There are many ways to trace one’s ancestors through history. One fundamental difference between China and the West (namely the US and UK) is that in China, vital records were handwritten on rice paper. In the West, there are official records, such as the census and birth/death/marriage certificates, many of which could be found online — just a few clicks away. Although I started my research in New York, and indeed found much information there, I relied heavily on the family trees in the hand-stitched volumes and word of mouth. For this reason, I started my research with the nineteenth century and on.
做家谱的方法有很多.美国和英国近几百年的人口普查,出生死亡结婚等证书都逐渐数码化了, 令到他们查询只是一二个点击之遥. 而中国人大都是从手写的线装本开始. 虽然我其中的一个支可以追溯到650年(还有一个从1341年). 为准确, 我基本是从十九世纪开始.