My China Roots

In August I was fortunate to land a job with My China Roots.  They needed a San Francisco Bay Area local willing to scan in Chinese genealogy books that would then be posted on their website. My China Roots, founded by Huihan Lie in 2012, aims to spark curiosity for those of Chinese descent with their roots, ancestors and cultural history.  They provide research assistance, travel to clan villages and online resources.

I have the opportunity to add to those online resources by scanning zupus (族谱). A zupu is the genealogical history of a Chinese clan that has been passed down from eldest male to eldest male through generations. They not only contain multi-generational genealogic data, but also contain clan history and biographies or prominent clan members. Many volumes were destroyed during Mao’s cultural revolution.

It is vitally important to digitally preserve as many books as possible. My China Roots is doing its part by finding books in China. In San Francisco there is a private collector that has been accumulating zupus over decades of travel to China. And this is were I come in.

Working with a CZUR ET16 Plus book & document scanner setup in my home I have been carefully preserving all the books the collector has shared with me. Once a batch is completed, I return the books to him and pick up a new batch for digitization. To date I’ve scanned 8,137 pages or 10.4 GB of data. My China Roots then processes the images for optical character recognition (OCR) to make the documents searchable on their website.

I love doing this work. To me it feels like sacred work that generations to come will appreciate.