Deciphering My Ancestry

On a family holiday back to my village in China, two of my sisters asked an elderly relative about our family history. After the event, our relative wrote out by hand our family tree in Chinese. The tree went back five generations. My dad received it on a later trip back to China. Our relative has since passed and I’m ever so grateful to him.

Last year I was pondering what to give my dad for christmas when the thought of the family tree popped into mind. I figured that I’d type the family tree up, fancy it up and frame it… Christmas present for dad sorted. This was the first time I remember seeing the tree. It really wasn’t in the greatest condition. It was written in blue pen on refill with red paper stuck to the back (for good luck perhaps?).  On top of that, my Chinese speech was limited, reading characters, much poorer. Making out the characters was another mission in itself. A large crease ran down the middle from being stowed folded and there were smudges throughout.

The only way I could think of getting it done was to sit my dad down with me to decipher it while I input the characters on my laptop. Luckily my mac has a Chinese character input function. I just write the character onto the trackpad with my finger and it brings up an accurate selection of characters I can choose from. Here’s how it turned out..




For the next version of the family tree, I’d like to add pinyin and English so that future generations can read it and be added.

When I was researching Chinese family tree layouts, I came across a man who had traced his ancestry going back 42 generations.. I was impressed. Challenge accepted…


About mishellsoup

Designer / Crafter


  1. joe

    nice layout, really lovely tree design.

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