Lighter Fare II

Thanks, to Yuri Pines from the Warring States Group, for the pointer:


Confucius family tree has two million members

Updated: 2008-02-16 22:04

JINAN — He’s been dead for 2,500 years but his family just keeps growing and growing – Confucius, or more properly his descendants, are alive and well and flourishing in China and across the globe, according to the latest version of his family tree which is set to triple the size of his kith and kin.

The job of registering new members to the family tree of revered Chinese thinker and educator Confucius (551-479 BC), was finished by the end of 2007, and the number in the updated tree now stands at more than two million.

The family tree will be published in 2009, according to the Confucius Genealogy Compilation Committee.

“We have received more than 1.3 million new entries and already stopped soliciting new ones,” said Kong Dewei, a Confucius descendant who is directing the updating work.

The 1.3 million are the living members of the Confucius family who have paid the official registration fee of five yuan (70 U.S. cents), but the deceased members will also be included if their descendants can prove a collateral family tree which conforms to the Confucius Genealogy, without any charges, Kong said.

The registration work started in 1998, when Kong Deyong, 77th-generation descendant established the committee in Hong Kong. More than 450 branches were set up around the world to assist the work.

The pedigree has only been revised four times throughout history. The last revision took place in the 1930s and included 600,000 members. The fifth edition of the Confucius family tree will be published to coincide with the 2560th anniversary of the birth of the thinker next year.

Compared with previous versions, the new genealogy will for the first time include overseas and female descendants of the great philosopher.*

Confucius’ family tree is regarded as the world’s longest, recording more than 80 generations of the sage’s family.

[*emphasis added]

6 replies on “Lighter Fare II”

  1. When I was in Jinan and then Qufu last summer, I was immediately taken by two things: (a) the Confucian “forest” where all of his descendants are buried (not all of them, obviously, though I forget what the rules were — boy side only? I forget) and (b) the presence of “official” 15th generation descendants doing artwork within the temple grounds for sale. Clearly, lineage is pretty important.

    Which reminds me: while it may have been crowded in the Confucian forest, there’s plenty of room left for a few more (it was pretty big).


  2. If Confucius and each of his descendants had two offspring, each of whom married outside the clan, then the 80th generation of descendants would number 1,208,925,819,614,629,174,706,176.

  3. Bill,

    Is it the 80th now? I just can’t remember what the person was “authenticated” for. 15 can’t be right! If you bought something from a living member of the 15th generation, that might be odd.

  4. Hey man, longevity has always been a sign of virtue, right? Who if not the descendants of Confucius could we expect to manifest that sort of vitality? 😉

  5. CP, could it be that there was a famously careful bit of authentication-work done on the 15th generation, so that there can be a special group among Confucius’ putative descendants who are authenticated as (or at least putatively) descendants of someone in the 15th-gen list?

    I guess the 15th generation would have been some time in the Former Han.

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