joint leader of tribes and therefore the founder of the Chinese nation over 5000 years ago. But is he really the ancestor of all Chinese people? For if that was true, then it would mean that in just a few thousand years one single man had fathered the whole ethnic Chinese race. It happens today that almost in every 4 person who walk on this earth, one of them is a Chinese ethnic origin, that is if all ethnic Chinese home and abroad are all counted in. Actually, in the land of China there are more than 70 ethnic tribal origins,. many of them are small and spread out in the mountainous areas in the south-west regions.. What then are the reasons for Chinese people to pride themselves as this man's descendants? Of course, the reasons are that people revere a great man and also feel proud to be part of a tradition as well as a great historical achievement. Indeed, for the historic tradition, which Huangdi had started, he should be revered and remembered for always... And yet, there are truly some Chinese clans or families today whose roots can be traced through authentic historical records to be directly descended from the blood of Haungdi. As I am about to show you that at least one such clan, my own clan, is a direct offspring from Huangdi. It can be proven by tracing through well known Chinese history for which I shall prepare a list of relevant historic books in the Bibliography at the end of this writing. I shall also provide 8 pages of photo-copies from authentic clan registries in this Web page. Actually there are hundreds of volumes of such authentic clan registries edited by various clan branches through out China. ...... But who was Huangdi, the Yellow Emperor, and how did such an honour and respect for him start? We have to go back very long way into the early days of the Chinese civilization. In the above item No.5 of these Related Topics I have told the story of Fu Xi (or Fu Shi ) and how he was credited with the invention of Yin-Yang and Trigrams (), I shall now continue the story from there.
Apparently around 7000 years ago a surge of creative civilization had already become evident in lower north eastern regions of China, where the Yellow River flows on its way to the sea. From the photos of 3 pottery wares, which I have posted in the beginning of page #5 "Story of Yin and Yang, and the earliest correlation to cosmology" of the Related Topics page, you can see how advanced the art forms were and the technology used in firing those potteries. It had had to be done with a well constructed kiln requiring pumped air to force up the temperature of the burning coal or charcoal from about 800 °C to at least 1000 °C ( modern potteries are made under much higher temperatures ). Some of the shapes and designs of those Neolithic pottery wares are difficult to make even for some of us today.... Yet, such a standard of appreciation for art and technology could only have come from a background of a pretty civilized and secured society, when people could afford to enjoy the appreciation of arts and ideas, as compared to the primitive humans who were otherwise exposed to the dangerous elements and wild beats. Those potteries were made by people who appears to have lived in reasonably affluent conditions and have learned to enjoy the creative art forms and symmetries. It is said in old legends that Fu Xi () invented the use of nets about 7000 years ago with which he had taught people to catch animals, birds and fishes to domesticate and breed for pets, for foods and for riding as transportation. He is credited also with instituting the custom of marriage. It was said that the male partner must give two deer skin to the bride's family as dowry. Fu Xi also initiated the early philosophy by observing nature's phenomena and changes, then proceed to predict the probability of outcome. The philosophy was pretty advanced already as it involved a theory, which explained that all changes in nature are caused by the energy of poles, called Yin-Yang ( ) followed by continuous evolutionary development into all kinds of more complex symmetries that could be examined and interpreted. It was the earliest version of I-Ching (), which then constituted only Trigrams (). One more important historic development credited to Fu Xi was the initiation of the Chinese written language. It would make sense because once an intelligent culture begins, some kinds of written records would become inevitably necessary. ....Thus Fu Xi unselfishly shared all his knowledge with his people and taught other tribes how to live in relative ease and safety. So people followed him and adhered to his leadership. He was chosen as chief of the tribes in the land. Legends and other evidences show the era of his rein and his successors' lasted roughly 1200 years (5200 BC - 4000 BC).... However, as this was the very beginning of written scripts, the records are thin and vague, it is more likely that all those legendary achievements credited to him were not the work of one man, but the result of developments during the entire epoch under his name or his influence. One thing can be sure, as living became less primitive and less risky, it was time for real civilization to sprout ...
Fu Xi's epoch was followed by the epoch of Shen-Nong (), Legend has it that Shen-Nong was inspired by the Hexagram () and invented the plough. He therefore brought agriculture to his people, which gave them even more comfort and security in life. Shen Nong is also credited for the invention of herbal medicines. Supposedly he tasted different plants himself to find out their healing or poisonous properties ( some books say that he died of testing a poisonous plant ). He was also made the joint chief of all tribes in his time. He and his offspring ruled the land for about 380 years (4080 BC to 3700 BC).... By this time, human beings have been living on earth for eons of eons already, yet suddenly a few thousand years ago they started to find real comfort and security. This would mean population explosion to be followed by social problems. So by the time the rein had come into the hands of Shen Nong's descendant named Ru Wan () there were problems amongst the tribes and the land was plunged into unrest and dispute. Soon the descendants of the earlier rulers were at war with each other. However, as the early culture had been brewing already for some one and half millenniums, and life had become relatively secured, the old land of China was getting ready for a more constructive scheme of things. Consequently the stage was set for the grand entry of our hero Huangdi, the Yellow Emperor.
Up to this point in time all stories are more or less legends except for some rare proofs from relics unearthed, but starting from the Huangdi era, historic records began to be much more clear and detailed. Unfortunately, at around 220 BC a very undesirable event occurred in China and much, if not most of important written history was lost. The Emperor Chin (or Qin) () who had conquered the rest of the Warring States () and completed the links of the Great Walls (), ordered the burning of books (words written in bamboo strips, which could be rolled up like rolls of curtain blinds) and killing of many scholars and historians. Apparently he had hoped that if people were ignorant, then he and his children could rule forever. He was so stupefied by his greed he could not see that his empire would crumble right after his own death. It was however in the Han Dynasty () that the imperial minister and historian Sue Ma Chin ( 145 BC - 87 BC) was decreed to recompile the badly scorched Chinese history. He and his ministerial aids spent decades in reconstructing 130 volumes of history together ( ). Fortunately, only less than a hundred years had elapsed since the great destruction of records, much of the past was still fresh in memory. Sue Ma Chin's work therefore not only reconstructed Chinese history but also screened and authenticated it. There were also events of history recorded by others before him in less organized manners, such as Li-So () written by Chuk Yuen ( 340 - 278 BC ). There are of course further records, which have been continuously unearthed all the time, which confirm and verify the accuracy of the main stream Chinese history. .. At any rate, up to about Emperor Chin's time people's family names, or surnames were usually their clan names, and the clan names were usually the names of the place from whence they had come. It was really quite a natural thing to do, just as today we would introduce ourselves as an English if we are from England, or a Chinese if we are from China, a.s.o. In due time the land that one belonged to became ones mark or ones surname (unlike some European names, which were originally single names. The surnames were much later additions, much of which were purchased from authorities) .....
So in the old days, if your family had shifted residence from one place to another, you might have to use the new name of residence or new address to identify your family and clan. But as time went on, families would spread into many places, and when generations descended further, for most people the family past would be forgotten. The clan names or family names continued to change with domicile and became quite different, even if the roots of blood ancestry were the same. This went on for eons until somewhere between the Spring and Autumn era and the era of Han Dynasty, say 700 BC to about 100 BC, when social fabrics had become closely knitted and movements of people had become more and more homogeneous, then it became necessary to stick to one family name only. This must have happened quite naturally over a long period, as there was no record of exactly when and how it happened that people had stopped to change their surnames with their domiciles. However, for the historically more important and well known families, i.e. then ruling class, it is possible to trace the movements of their historic past completely and reliably. This is something very peculiar and particular to China, because up to Ching Dynasty (), the last imperial dynasty, and even for many people today, the family tradition has been the most important part of belief for the Chinese folks. Actually in the early history of China, the worship of the family past and ancestral spirits was the only religion of the land. Therefore family records of ancestry, especially the glorious past achievements were kept in the very finest details and worshipped. Yes, indeed worshipped!.. . OK, now that I have laid enough foundation of historic conditions, I shall proceed to tell more about Huangdi and his descendants. ...
Who then was Huangdi? His family name was originally Gong-Sun (), but his other surnames were Ji () and Shuan Yuan (). Yes, you have guessed right! He or his family had lived also in a place called Suan Yuan near the River of Ji.... Huangdi, the Yellow Emperor is the revered name given to him because he became the first great Emperor who had conquered his people's hearts not only by his military achievements but more by deeds and by many other merits he had contributed in history. In fact, he unified China for the first time into one great nation, and because of all his achievements he was remembered with great respect all the way down the Chinese history. Other tribes of different ethnic origins that joined the nation later on were also proud to be part of the tradition and would also call themselves the descendants of Huangdi. Indeed, this man, who was of such a magnitude, did come into the historic scene in around 3700 BC.... It was Huangdi who had instituted many important social, cultural and political structures that constituted one of the earliest human civilizations and direct political influence that extended from about 5700 years ago all the way down to about 3600 years ago.
On the left is the picture of Hungdi's tomb in Shan Xi Province Chao San East.
It was probably because of such deeply rooted moral and philosophic tradition that although China later invented the printing press, the magnetic compass and the gun powders amongst other things, and despite her cultural and military might, she never sent one single soldier beyond her own territory and never attempted to forcibly impose her culture or way of life onto other people. Instead, she built the greatest defensive walls on earth and during the early 7th century AD sent imperial envoy into India to import Buddhism.... These are common knowledge, which have been talked about and passed down the entire span of the Chinese history. Such a heritage has a very strong root connecting all the way back to the influence and memory of the Yellow Emperor, whose story and that of some of his direct descendants I shall now begin to tell you..
Apparently towards the end of the epoch of Shen Nong's rein, there were continuous out breaks of social unrests, probably due to population explosion after a sustained period of security in life because of the agricultural developments. Shen Nong's ruling successors at this time were not good enough to ride the unrest. More and more tribal leaders were heading for one young tribal chief, our hero Huangdi, who was shaping up as a strong influence and a capable leader of the time. Eventually two great wars broke out, one was between Huangdi and Shen Nong's successor and the other with another powerful adversary, a tribal chief named Chi Yiu (). The later battle was said to have occurred in the foggy seaside in today's Shan Xi Province () and Huangdi won this big war by using his invention of a two wheel hand-driven cart equipped with direction finding compass, which was used to lead the battle in thick fogs. After the two famous victories, Huangdi also drove out the frequently marauding external invaders from the north, thus expanding the territories and building a powerful foundation for a large empire, with the political structure and civilization that was to follow. .. According to various records, Huangdi and his aids had invented over 20 kinds of tools and instituted administrations of fundamental importance, which greatly improved living and social standard for the people. Indeed, his presence in history was the major corner stone marking that a great advance in civilization had taken place during his period. In short, he had lifted China from a still primitive society onto an organized and moralistic, almost philosophic social platform.
I cannot go into great details here. Briefly amongst the inventions credited to Huangdi were clothing and a system of adornment, including hats in accordance to social status. His queen Lui Joh () was responsible for the teaching people the cultivation of silk worms and therefore production of silk. So silk was worn even in the dawn of human history. In those days it was a man's duty to hunt and plough, and it was a woman's job to weave and cook. Huangdi invented or improved the design of boats and horse drawn carts. He instituted the method of building and design of large houses with attached communal halls, and started the use of water well, enabling a hygienic and readily available source of drinking water. It appears that it was during his rein a living commune system was instituted. This was a group of families, each given an equal piece of land but structured in the shape of a "Naught and Cross Puzzle", thus " # ". The 8 families would share their farming tools and water well that they had dug and built, but center piece of land would be tended and cultivated by all families. The crops of this central piece of land would be given to the State, something like today's taxations. Huangdi also improved the calendar system by employing 6 officials responsible for observing and calculating the solar, lunar and planetary movements in alignment with the rhythms of music. Huangdi improved weapons and archeries, also invented the use of war drums as well as the compass cart. In his rein the Chinese written language greatly matured. It is said that even the medical science was divided during this period into inner and external medical practices, in other words, the internal use of herbal medicine and external surgery. There were some minor invention or improvements at the time too, which included mirrors and music etc..... Huangdi was said to have lived and personally ruled for over three hundred years. Obviously this must have been a typical exaggeration of legend, but I have another idea. I think this was probably not the cycles of the sun that was counted at this time. It was most likely the cycles of moon as the Chinese calendar was originally based on the motion of moon because the culture was almost entirely agriculture, which depends on the knowledge of lunar motions. It is also a strange fact but true that the ancient culture in China was a highly practical and sober one because very little in the way of fantasy or exaggeration have been found.... Amongst other things there was no worship of God.
However, one day when Confucius ( 551 BC - 479 BC ) was confronted with this question by his disciple Jai Yu () about the length of Huangdi's rein, Confucius replied " People benefited from him for one hundred years. He was feared and revered for another hundred years. Then he left his teachings and examples for another one hundred years. Therefore in all there were three hundred years ". This also makes sense! Confucius was understanding but logical as usual! Huangdi also reorganized his army and made them into divisions, then he started a system of ministry by employing four capable ministers to assist him in the administration of his rule. These able men were said to have similar ideas and thinking as Huangdi's, because of that Huangdi was said to have four faces. One day Confucius was asked why did Huangdi have four faces, to which Confucius answered that because Huangdi had chosen four people with the same policies to rule under him, therefore he was said to have four faces. Lastly Huangdi was the ruler to institute the tradition of passing on the ruling to the first born son... From the above we can see that Huangdi not only expanded the territories of ancient China, he had built a solid foundation for the subsequence Chinese way of life. That's why Huangdi was regarded as the opening ancestor of the Chinese nation. Actually he is more like the initiator of the subsequent philosophy and structure of the traditional Chinese society.
Huangdi was survived by 25 sons born out of various wives (busy man!). 14 of his sons were given domains to rule and later adopted 12 surnames from those domains. His first wife Lui Joh () bore him 2 sons, namely Shien Shao ( ) and Chan Yi (). However, from here the historic records becomes rather hazy and the years of his descendants' reins are unclear. It was probably that by this time the Chinese calendars were still under development and had not yet reached any kind of stability. As the Chinese calendar was based on the lunar cycles, probably working its way up to coincide with the solar cycles, as I have said the so called years might have been the cycles of moon. This is what I believe anyhow, but what was really going on still awaits archeological confirmations and extremely accurate carbon-14 technology. Because of that I would not go into details here..... Anyhow upon Huangdi's demise, the power was passed onto his son Shien Shao ( ). After his son then his grand son Zhuan Xu () who had all become the joint chief of tribes of the land. Then Zhuan Xu was succeeded by his own son Di Ku (), or Huangdi's great great grand son. The fourth succession was Di Ku's son Di Zhi (), but it did not last long and the job was passed on to Di Zhi's younger brother Di Yau (). This Di Yau proved to be a great leader ( "Di" actually means "Emperor" ). It was during the rein of Di Yau that the calendar was adjusted to 365 days for one year and the times of seasons were fixed for agricultural purposes. Emperor Yau also did something else remarkable that will be remembered in Chinese history and mentioned in school books for always.
On the left is Emperor Yau's Temple in Shan Xi Province ( ) Nien Fan City
History dictates that Di Yau's crown prince Zhu Dan () was no good. He was cruel and extravagant. Di Yau did not consider him fit to rule. One day he thought of retiring, so he asked four of his chief administrators if any of them think that he was up to the job, but none of them thought they could do it. What eventually happened was rather unbelievable. Emperor Yau actually asked his aids to search around the country for someone whose quality would be good enough to become the future Emperor. Of course that person must have the proper moral potential that all folks could respect and follow. They found a poor farmer in the country side by the name of Shun ( ) and brought him to Yau, because Shun was well known for his filial conducts towards his father and for his compassionate tolerance towards his step brother who had tried many times to harm him. So after close observations Emperor Yau decided that Shun was the man he had wanted. So he gave Shun two of his daughters as wives to assist him and to boost up his status. Then he made him an apprentice for full three years before he actually gave him the job as his acting Emperor, while Yau stayed on the side himself officially still as the Emperor. Later upon Yau's demise, Shun wanted to return the power to Yau's son Zhu Dan. He even went back to the country side to farm again, but nobody wanted to follow Zhu Dan. That's when finally Shun agreed to become Emperor Shun. This was the rein of Di Shun ( ), which lasted all together 28 years. During Shun's rein people were content, well behaved and prosperous.... This story was not completely surprising, as Shun's roots were traced. He happened to be an impoverished direct descendants from the blood of Zhuan Xu (). Zhuan Xu was Huangdi's grand son who had also held the position as the joint leader of tribes. So, Shun was in fact also of Huangdi's direct descendant.
However, at this time China was always threatened by great floods. The Yellow river changed course frequently causing major disasters. People could not plough the land in peace and were driven to move residence all the time. At the time of Shun, the ministers, who consisted of 4 strong tribal chiefs, had chosen a man named Ghun () to be responsible for curbing the floods. Ghun in fact was also a grand son of Emperor Zhuan Xu (), who in turn was the grand son of Huangdi. Unfortunately Ghun used the methods of blocking and building dams to stop the floods, but to no avail. He was eventually executed as punishment for his many failures. However, his son Yu () suggested the use of digging, channeling and guiding the floods into the sea. So Di Shun used him to curb the floods and Yu finally succeeded. Yu laboured for many long years in carrying out his extremely dangerous and arduous task until he finally controlled the floods.
Click on the left picture, or Yu's ancestral roots, to view enlarged historic records of Ghun () and Yu's () ancestral relationship with Huangdi ().
Yu was so diligent and duty bound that only 4 days after his marriage, he left home on his way to battle with the floods. For 13 years he fought relentlessly and dedicatedly with the force of nature, 3 times his work brought him pass the front door of his house, including once he heard his son crying inside the house, but Yu did not stop to go in. Meanwhile, Di Shun felt that he had the duty to carry on the tradition by abdicating his seat to a chosen successor. Eventually he chose Yu as his successor, but he also made Yu an apprentice emperor first. Only after Di Shun had died 3 years and with request from all the tribal leaders, Yu then officially ascended the throne and became the ruling emperor as Di Yu ( ). Imagine over 4000 years ago while Egyptian Pharaohs were building great pyramids to glorify their existences, in China my own clan ancestors Ghun () and his son Yu () was digging canals to curb floods (I will explain later on). Although Ghun () was none other than a direct descendant of China's opening Emperor Huangdi () (Ghun was a great great great grand son of Huangdi, and was then the Earl of Xia), he was executed for his failures and mistakes in his duties. Yet despite Ghun was executed, his own son Yu () took up his father's job and succeeded in curbing the floods, he was awarded the highest office of the land. Emperor Di Shun ( ) abdicated in his favor. It shows that over 4000 years ago the rulers of China not only cared about the life and livelihood of their people, they were absolutely fair, strict and self-sacrificing, even among the ruling class. It's no wonder their deeds and stories are praised and remembered through out the entire history. Of course, after Yu's achievements Chinese people immediately experienced great boom in wealth, culture and security. Not only they could now live in peace and safety, but they were also able to use the canals for agricultural prosperity. Yu's achievements benefited Chinese people for the next 4000 years, even today...
Thus these 3 successions of unselfish power sharing for the benefit of the common people and for the country have been praised and passed on each generation through out the entire Chinese history. Obviously it would continue to be the Chinese pride always. Such a half chosen and half general approval by popular vote from the community seems to echo a Chinese voice of democracy through out history ( even today's Hong Kong SAR Government is constructed of partial appointment and partial election ). In some sense its energy appears to be still strong and working today. In fact, if circumstances allowed such a power transition to take place, it could yield a relatively stable succession ( Hitler was elected in 1933, the French Revolution and Chinese Cultural Revolution were both mass movements )..... However, such admirable and almost poetic political events bloomed like a beautiful flower only briefly in the early Chinese history, as Yu, or Di Yu, or Emperor Yu did not continue the tradition of abdication and training potential emperors. Although it was also his intention to pass on the rein to some one outside his family, but it was the choice of the tribal leaders that Yu should pass the rule to his son Qi (), because his son was capable and had the respect of the tribal leaders..... It was from this time on in history that all imperial successions would be passed to the first born son of the ruling family, which in time then became a tradition and a matter of law. The epoch of rein by Yu and his family was called the dynasty of Xia (), which lasted from about 2100 BC until roughly 1600 BC. Because of Yu's enormous achievement in curbing the floods, he is often revered as Da Yu (), meaning the Great Yu. His work had benefited not only the people of his generation but also generations of people of the subsequent 3600 years, as his work and efforts remain beneficial even today.
On the left : The Temple of Da Yu in Ze Ziang Province Shao Xin
I have so far related the important role of Huangdi in the Chinese history. I have also used a lot of space to describe the most amazing early tradition of searching all over the country for a man with suitable moral quality to rule, and then make him an apprentice to rule under guidance. It's almost poetic and even romantic, but this is real history and hence it is beyond any value as well as unforgettable.... However, it is also extremely strange that a civilization so early and so raw should yet be so inspiringly sober and people orientated. Probably because early human civilizations had very slow accelerations but extremely deep roots. Legends were passed on by verbal descriptions. In the end, they would become bigger than life, and their influence became more penetrating.... Anyhow from Huangdi until the end of Xia dynasty for about 2000 years, the influence of this entire historical epoch may be attributed to the great impact of Huangdi, as it is still being felt even today.
Now I will start to show why I gave the name of this page "5000 years old unbroken chain of DNA", as I shall follow by revealing and proving step by step that there are truly direct descendants from the blood of Huangdi, the Yellow Emperor. Probably this is particular or peculiar only in China, as early Chinese people did not worship Gods, they worshipped the spirits of their ancestors. As it happened the ancestral records have been kept meticulously to the very last details. Ancestral roots are entirely traceable from the history and from authentic clan records. Please be patient as I should continue from where I have left off. But for now there is one more thing I should point out first. It is that despite the romance of history China was a society under a feudal system. Especially at the dawn of history when the feudal lords would have all the rights and privilege, while the vast majorities were mere unintelligent and ignorant masses. There was really hardly any choice but to allow the seeds of the better equipped to perform the major functions of society and to rule....
The children of the lords remained always better equipped and most privileged even when dynasties changed. These feudal lords passed on their genes through many wives, and after say half a dozen generations the offspring could become quite a number. Our story up to now demonstrates that all those rulers whose names we have been referring to are in fact entirely stemmed from the blood or the DNA of the one and only Yellow Emperor. In other words they are the direct descendants of one single man..... These early feudal lords would continue to create their own children as peers and sub-rulers of smaller domains. This went on roughly from 2100 BC to about 770 BC when the following era would be called the Era of Spring and Autumn ( roughly 770 - 450 BC ). The era was then followed by the Era of Warring States ( roughly 450 - 250 BC ). It was during the era of Spring and Autumn as well as the era of Warring States that there were literally thousands of offspring from the past ruling class whose lives had become uprooted by over crowding fiefdoms, social upheavals and wars between the States (By the way, ancient Chinese fiefdoms consists of 5 ranks . They are equivalent to the European fiefdoms. Many Chinese history books written in English language, also this web page, use the European equivalent to denote those ancient titles). Many of these children of the past ruling class had been reduced to poverty, but they retained loyal to their upbringing and were still much better educated and equipped. So, they were forced to travel and serve under other State rulers and sell their expertise for one special knowledge or another. Their skills and knowledge produced an enormous diversity of technical and philosophical progress as well as unceasing wars. Then around 250 BC one ruthless strong man, the Emperor Chin (), conquered them all. This emperor ruthlessly decided to annihilate all thinking people and rule for ever, but he succeeded only in making his dynasty the shortest one in Chinese history.....
O.K. Now let's return from this detour. Da Yu's () son Qi () was the preferred choice by the tribal chiefs. Qi then passed his crown onto his descendant Tai Kang (). Unfortunately Tai Kang indulged in pleasure seeking and neglected his duties. He also did not care much about his people and gradually lost his power to a subordinate. In the end this subordinate forced him into exile. He was also forced to pass his throne to his brother Zhong Kang (). Zhong Kang later passed it onto his own son Xiang (). Xiang was assassinated by the same ambitious subordinate. Xiang's spouse fled to safety in pregnancy and later gave birth to the infant son Shao Kang (). Shao Kang grew up to avenge his father's murder and resurrected the family dynasty. However, at this junction our story will now take a different route. Having proved the roots with various authentic historical literatures (see bibliography) up to this point, we are now going to depart from the Chinese national history and branch into my own clan or family history, because the purpose of this writing is not to write Chinese history, but to trace a chain of DNA that could very well be the longest chain ever recorded in the world. However, for that reason the historical proofs and proper authenticity are also imperative and entirely necessary. ....
Note: Strictly speaking, the original ancient Chinese did not know what it is like to believe in God. Even the Daoism, which has a pure Chinese origin, is more a philosophy or worship of nature than a religion. There had been so much practical or down-to-earth philosophy in search of knowledge with nature since Fu Xi all the way down to the end of Spring and Autumn ( ) period ( roughly 450 BC ), which had kept scholars busy, there was simply no need of the super-naturals. It was only after hundreds of years of violent social changes during the epoch of Warring States and already news spread through the Silk route into China about a flourishing religion called Buddhism in India, that finally in the 7th century AD at the beginning of the Tang Dynasty ( ) Emperor Tai Zhong ( ) sent envoy San Zhuan ( 600 AD - 664 AD ) to India to import that well advertised religion..... But what did the early Chinese do without religion until the 7th century AD? They did believe in heaven and after life, but there was no named Gods. They believed in the worship of the spirits of the ancestors. So the ancestor's birth days and birth hours as well as the dates and hours of his or her demise were kept accurately so that the descendants could give an offering not only on the anniversaries, but also provide the accurate identification of the deceased in the after-world. So that the offerings may be delivered by the afterworld-postman to the correct address and correct identity of the receiver. It was, and still is, a form of love, devotion, worship and memories of the ancestor.
There are of course many hundreds of family names, but a few dozens of these families maintain an exact inventory of life and death as well as a brief entry of essential events in the life time of each member of the family tree in a clan registry (). Some families spread their younger generations in different places and became unknown to each other. In which case each branch would in time print and maintain its own registry, but the new registry would start off by explaining when and from whence the family branch had migrated to the new location. The most important thing was, and for many still is, that the anniversary of birth and death of at least ones own parents, and perhaps grand parents, would be remembered and worshipped. Many family distinguish the generations by given a middle name which serves as the rank of the generation. There are four impotant clans, including our own Zeng clan, that have enjoyed special imperial favour, as there was an imperial decree (which emperor I must do more research) to use the words of a certain imperial poem to denote the generation ranks. This poem was good enough for 50 generations, and the 50 words are still being used today. In fact, my generation stands in the15th word only. So there are another 35 generations to go, which could last another millennium before the poem runs out. I have given my own children this traditional rank in their names too, not merely because it is a nice tradition but because it is a practical thing to do. For any member of these 4 families they can recognize each other's generation the very moment they meet and introduce themselves, whether in China or any place on this globe just by knowing the middle names, so that the uncles or nephews never get mixed up ( I have seen in the past during the ancestral memorial worshiping formalities a younger person of higher ranking would stand in front of the queue followed by some older men whose generations were of lower ranks... Of course the uncles or great uncles were always uncles or great uncles in the family regardless of the difference in age... ). Anyhow, here are the 50 ranking words :
These four special families are Kong, Zeng, Mang and Yuen (). The reason for this stemmed from the high esteem for the cultural legacy left in Chinese history by Confucius, whose clan name is Kong (). It was Confucius who started the first privately own public school in China. I belong to the family or clan of Zeng (). My ancestor Zengcius ( 505 BC - 436 BC ) was Confucius's disciple who continued the school teaching after the master's demise. It was he who promulgated the Confucian teachings...
On the left is picture of Conficius temple in Juk Fu of Shan Dong Province. There are hundreds, probably thousands, of Confucius temples all over China
Confucius's only son Kong Li () died before Confucius. It was left for Zengcius to groomed and educated the young grand son of Confucius, named Ji Se (). Ji Se grew up to carry out the school tradition and it was Ji Se's student who educated the famous Mengcius ( 372 BC - 289 BC). Yuen, the last member of the 4 special surnames, was Confucius's favourite student who was a young prodigy, but unfortunately he died in his mid teens. In memory of him his surname was included. However, the whole of Confucius teachings, which influenced China's emperors and commoners alike for 2500 years were disseminated mainly by Zengcius and Mengcius. The reason that Zengcius ( ) was revered as the "Sage of Source" or the "Source Sage" ( ) was because he was the source that started energizing the feudal Chinese Society with Confucian philosophy, but did not want to claim any credit for it....
On the left is Temple of Zengcius, the Source Sage or Stem Sage,
My family name should be Zeng ( Zeng is the recently revised spelling of the official Chinese language, namely the Pu Tong Hua . Tseng was used in the earlier standard, and Tsang was used in Guang-Dong or Hong Kong language. There have been a few who use Chan. Unfortunately some of my family elders for some reasons had already used Chan as our surname when I came to Hong Kong in my youth. So I really should officially change back to the newly revised spelling Zeng someday. However, despite the different mixed up English spellings, the are all the same in Chinese script ). My generation name is Guang () from the poem and my private name is Dong (). So I am Zeng Guang Dong (), just like the Guang-Dong Province. This generation name is taken from the main Wu Cheng () tradition of Shan Dong Province. However, I was given also a secondary name, with which I should use for schooling. My secondary name is Wen-Lu (). All my clan cousins share the secondary generation name "Wen". It comes from the tradition of our clan branch in Fu-Jian Province, namely the Lun Saan Tradition (), for which I shall clarify later on in this web page. Please visit also the linked web-page http://zengsingapore.tripod.com for more reading about the Lun Saan Tradition (). At any rate, I got stuck with this name meant for the school registration. The Chinese custom of naming is to avoid using words or names that the ancestors had already used as their names. Cross naming in conflict to the names of ancestors is considered impolite and mildly offensive to the ancestors. This is the exact opposite to the Western tradition of naming young ones after some elders.
On the right: This another view of Zengcius or Zeng Tze's temple in Wu Cheng () of Shan Dong Province.
I shall now switch to some of the authentic records of the Zeng family history. The first is a revised edition of ancestral registry printed in Ching Dynasty, Jia Chin ( ) 11th year of Emperor Ren Zong () or 1806 AD, edited and published by the main clan organization at Wu Cheng () of Shan Dong Province (). However, the commentary text was written much earlier by Zeng Fu (), the retired Teacher and Guardian of Crown Prince [ who later became Emperor Xi Zong ( )] and Ex-Minister of Works (plus a mile long other titles) dated April 1607 AD in the 35th year of Wan Li ( ) of Emperor Shen Zong ( ) Ming Dynasty ( ). There are originally 7 volumes in this edition. All pages are chopped with Imperial seal, marking the Ching Emperor's concession and recognition (). The books containing copies of these registry records ( listed as book No.17 in the Bibliography ) are in display at the Central Public Libraries of Hong Kong and Beijing, and the rest is in Wu-Cheng...I shall now translate a small part of the commentary written by Zeng FU as follows, but I shall include the complete commentary (4 pages) which relates the clan history in enlarged JPeg images. Readers may view them by clicking on the small page image displayed in this page :-
In the first paragraph first page of first volume, it states "....... The name of our clan, Zeng (), may be traced to the time when Emperor Shao Kang () of Xia Dynasty ( ) created his second son Prince Qu Lie () the ruler of the State of Zeng ( or about 1850 BC ). In the 6th year of Duke Siang of the State of Lu ( 567 BC) the Zeng State was plundered and destroyed by the State of Ju ( ). The Prince of Zeng named Wu () fled to the State of Lu ( ) and remained there in the service of Lu. He dropped the () part (which denotes the domain) from our surname Zeng (). This was the beginning of our surname becoming Zeng () without the domain in the script, and it remains ever since. Four generations from Wu () came Xi ( ) alias Dian ( or ) and the 5th was the "Source Sage, or Stem sage ( )", namely Zengcius ( ) or Zeng San ( ). Both father and son were students of Confucius, thus our family shines ever since ..... ". ......
Traditionally and historically the Zeng clan claims to have traceable family records extending 4000 years , it refers to the time when Prince Qu Lie () was given the Princedom of Zeng approximately 4000 years ago. Since then the family name became Zeng. However, in this web-page I have extended the blood ancestry all the way to Huangdi, thus showing a genuine unbroken DNA chain covering more than 5000 years. Any way, the above commentary was written by the said Zeng Fu () at the age of 61 in his home the "House of Three Self Examination" ( ) or "House of Three Reflections", which I will explain soon. Note that the pages of this family registry were chopped with a round imperial seal, which displays double dragon and a ball which has 2 words in it "Imperial decree" ( )...
On the left is the first page of the original Chinese commentary with imperial seal of Ching Emperor. Those who are interested may view 4 pages of enlarged version by clicking on this picture.
Note: The throne of the Zeng State was originally created in the north of today's Fong Chen City of the He Nan Province () in about the 19 century BC. This was a rich domain because its people, therefore our clan, had invented the method and the accessory for steam cooking foods. It was an important addition for the gastronomy. This accessory for steam cooking invented by the Zengs was a round pottery plate with seven holes in it. The different sizes of this holed steaming plate may be placed inside different sizes of cooking pots. A similar kind of stainless or aluminum plates with more holes are still being used today. One can fry, cook or stew foods with the same cookery but in steaming it needs an extra accessory. Steaming gives a delicious fresh tastes to the fishes, vegetables and rice. Although in their days there were no pattern rights, but also there were no commercial competitions either. So even though the State of Zeng was not big, it was a very rich country. The State of Zeng lasted altogether about 1300 years before it was destroyed in 567 BC. The time of the invention is now untraceable but it occurred when the written script "Zeng" was still under a great deal of development. Zeng () is pronounced "Tseng" or a strong "Zheng", which is exactly the same as "Steaming" ( ) even today in that part of China and in standard Pu Tong Hua ( ). Zeng was sometime written with a pottery attachment ( ). Today the utensil for steaming rice is still called "Fan-Zeng" ( ). The extra steaming attachment of the cooking pot becomes "Cheng" (), which means "layer". The word "Addition" or "Increase" then became Zeng (), which is an addition of an earthen ware. Because the State of Zeng was small but rich, she had to buy or offer gifts to the bigger neighbours like the State of Lu and Chu all the time in order to survive and to have protection, the word for Gift or a Present would in time become "Zeng" () by adding a shell currency to the script. a.s.o...
In 1978 a tomb was discovered belonging to the Marquis Zeng Yi ( ) who was buried in 433 BC at the old site of the State of Zeng. in Hu Bei Province. A huge number of unprecedented cultural relics of
On the left and right are the famous Marquis Zeng Yi's musical bronze bells. On the left below is a set of stone chimes unearthed from the Marquis tomb buried in 433 BC.
Click on each of these pictures to view its enlargement and other related objects and pictures. Also to listen to beautiful classic melodies played with these ancient bronze bells
On the right is a majestic looking square bronze vessel and at the lower right is a large bronze urn. please click on all these pictures to view enlarged images.
the early Warring States were unearthed. Never before have archeologists seen such riches and the standard of artistic as well as engineering achievements about 25 centuries ago. There are some 15000 burial objects of unbelievable beauty and sophistication. Alone the bronze wares total over ten tons.There are a complete orchestra of musical instruments. There is large cache of kitchen utensils. There are 4500 pieces of weapons, including battle chariots.... I simply feel I must find space to show some pictures to my readers here. So just click on each picture you see here and a lot more pictures will appear before you. Otherwise a large Jpeg image would take a long time to show itself.... (Note:- There have been some recent developments, which suggest that Marquis Xeng Yi might not be a direct descendant of the Zeng's clan. It is of course possible because the life and detailed identity of the Marquis in his era of Chinese history were not sufficiently recorded. In fact, it remains an enigma, especially because such great wealth has been found in his grave, yet his position in the clan history has not been referenced. However, since his name is clearly Zeng Yi and nothing else, I shall continue to treat him as a member of Zeng clan and display his burial objects here, until his true identity could be officially confirmed).
Left picture shows an intricately designed wine jar and the lower right picture shows the jar standing on a punch bowl. Click on them to see enlargements.
There are beautiful lacquer wares, jades, gold ornaments and some 4500 pieces of weapons. There is a bronze hotpots with charcoal still in it and springs for use in music instruments made of gold to prevent rusting, and gold hooks looking as if they are design and made today. .... Anyhow I am posting some photos here to show you what I mean....
A pair of Bronze vase on the left. On the right are some spring coils and hooks made of gold. Click on pictures to see enlargement
Note: I have been told by my father that I am the 72nd direct generation from our ancestor the last Prince of Zeng State named Wu () who fled to the State of Lu when the Zeng State was destroyed in the year 567 BC. It was Wu who began to use Zeng () as his Surname. So Zengcius or Zeng San () or Zeng Ji or Zeng Tze ( ) was prince Wu's great grand son.... Ancestor Zeng Ji has been probably the greatest sage, as well as the greatest moral example in the entire Chinese cultural history. One of the reasons is that he was responsible for the continuation of Confucius's private school, also the up grooming and the education of Confucius's grand son Ji Se () who then further continued the school. It was Ji Se or one of his students who gave the education to Meng Tse or Mengcius ().
On the left is an exotic design of horse helmet in lacquer. Click to view its enlargement
Together they taught Chinese culture how to think and behave for 2500 years. But the real credit should go to Zengcius alone, because without him there would be no school and no Mengcius, and consequently the knowledge and everything about Confucius would be unknown...
What's this on the right? It's a chariot's Axle Cap armed with a cutting and sawing weapon. Click on the picture to view its enlargement and other Chariot Axle Caps.
Mengcius was younger than Zengcius by 133 years, and in between some 3 generations had passed. Yet, Zengcius managed to pass on his moralistic teaching that no personal credits are claimed in any of the writings between them. The entire credit had been focused in the respect for their grand master, Confucius. In all 13 huge series of Classics, most of which were not by Confucius' hand, but no credits were given to the disciples, and in particular none to Zeng Ji. Therefore Confucius became the most revered and respected teacher in Chinese history.
On the left is a 2500 year old Hot Pot, which Marquis Zeng Yi took with him to his tomb. Click on it to view an enlarged picture.
It was the typical teaching of Zengcius, to humble, even belittle oneself, but to respect ones teacher, ones elder and ones ancestor to the point that one lost ones own identity and ceased to exist. So Zengcius succeeded so much in belittling himself that very few realized how important he was to the Chinese civilization.... Nonetheless, Confucius was of course indeed very great teacher too!
On the left is a belt carved out of jade with seamless linking rings still intact. Click to view an enlargement picture.
Zengcius was completely loyal, honest and moralistic to the extent that some people today might say it borders on complete nonsense. His most famous quote to his students was "I examine myself 3 times a day. Have I been disloyal in my service to others? Have I not been trustful to my friends? Have I not practiced what I have learned? " . So through the ages his descendants would call their home the "Home of Three Self-Examination", or "House of 3 Reflections" ( )... History recorded one incident One day there was a tragic event in town and a man was killed. A friend ran to tell Zeng San's mother that her son had killed someone. The mother was doing her household work, but she was completely undisturbed.
Fig left shows a considerable bundle of continuous coil of springs made of gold alloy buried with other mechanical parts at 433 BC. Gold alloy is tough and rust free. It is the proof for the earliest invention of mechanical automation in human history 2500 years ago
Then a second friend came to report the same tragic event claiming that her son had killed. The mother was completely untroubled. Soon a third reporter came running to tell that her son Zeng San had killed some one. Only then she was scared. But she was right! For finally Zeng San came home, and it became clear that someone else with the same name had committed the tragic act. One day Zeng San was up in the hills to collect cooking woods, he suddenly felt pains in his heart. He sensed something was wrong at home. So he rushed back quickly. Upon his return his mother told him "Son, we had important visitors and there is nothing in the house that I could offer to our guests as a courtesy. So I bite my finger in the hope that you might get alarmed and come home quickly. You did!" .. Traditional Chinese people took such telepathy as a form of extreme filial concern between mother and son. [Because of Zengcius' s famous honesty and his filial conduct to his parents, he was deified as one of the 24 exemplary filial deities in Chinese history and worshipped... Huge temples for him and his master Confucius were built in great cities around China. Memorial worships were held for the anniversaries of their birthdays and their deaths by Emperors and commoners alike through out the dynasties.. That was why Zeng's family registries were treated with importance and sealed by imperial decree. ...
In the mother's moment of urgency she bit her finger and hoped that her son would return home. Zeng San received the vibration and was considered to have extrasensory link with his mother due to his deep filial concern for her.... Click picture to see a bigger picture
It should be noted that while Confucius has influenced enormously the brains of the Chinese civilization ( and historically including that of Japan and Korea ) through the dynasties, Zengcius has influenced the hearts and behaviours of the Chinese people. Although our Sage did not claim any credit to his writings, the clan registry shows that Zengcius was the main author of the "Book of Filial Piety" (), and the co-author of the "Book of Great Learning" (). His teachings had typically influenced his student Ji Se () to write the "Doctrine of the Mean"(). Therefore, Zengcius was the major source of influence for the humbleness, the inner sensitivity and self awareness, the politeness, the utter respect for the elder and the teacher () as well as the filial conduct in the Chinese tradition. This tradition was eventually translated into deeds of ancestral worship. The filial duty was particularly essential to the old Chinese belief. The importance of producing a son so that the family name may be continued and the needs of the ancestral spirits may be attended to, has directly contributed to the population growth in China. It has remained a very strong force of influence and important code of conduct even today, especially in the social behaviour of Japan.....( as a result all rulers of the empire tend to make use of this tradition, which in turn had brought about a pious and therefore inward looking and peaceful code of social conduct as well as social structure. It was one of the reasons that Confucius school of teaching had become the roots of Chinese civilization for 2500 years ).
Now the following is another revised clan registry dated Ching Dynasty the 5th year of Emperor Tong Zhi ( 1866 AD) by the clan branch, which had migrated from the above main stem at Wu Cheng () of Shaan Tung Province () to Xiang Tan of Hu Nan Province ( ). It was the 6th revision of registry edited and published by that clan branch, which consists of 32 volumes. In the beginning of it :-
Zeng Ji ( ) was revered through the history as the Source Sage or the Stem Sage ( ), as well as one of the 24 Filial Deities ( ).... Click on picture to see enlargement
It states: "In tracing the history of our clan, the stem was begun from the fourth generation descendant of Huangdi, and our original surname was Gong Sun ( ). By the time it descended to Da Yu ( who curbed floods, our surname was changed to Si ( ). Then four generations from Da Yu was Emperor Shao Kang ( ) who resurrected the Xia Dynasty ( ). Shao Kang created his second son Prince Qu Lie ( ) the ruler in the Domain of Zeng (or ). When Ju ( ) destroyed Zeng, Prince Wu ( ) of Zeng escaped to live in the State of Lu ( ). This was when our surname Si ( ) was changed to Zeng ( ) without the denotation of place () in our name. Wu was survived by son Yao ( ). Yao's son Fu ( ) dreamt of calling by spirits of Eastern Yue Mountain ( ) as son Xi ( ) was born. Xi and his son San ( ) were both students under Confucius. But San became the true successor and inspired disciple of Confucius. ...
This is the above commentary in original authentic Chinese. Click on picture to view 4 pages in enlargement
In view of the huge amount of information and records given by each branch of the clan as they migrated all over China. Most larger branches maintain their own registry, which can always be traced as they are treasured by the descendants of the clan. Here in this website I shall only introduce the part of ancestry that traces from Zeng San ( 505 - 435 BC ) all the way up to the paternal ancestor Huangdi ( ) 3700 BC with proof as well as imperial confirmation at Ching Dynasty.... From Zeng San onwards the family produced dozens of famous scholars, poets and government officials, State Ministers, even Prime Minister (Chief Ministers), guardian and teacher of royal princes and many great military generals and patriots. The entire clan history is star studded with the most brilliant qualities of men.....
The 15th generation descendant of our Sage was Zeng Zu (), there was civil unrest at the time caused by Wong Mong's revolt in the year 23 AD ( ). Wong Mong successfully carried out a coup and stole the Han imperial crown for a while. Our Zeng Zu refused to serve in the government, when he was pressured he took the whole clan and migrated southwards to He Nan Province ( ). It was the first family migration southwards. The Zeng people then started to spread around. In Eastern Jin Dynasty () Zeng Xie ( ) was made General of Southern Defense. His grand son Zeng Xin ( ) was Minister of Culture of Tang Dynasty (). (Click on above cover page of clan registry and read the second page for more details)
In the year Emperor Shi-Zong of Tang Dynasty () ascended the throne (874 AD), there was a great social unrest caused by Wang-Chau's revolt (). One important clan member Zeng YinShi ( 843-923 AD) of our branch at Jit An Prefecture of Jian Xhi Province () organized an army with his elder brother-in-law Wang Chau ( ), then under the banner and leadership of his younger brother-in-law General Wang Shen-Zi ( 862-925 AD) together they left northern China from Prefecture Gu-Chi of Guang-Jao County ( ) in He-Nan Province ( ) and marched into Fu Jian ( ) to put down unrest. At the time Fu Jian was still a relatively undeveloped region and a newly acquired territory of China as it was only annexed at the end of the previous dynasty and during the Three Kingdom era. Anyway they fought in many places of Fu Jian and eventually when peace was successfully restored to Fu Jian, Wang Shen-Zi ( ) was created the "Prince of Mahn" ( Mahn is the short name for Fu-Jian ) and our fore-father Zeng YinShi ()'s spouse Wang Yuen-Jin (), the elder sister the Prince of Man, was created a Princess (). Finally our ancestor Zeng YinShi () settled down to live in Fu Jian's Jin-Jian () at a place called Lung-Shan (), which literally means Dragon Hill. Some years later a family temple was erected at Dragon Hill. This was the origin of the Zeng clan in Fu Jian and Zeng YinShi () was the opening ancestor of our Fu Jian clan. This branch of clan has been known as the Lung Shan Stem, or Dragon Hill Stem (). Our ancestor Zeng YinShi () then became the Governor of Mahn (or Fu Jian Province). He wrote his administrative policies entitled "", meaning "The Government Policy of Mahn", which extended 25 volumes and served to path the way to peace and prosperity for many generations. In fact, Fu Jian never experienced notable political problems ever since. I am a direct descendant of this man and therefore belong to the Lung Shan Stem. My secondary name "Wen Lu " () comes from the verse "", which is the second word in the second verse of our Lung Shan Stem generation verses, used to denote that although our ancestral origin was rooted in the north but we also belong to the Fu Jian clan branch. All my cousins in the clan have the same secondary name "Wen" () as their middle name, which denotes our generation. Please read web page http://zengsingapore.tripod.com for exact details written in Chinese.
On the right is picture of Zeng Fong. He was the Major of a township named Cheng Xiang in late Tang Dynasty ( about 900 AD ). There was an outbreak of infectious decease. He donated medicines but there were just too many people to cope with. So he brewed herbal medicines and poured them into a water well with the herbs, from which people could drink day and night. The well became famous and was called Zeng's Well. Later in Song Dynasty () Emperor Ren Zhong ( about 1020 AD) heard of it and wrote 5 large words "The Zeng's Filial and patriotic Spring" for the well. Click for enlargement
Between Tang Dynasty to Song Dynasty () the family political influence reached all time peak. Many powerful politicians and sons known in history were produced. Amongst them there were two Prime Ministers and there was Zeng Gong ( 1019-1083 AD ) who was regarded by historians as one of the eight greatest scholars in the era of the Tang and Song Dynasties ( ) which ranged about 630 AD to about 1280 AD. This is also considered the peak period of the entire history of Chinese literature, therefore these 8 scholars have been the giants of the Chinese literature in the entire history. Zeng Gong's time was in the middle of Song Dynasty. At the time the family was in the prefecture of Nan Feng of Shan Xhi Province ( ).
This is the picture of Zeng Gong ( ). Because he was just a civilian scholar, he is seen here adorned in civilian clothe and hat.
It was said that the family had so many powerful statesmen at the time that after attending sessions at the imperial court and upon returning home these successful sons of Zeng would put down their hand held jade plates ( made for writing notes or reports on it ), such plates would fill half the bed ( ). In only one State Examination 6 family members would pass the highest qualification of the land ( ).
In memory of our roots from Nan Feng in Shan Xhi Province and the glorious past in Song Dynasty our old ancestral house in Hui An Fu Jian () where I was born, which was built nearly 200 years ago and (only partially torn down for rebuild in year 2000 ), the complex that housed the clan was named Nan Feng Bei Sui ( ), meaning the second home of the original Zengs from Nan Feng of Shan Xhi Province ( ). In the front entrance of the complex there displayed a couplet, which states, ...... My father used the first two words for my name. What the first line of this couplet says is that we have descended from the tradition of Shan Dong, then it proclaims the historical fact that our ancestor Zeng San ( ) was responsible for the education of Confucius's grand son Ji Se (), and therefore also Meng Tse or Mengcius ( see above ). The second line of the couplet says that one of Nan Feng's ( ) sons was amongst the greatest literally giants of China whose works rivals those of the other 7 giants in the Tang and Song Dynasties... So, at this point we may draw a short summary as follows:- Our paternal ancestor Da Yu ( ) was responsible for channeling the flooding rivers into the sea, which had benefited people ever since, and since Da Yu was directly a blood offspring of Huangdi, the Yellow Emperor, our opening blood ancestor was also the opening emperor of the nation and the ethnic culture.
This is Zeng Bu. He was appointed as the Prime Minister of Song Dynasty ( ) Emperor Fei Zhong ( ) in 1122 AD. Click to see enlargement
Therefore, the Zengs, despite the zigs and zags of historical changes, have a ancestral root, which can be traced all the way back to over 5000 years. The reason that the Chinese culture is said to have 5000 years of history, it is in fact counted from the Yellow Emperor who pioneered the start of this huge nation and set the foundation of subsequent Chinese culture, and whose off-springs had ruled China during the entire early history for at least 2 millenniums. This is obviuosly the longest unbroken chain of traceable DNA or the longest ancestral tree known in human history, and it's still growing....
Now I must hurry to draw the curtain for this page, otherwise it would become too long. I have a lot more to say about the history of Zengs, perhaps someday I will say them in my personal biography. However, before I sign off, I shall quickly relate the more recent history of the clan.... During Song Dynasty Fu Jian's Chuan Jao ( ) became the main sea port that connected the external world. Some of our clan fore-fathers descended from the Lun Shan Stem have strong roots in Chuen Jao. One of our clan elder Zeng Huai ( ) became the Prime Minister ( ) of Emperor Xao Zong ( ) of Song Dynasty ( ) in the year 1172 AD.
On the left is picture of Zeng Huai ( ), the Prime Minister in the 1180s AD. Click to view the enlargement.
Then came the Mongolian Yuen Dynasty, which lasted for 88 years. The traditionally scholastic and political family of Zeng refused to serve in the government again. However, at the very end of Yuen Dynasty ( ) and the very beginning of Ming Dynasty ( ), as the Mongolian dynasty was overcome there were again civil riots and unrest, one of the great generals who successfully restored peace in the country was General Zeng Wen Chao ( ). He was created a peer in the 1380s AD to enjoy a ruling jurisdiction all the way from border of today's Jiang Xi province ( ) to middle of Hu Nan province ( ) (This was the largest fiefdom in recent Chinese history whose domain stretched over two provinces). This was when the General moved his family to Xiang Tan of Hu Nan Province ( ). The tradition continued. In the 1850s there was a big revolt in China. A certain Hong Siu Chuan ( ) proclaimed a new kingdom called "Tai Ping Tian Guo" () against the Ching Empire. In fact the full name of his new kingdom was called " Kingdom of Heavenly Father, Heavenly Brother and Heavenly Great Peace", ( ), but it brought hardly any peace, as the blood shed went on for over 12 years.. However, the revolt was put down by a scholar turned general Zeng Guo Fan ( 1811 AD - 1872 AD). Our clansman Zeng Guo Fan was a great general and a smart politician, but above all, a great scholar who has left behind many volumes of his productive thoughts. He is particularly remembered for his letters to his family, which number in several large volumes.... Zeng Guo Fan was like some of his ancestors created as a First Rank Marquis. At one time or another he was governor of various Provinces as well as a Guardian of the Crown Prince in his time.
This is Zeng Guo Fan who put down the Tai Ping revolt.
Through the late Ming Dynasty and the beginning of Ching dynasty there were often troubles in the costal areas where sea pirates, like Zang Bao Tsai ( ), were rampant. Part of our clan people moved from Fu Jian's Jin-Jian () to one small village prefecture called Ta Ku ( ) as part of the coastal defense officials. Ta Ku belonged to the township of Hui An ( ). However, these were days of changing dynasties and at times the coastal areas were tempestuous. Our direct ancestor Zeng Dun Nga () died in Ta Ku. As his coffin was kept in a temple awaiting burial, it was taken away by mistake and lost. Then his eldest son Zeng Siao Fu ( 1618 - 1698 AD) was captured by pirates together with 13 other victims. The pirates demanded ransom to be paid within 10 days, or else the victims would be killed. In the end our ancestor Zeng Siao Fu paid to free all 14 victims in emergency without even asking their names. He then decided he had to take his family to safety. He moved residence to Hui An Huang Tang (), then again to (). Finally he settled down inside a compound inside the Hui An township. The compound was called Hung Chu Wei () where eventually our ancestral complex would be built. This was where I was born Zeng Siao Fu () was therefore my direct ancestor at this location 10 generations ago. The children of this branch did not do badly either! In front of our ancestral hall in Hung Chu Wei () there were 8 flag posts, denoting that 8 of Zeng's sons were allowed to display his own colours in the last imperial dynasty. It showed that even here in Hui An the branch had produced some successful sons during the Ching dynasty. My grand father Zeng Quan Fan ( ) was the Dynasty's Officer of Yin and Yang. He was not only an expert on I-Ching but he was also in charge of all the temples and religious affairs in town. My own father, Zeng Kee Tong (), being a traditional Chinese scholar, was a school head master who established the Lung Yen Primary School, which is said to be still in operation. Please click My Family to read the story about my parents and grand parents. Father did not know a word of English and had no idea of any implications there might be, when he followed his brothers and was registered in English as "Chan Kee Tong" when he first arrived in Hong Kong. Before he passed away, he compiled and edited works left by his more recent ancestral seniors. As a result he published a book containing a collection of poems including his own. The book is titled " Seven Straight Generations of Collective Poetry from the Family of Zeng in Hui An " . Just as the name implies it shows that the clan in Hui An did produce more than one or two sons of literature. I wonder how many families on earth can boast seven consecutive generations of poets! The next known longest family tree of poets in China, which extends over 5 consecutive generations was also a Zeng clan branch ... Of course, then there were two huge revolutions as well as world wars, which had thoroughly turned life upside down and reduced the past family glories to ashes today. However, family prides can sometimes go too far as well. Please click Clan Pride, I will show you what I mean...
My father's book of 7 consecutive generation family poetry. Please click on Family Poetry details and story.
On looking back through more than 5000 years of history, this unbroken chain of DNA has been traceable strictly through the well known and well documented Chinese history as well as the authentic clan records verified by imperial court of the Ching dynasty. Thanks to our very first known stem forefather Huangdi, who built the nation and started the ethnic roots and also to the great man Da Yu who channeled 9 flooding rivers into the sea (some of which are still in use) more than 4000 years ago, and then to the giant of a man Zeng San whose sagely self-reflection and moderation over shadows the significance of his knowledge, his achievements and his influence in Chinese civilization. Without these great creative figures history would have forgotten its own memorable trails. However, this strand of DNA has had more than its share of human struggles, and has left also more than its share of success and memories in the course of its passage. (Now, let me add two of the most recent but equally remarkable examples of Zeng's DNA to the list. After the publication of this page in the Internet, clansman Zeng Qing Hong was elected as the current Vice President of China, and clansman Tsang (Zeng) Yam Pui was elected as the current Head of Hong Kong Government. The tradition is doing just fine at the very opening of the 21st century). I can now make a brief summary for this writing as follows :-
The surname "Zeng" ( or sometimes written as "Tseng" or in Cantonese dialect "Tsang", I have also come across the use of "Chan" ) has taken 3 major phases of metamorphosis. The family name was originally Gong-Sun (), then it adopted Ji () and Shuan Yuan () as its names, because Huangdi had lived in a place called Shuan Yuan () belonging to the River of Ji. This was said to be round about 3700 BC. It has also been said hat Huangdi ruled for more than 300 years. I believe that although the historic facts are correct, the timing needs to be scientifically re-evaluated. I believe that unlike the early Mesopotamian culture, which was primarily a nomadic desert culture, the early Chinese culture was primarily mainly agricultural. So whilst the Mesopotamians would use the cycles of Sun first, the early Chinese would use the lunar cycles instead. If I am right, then the 300 years were probably the counts of lunar cycles and not solar cycles. This makes sense. Firstly because practically all early Chinese records have been factual, sober and without exaggerations, nor superstitions. Secondly, it would reduce Huangdi's rule of over 300 years to just about 30 years, which of course would be perfectly normal. On the other hand Confucius' explanation is also highly likely... Then it came to the time of Da Yu's ( ) who curbed floods about 2100 BC. Da Yu's ancestral roots stemmed from the blood of Emperor Zhuan Xu (), the grand son of Huangdi ( Click on Yu's ancestral roots to view historic accounts ). The Surname was then changed to Si ( ). This completes the first phase of metamorphosis.
By this time the calendar timing and dating of historic records had become fully mature. The year was already known to have 365 and a quarter days. This historical fact is recorded in Sue Ma Chin's Historic Records ( ) and other historic books of ancient China as it was handed down to us through the dynasties. Then in the middle of the dynasty of Xia () round about 1850 BC, Emperor Shao Kang () created his second son Prince Qu Lie () a Baron (Imperial China used 5 ranks of fiefdom equivalent to the European/English fiefdoms) as the ruler of the State of Zeng. It was originally written with a part of silk ( ). Then it became (), which in Chinese script had a part () that denoted domain of Zeng. This completes the second phase of metamorphosis.
The story of resurrection of Xia by Emperor Shao Kang () as well as major historic events of Xia are well documented also in the early Chinese history such as Sue Ma Chin's Historic Records ( ) in the volume "The History of Xia " (), but in particular .and , in which the records are much more detailed. Finally, the State of Ju ( ) destroyed the State of Zeng ( ) in 567 BC. State Prince Wu ( ) of Zeng escaped to live in the State of Lu ( ). He dropped the domain part in the script of Zeng ( ), which has remained unchanged ever since. This completes the 3rd metamorphosis of the surname.
This is a page taken from a book of history with a Chapter on the origin and changes of the ancient Zeng State (). Click on it to view an enlarged Page.
The rest of the Zeng's clan history was the story of their southern migration. The blood ancestral roots from Huangdi down directly to Da Yu and to Zengcius represent none other than 3 of the most important figures in the development of Chinese civilization. Huangdi ( ), the first is the conqueror and first builder of the tribal union, and therefore, the father of the Chinese nationhood. The second is the conqueror of nature and brave engineer, Da Yu ( ), who diverted ravaging floods into the sea some 41 centuries ago, which benefited his people ever since. He was also the creator of the tradition of Chinese Empire, which lasted 4 millenniums. The third is the most important intellectual and moral example of all age as well as the greatest influence of all, the Source Sage, Zengcius ( ), who made it possible for the Confucius philosophies to permeate the lives and hearts of Emperors and commoners alike, yet he claimed no credit to himself. Together they have left behind a huge civilization with great humane and intellectual traditions. These historic facts are evidenced by the temples, which the Chinese people have built to worship through all the passing dynasties. It has been in the loving memory and respect of all people, emperors and common folks alike.
The achievements of clan ancestors have been the Chinese self esteem through the millenniums and yet they made no use of the powers of super-natural, nor the powers of the super military. Such humane capacities and wisdom are undisputedly unparalleled in human history. Because of that China had never felt the need to send soldiers outside its domain to conquest. She simply allowed outsiders to come in and let themselves absorb and drown in the wake of humanitarian culture and in the vibrant waves of the ocean of humanity, and to enjoy the most basic human bond, as well as the love and desire for the filial relationship... I may add also that four times the descendants of the Zengs had shown their true ancestral quality of loyalty and patriotism. The first time was in 506 BC when the ancestor of Marquis Zeng Yi took risk to protect King Zao of Choh, and refused to hand over the fleeing King in exchange for land, thus preferring loyalty over profit. The second time was in about 23 AD when Wong Mong's of Han dynasty successfully staged a coup ( ), the Zengs refused to serve in the rebel government and had to flee and migrate for the first time away from their familiar home land. The third time was during the entire period of Yuen Dynasty ( ) when the Mongolians took over China, the sons of Zengs again refused to serve in the Mongolian government.
In fact, when the last of Sung's rulers King Fook ( about 1270 AD ) was driven by the Mongolians to run as far as Kowloon ( of today's Hong Kong ), a whole lot of Zengs came down with him to this remote sea side and protected him. This is the reason why there are so many Zeng descendants in this area today. Soon afterwards, another son of the family General Zeng Wen Chao ( ) was instrumental in returning the rule and the peace to China in the opening days of Ming Dynasty ( ). The fourth time was the scholar patriot Zeng Guo Fan ( ) who organized an army of voluntary fighters from Hu Nan ( ) and put down the Tai Ping revolt.... All four incidents somehow reflect the characteristics of old clan's political belief and loyalty, but none of it can compare with the sagely deeds of the Zeng San whose daily self examinations had influenced countless Chinese scholars to do the same down the ages, thus imparting the inner cautiousness and sensitivity in the behaviours of the past Chinese scholars....
The Zeng's hereditary DNA also depicts the continuous coronary pulses of the Chinese intellectual culture, starting from the Stem Sage who was responsible for for the materialization of Confucian philosophy to Zeng Gong, one of the only 8 giants in Chinese literature, to the most recent family tree of 7 consecutive generations of poets. And yet, all these could only have stemmed from the one single man who had fathered the Chinese civilization 5000 years ago, Huangdi! This chain of DNA is not only unbroken, it's alive and well!
A Clan Registry () usually starts with a commentary note about the roots of ancestry and the conditions that require the registry to be revised, compiled and published. This is written and organized by one or more clan elders with dates given. Then come many volumes of data, which display a detailed family tree, with each member's name and his other names (unfortunately only men are listed ). There is always a short account about his birth data, including his birth hour, a brief history of his education, or other important fact of life, his work and official title, then his spouse, descendants and finally the date and hour of his demise, as well as his exact burial place. The Clan Registry was and remains a strictly official document in China. In fact, it is a legal document as well as a strict and accurate family record...
To facilitate my reader's further reading I am going to make a list of bibliography, and I shall make a hyper-link to it at the end of this page, which contains books with appropriate information as well as all the historic records referred to in this writing. Of course these books are all in Chinese language. Their authors and publishers are given accordingly. It would not help to translate the titles, as translated titles cannot be found! (Note: The spelling of clan name "Zeng" is the recently revised and centralized official English spelling. Although the Chinese character remains the same, many clan members have migrated to different parts of the world, some adopted local dialect's English spellings. As a result Zeng, Tseng, Tsang and Chan are all names of the same ancestral clan).... However, from the end of Warring States downwards, the records belong partially but largely to the family history, which in the case of Zeng's clan, is even more meticulously preserved as I have shown in two of the commentaries in the family registry, certified by imperial seal. I have also made some enlargements of those documentary records in this page. These pictures are copies of original authentic documents with imperial seal and commentaries still in their copies. They also provide a great deal of information. All of them relate clearly to the unbroken links in the ancestral tree and historical trace in classic Chinese language. There are many more district family registries in various parts of China, including Taiwan. I have merely shown here two of them. My birth was one of the very last to be recorded in the registry by our clan organization in Hu Nan Province with my birthday and birth hour in it. It was the last registry just before the onset of the second world War.. At this moment of writing, the political influence of the clan people is back in full force. The present vice President of China Zeng Qing Hong and The Chief Officer of Administration for Hong Kong SAR Mr. Donald Tsang (Zeng) are two of the more important examples. There are many others... So this is a very long length of DNA passed down through generations that has now been reliably traced for over 5000 years. It is probably the longest unbroken chain of DNA, one of the most important family tree in China and the longest family tree in the world! ......
Please click on this very informative link : http://zengsingapore.tripod.com to read more about the various branches, especially the more recent developments of the Zeng clan.
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