The ancients said: “there is a husband and a wife, then for the family.” And he said, “a home is a door.” The so-called “family tree”, in a narrow sense, should be the original family tree. Before the han dynasty, most of the genealogical books recorded in official history were named as “old families” and belonged to princes and influential figures in the society. For example, the family of taigong of qi, the family of duke zhou of lu, the family of Confucius, and the family of Chen wade. To the han dynasty, “shi Ben” as a bibliography, records the surname, lineage, residence, writing. For example, shiben 15. In the sui dynasty, the books and names belonging to the genealogy began to become various, such as family tradition, family discipline, family records, family history, lineage, family records, and so on. According to the official history of sui shu, the book which first appeared in the official history records with the name of “family tree” was “Yang’s family tree and tomb”. After the sui dynasty, in the new book of tang dynasty, the number of people named by “family tree” really began to increase, such as the family tree of xie, the family tree of xue, the family tree of yan, and the family tree of li yexiu. According to fan wenlan’s brief compilation of the general history of China: “records of art and literature of the han dynasty is the general record of works written before the qin dynasty and the han dynasty, and records of classics of the sui dynasty is the general record of works written before the sui dynasty.” So, the use of a “family tree” should be in the han dynasty to the northern and southern dynasties. Therefore, it is not accurate to say that the name “genealogy” began in the song dynasty. As a family tree, it should be a family tree. But later, the vast majority are “all in the same area of the same ancestor of the branches of the common genealogy” collectively referred to as genealogy. From the historical use of the name of genealogy, genealogy, genealogy should be a certain difference.
Zhang xuecheng, a famous historian in the qing dynasty, compared the family tree with the national history and the local records of prefectures and counties. A family tree, records the continuity of a family, maintain the family bloodline. A family tree is the history of a family’s life. The so-called “water source wood”, the so-called “cautious pursuit”, in fact, is always to remind yourself that you have roots, active, to know where you come from, can not forget. Therefore, zhu xi, a neo-confucian scholar in the song dynasty, said, “it is unfilial not to cultivate music for thirty years.” Cheng yi, another neo-confucianism scholar, said: the genealogy is bad, no one knows where to come, so the genealogy must not be repaired.
With the development of history, genealogy changed from official cultivation to private cultivation. The recorded content was constantly enriched and its function was constantly increasing and changing. Nowadays, genealogy, like the names of shiwang and tang, is not only used to distinguish the origins of surnames, but also can be used as reference materials for the study of genealogy, history, geography, society and folk customs. It is also an important part of the culture of surnames. It records the paternal line of the family line, people as the center.
Genealogy is a unique cultural heritage in China, with a long history in the han people. Genealogy not only records the origin and migration of the family, but also covers the whole process of the family’s life, reproduction, marriage, culture, clan rules, family covenant and other historical and cultural processes.
Genealogy is one of the three major documents of the Chinese nation (national history, geograph and genealogy). It is a precious humanistic data, and has its irreplaceable unique function for the in-depth study of history, folklore, demography, sociology and economics.