The program involves a year-long commitment to researching
one's Chinese American family history and genealogy. After
exploring their Chinese roots in America, participants explore
their roots in China through searching for and visiting their
paternal an/or maternal ancestral villages in the Pearl River
Delta region of Guangdong Province, home to the majority of
Chinese who have migrated to the United States since the mid-nineteenth
century. The program culminates in a Chinese New Year exhibition
of the interns' research at the Chinese Culture Center in
San Francisco, where the participants share what they have
learned with family, friends, and community.
intent of the program is to provide the participants with
an awareness and appreciation of the totality of the Chinese
American experience through research on family history and
genealogy. Consequently, they can gain a better understanding
of their heritage, which ultimately helps them to better understand
their identities as Chinese Americans.
has five major outcomes: at the conclusion of the project
the interns construct a fami1y tree with related familial
history (including an essay, photographs, and artifacts) to
be included as part of a group family history and genealogy
exhibit; interns expand their knowledge of the historical
development of China and the Guangdong Province, with emphasis
on the peoples of the Pearl River Delta region; they deepen
their understanding of the history of the Chinese in America;
they explore research facilities, such as the records of the
National Archives; and ultimately they visit their paternal
and/or maternal ancestral villages in China.
In October of each year, the CCF circulates recruitment brochures
and applications to all the major high schools, colleges,
universities, community organizations, and other public facilities
in the San Francisco Bay area. Applicants are interviewed
and screened and approximately ten candidates are chosen at
the beginning of the year. In the spring, the selected interns
attend a series of nine Saturday seminars. They also begin
gathering materials to write their individual family histories,
under the guidance: of the program coordinators.
the group goes on a guided two-week trip to China to search
for and visit their ancestral villages under the auspices
of the summer camps program of the Guangdong Province Overseas
Chinese Affairs Office of the People's Republic of China.
Since the program's inception, interns have visited ancestral
villages in the counties and county-level municipalities of
Guangzhou, Panyu, Huadu (formerly Huaxian), Foshan, Nanhai,
Shunde, Zhaoqing, Dongguan, Bao'an, Shenzhen, Huizhou, Zhongshan,
Zhuhai, Doumen, Xinhui, Taishan, Kaiping, Enping, and Heshan.
Over one hundred interns have gone through the program, visiting
more than one hundred fifty villages.