This website was created to document the Lew Family Genealogy for the two villages of Slen War Lee (新 和 里 Xinheli in Mandarin) and Oong War (東 和 Donghe in Mandarin) with emphasis in capturing the Hoisanese (台 山 話)(more commonly written as Toisanese) dialect. The villages of Slen War Lee (新 和 里) and Oong War (東 和) can be found at Lau Bak Heurng (蔞 北 鄉), Area 3, County of Hoisan (台 山), map location FQ 8651. The local market is called Choong Lau (沖 蔞). The establishment of this website will provide a foundation for helping, sharing, exchanging genealogical information and experiences, and to re-establish lost relationships between members of the Lew family/clan from these two villages. More importantly, it will provide a presence for Lew family/clan members to rediscover their ancestral roots.
Researching ones Chinese ancestry and genealogy requires a good degree of passion and perseverance. What makes it more challenging is that many of us were born a “Jook-sing” (竹 昇), and have very limited abilities in reading and writing Chinese. In many cases, some are fortunate to be able to understand and speak Chinese just enough to understand the context of a conversation. The term “Jook-sing” (竹 昇) means "caught between the notch of a bamboo stick" or “empty bamboo heart” in Cantonese. Bamboo is hollow and compartmentalized, thus water poured in one end does not flow out of the other end. The metaphor is that "jook-sing"s are not part of either culture: water within the jook-sing does not flow and connect to either end. It may or may not be derogatory. The implication is that a person is Chinese outside, hollow inside. Another common term is ABC "American Born Chinese".
A popular thread that drives us to learn of our heritage is the quest for learning our own identity; of who we are, where we came from, and how far we have come and prospered since the arrival of our ancestors. The continued discovery of bits and pieces of one's ancestral roots keeps one motivated and excited. There are an abundance of resources and tools to help with your research as well as the availability of many college level Asian American Studies courses that addresses genealogy. Networking is another major resource in one's genealogy research. It is a way to rediscover and to cultivate long lost family relationships. One very important facet of genealogy research involves interacting and communicating with senior family members. It is especially crucial to record any oral histories provided by these senior family members before these opportunities are gone.
It would be exciting to one day be able to communicate via a universal electronic language translator. But unfortunately, that is not the case and so, we have to rely on friends and relatives to help with the speaking, reading, and writing Chinese and translation of the various documents written in Chinese to English and vice versa. This may be very discouraging at times, however, the tools and resources provided in this Lew Family Genealogy website may hopefully, make it easier in researching one's family/clan genealogy.
After researching my family's genealogy for several decades, I have been fortunate enough to garner a host of friends and relatives to help put together this Lew Family Website. I would like to thank all of my friends and relatives who gave me help and support over the years in developing this Lew Family Website. Especially to my good friends and coworkers, George Chan and Paul Yee, who in the early years, helped me write some of the Chinese names. A major breakthrough in the actual family tree documentation can be credited to my scholarly cousin, Yuk Mun Lew (劉 沃 民)who provided a major portion of the family tree as well as historical background information of the family villages. The pronunciation of most of the Chinese words in the Hoisan dictionary is credited to my father Hem Loui, my mother Ngan Loui, my dear family friend Mei Eng, and my cousin Gon Mon Lew. The majority of the communications was done in Chinese and I am indebited to my wife's cousin, Dr. Michael Yim for his incredible ability to translate the many Chinese documents to English. Our Tai Chi friend, Bessie Pan with her gifted talents of Chinese calligraphy, has provided emergency translation support over the years. In recent years, a young cousin from the village, Emily Lew (劉 美 婷), has provided additional insight to village life as well as helping with the Hoisonese pronunciations. Finally, when at times things seemed hopeless, my cousin George Yung would step in and give me encouragement to keep researching and persevere.
"Knowing one's roots provides the foundation to grow and flourish. From here, you can look back and see how far you have traveled and how much you have accomplished.”
September 21, 2009
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