guoliang/Steven, Two character surnames are not very common. There are over 80 2-character Chinese surnames. In terms of demographics Situ surname ranks in the 400s in popularity among all surnames, 31st among 2-character surnames.
Situ in ancient China was the highest government position, equivalent to a prime minister. When the emperor appointed someone to the situ position, the official's children and future generations could adopt the position title as surname.
Douglaslam mentioned an incident in Tang Dynasty where the emperor suspected a general name Xue/Sit 薛 of betrayal, a serious crime, and ordered the death of the general and his 9 related families, common practice in those days, which included all members of his father's family, his aunt's family, his sister's family, his daughter's family, his maternal grandparents' families and his in-laws families. Many of the Sit/Xue family went into hiding and changed the surname to Situ. To this day, some Situ clans pay their respects to the Sit/Xue ancestors.
Hi Doug and Laohuaqiao, Yes, I just want to tell other Chinese in America who and where my dad was from, and when I go to China, I will carry both languages with me. I think my new 'mantra' is.... "when I go to China"...
Hello Everyone, it's been a long time since I posted here, but I have been checking back every now and then to see what is new.
Up until last week, I had heard nothing from my long lost relatives although they were given my contact information and the link to my online posting of my dad's immigration material, photos and other family info. Then when I thought I would forget about trying to reach them and remove the online information, I received a voicemail from my nephew, asking to make contact. What a great surprise! I immediately called him back, and although I could not completely understand his Chinese-English, I could hear the happiness and sincerity in his voice, that he was truly happy to make contact with me. So far we have exchanged several emails and recent photos. We both hope to meet one day. He lives pretty far away in Tennessee and I live on the East Coast. I still have other relatives in San Francisco (nephews and a niece) and hope to also hear from them one day. I am so grateful to members of Chinese Genealogy for their help and encouragement. I never would have found my Chinese relatives without you. I will continue to monitor this forum and keep you updated of my progress and hopefully one day, a trip to my dad's Ancestral home. Linda Seto
It is good to see you signing off as Linda Seto. And I am also glad you are making contacts with long lost relatives. There are people who care and want to reconnect with you.
I am going away again in November, probably to Taiwan, then mainland China. If other members of this board can give me your dad's village name and nearest township in Chinese, I am going to see it for myself, and take photos to show you. Of course, your new found relatives could probably do better in filling in the details and perhaps with photos. If I could be of help to assuage that urge to know, I'd be happy to do a side trip to Sze Yup with my companions in China.
This is my promise to you which I hope I could keep.
What a wonderful gift that would be for me, to see my dad's ancestral village through your eyes and words Douglas! I don't believe that my nephew has been back to China to visit his granddad's village because while speaking to his wife (who spoke better English) I mentioned that I would like to go see dad's Ancestral home and she said that they heard it was empty of contents and in dis-repair. When I said that I would still like to go one day just to see it regardless of the condition, she said "maybe one day we will go."
I have often thought about legally changing my name to reflect my real fathers' surname, but unfortunately all of my professional degrees and important papers cannot be changed.
Dad's village: "Seto from Chung Wo Heung"
"The chief said the village address is:
China, Guangdong, Kaiping City, Da Jin village committee, Chao Yang village.
The chief's wife's number is 011 86+136 3044 5104, you may need it when you plan to visit the village."
MY DAD: KAI YIP SETO -1894-1953
Wife #1-Leung Shee Seto, married 1914 Children-1-Wai Guen Seto, born abt. 1919, 2-Hin Pui Szeto, born abt. 1920
Wife #2- Far Chen (Chan) Seto, from Sun Wui, married 1923 Children-none
Linda, You have given me plenty of information to work on. By going back a page or two, I gleaned even more information. Though what is shown is a mish-mash transliteration in Cantonese and Mandarin, it does make sense to me. When the time comes, I'll ask more capable members of the Forum for help.
I have a friend also named Szeto, who returned to live and work in Hong Kong and China, he might even be from your dad's village. I'll call him if further help is needed.
Thanks Douglas. I can not tell the difference between Cantonese and Mandarin, I just wrote everything down that I could. It would be great if your friend was from my dad's village and could give me more information. Linda
Hello Chinese Genealogy Family! I'm back!!!! Great news..........my nephew sent me photos of my granddad (Yau Tak Seto, born about 1870), my dad's two Chinese wives, my half sister and brother and lots others! I am sooooo happy and at peace in my heart....and it is all thanks to you, the members of this website.
Now to my question....what would be the most wonderful gift that I could send my nephew and his wife? They are 64 yrs old....I remember reading here about the 'Red Envelope'....would that be a nice thing to do? They live here in the U.S.
Also, I still want to get some soil from my dad's village to spread on his grave here in New York....is this OK to do? I don't know if he was Buddist or Christian or what, and perhaps it is a dumb thing to do. Any comments?
Linda, It is great news, and the photo is a real blast from the past. I am so happy for you for linking up with your extended family. Perseverance certainly pays off.
A red packet is very appropriate for the occasion because you are a senior or elder in family ranking. A red packet containing money transcends all age and ranking barriers. It is a gesture of good wishes and luck. $20 or $30 would be about right, but not 40 or 50. I stand to be corrected. Can you wait until you are meeting them in person?
You are entitled to be addressed by your formal title of an aunt, " gu jeur" when meeting your nephew in person. His wife and children should address you as "gu por" aunt grandmother. Don't forget his wife and the children, they too, should get a red packet each.
I am not familiar with sprinkling soil from the ancestral land on the grave. Never heard of it done before. Just how are you going to obtain the soil and then pass the U.S. quarantines?
I am also happy you were able to discover your Chinese genealogy. To help you know what kinship term to call your distant relative, consider this conversion guide: Chinese Family Titlesclick
Placing dirt onto your fathers gravesite is touching and I do not know of any customs prohibiting that (except maybe the US Customs Service) but that should be easy to circumvent . However, Chinese Customs are not my forte
Hi Douglas and Laohuaqiao, This photo isn't in good focus, but it is the only other one that shows the Ancestral home that my granddad built. I was told that granddad was denied entry into the USA (failed some test), so he went to Canada to work and sent money home to build this house, which is still standing, but unoccupied.
I also learned that my dad's 1st wife did not die (like I thought), but dad decided to take a second wife because he could now afford to. They are both in the photos together and were 'named' by granddad (Fa Leung and Fa Chan). I don't know what the 'Fa' means, but I wondered if my dad named me 'Fa Chee' instead of Fay Chee as I wrote it (without really knowing the spelling). I was told that my dad shaved my head because it was a Chinese custom, but I read it was a custom to shave the 'boys' head.
Since my nephew lives pretty far from me, I don't know when we will get a chance to meet each other. But I will save the 'Red Envelope' gift for when we do. I have never seen this mysterious 'Red Envelope', but I guess if I go to Chinatown in New York, I will ask in a store.
About the soil.....it didn't occur to me that I could not take a bottle of soil back to the U.S. I've got alot to learn about travel to China. I just thought it would be nice since the custom used to be (up until the 1930's) that a few years after a person died, the bones would be dug up, washed, put in a metal container, and sent back to the Village to be buried. Since dad is still in the ground in Brooklyn NY, I thought that it would nice to bring his homeland soil back to him.
Linda p.s. the photo shows Pui, my half brother with Fa Chan, dad's 2nd 'pretty' wife.
Linda, I think the "test" your grandfather failed was an immigration interview. Whatever status he was applying for to gain entry to the US, he did not satisfy the immigration officers. At some point you may want to look into Canadian archives for records of your grandfather.
The name Fay in Chinese name your father gave you, Fay Chee, is probably the same character Wai in you half sister's name Wai Gwin. The character pronounced as Wai in Cantonese is Fay in Taishan/Kaiping dialect.
I agree that bringing in dirt is going to be problem with the customs. There is a possibility that worms, insect larvae, microbes etc. not native to the US are contained in dirt and once brought into the US they could cause havoc to the local ecological system. Maybe there are ways to sterilize the dirt to the custom's satisfaction.
msen: Hi Sis, and welcome to the forum. As you know, I recently returned on a long journey from Florida to see one of our American cousins, sadly, in hospice. Her wish was to reconnect our family and visit with as many as could make the trip to her bedside.
Jun 15, 2013 12:27:50 GMT -5
msen: Oops, I guess i will continue in shoutbox, but merely wanted to reply to you! Long story short, her wish came true and now we have, thanks to forum friends, our village and some names in our father's family. Shout out to Laohuaqiao, FayChee and forum.
Jun 15, 2013 12:32:35 GMT -5