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Zeng Family Peom

武城

龙山

濑江

内坑

平和

振裕公

岳池新塘

圭公

金兰

旧公

略公

苏澳

成淡

宁乡

成都

台湾南投

继省堂

龙潭寺

湖广启祖

江口坪

四川中江

三台县

宜宾

永善县

珍和

珊全村



















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Family Poem

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Family Poem


Family Poem is uniquely Chinese. I am not aware of any other races that have a similar tool to distinguish generation within the family.

Chinese name usually have 3 Characters. Starting with the Surname, then follow by 2 characters as given name. Among the 2 characters of the given name, one of which must follows the Family Poem. In the present world, not every Chinese are familiar with their Family Poem. Some were not even aware of such practice.

China was a Polygamy society. Men have many wife through out their life. Due to the polygamy practice, it is common to find family with grand children older then the younger sons. As years gone by, age can not no longer be rely upon to distinguish the seniority of individual in the family. To prevent confusion with generation and senority, the senior in the family will create poem and instruct certain generation member to use the particular characters in the poem as part of their name. The generation that follow will adopt the next characters in the poem. The practice created a situation that every generation in the family will have the one same character in their name. Everyone in the family will know how to address another family member when they mentioned their name.

As the family growth, members depart from their town and settled in other places. For one reasons or another, these branches will create their own family poem for their decendent. In a way, this poem create confusion within the family for recognising their generation. However, these variety of family poem form a trial of the family branches and movement.

The adoption of Family Poem is normally decided by the senior in the family. In history, it was also commonly seen that the Emperor and instruct certain family to adopt the poem.

What happen when the last characters in the poem is use and there is no more to go? Some suggested that when the poem is fully used, the family should start from the begaining again. However, many do not agreed to this practice. They felt that using name of the ancestor is not respectful. While the age gap widened different generation with the same name might occurred and resulted in confusion. This practice was used by the Zhao family. The Emperor of Song Dynasty created a family poem of 28 characters and instructed his family to use the same poem for ever without adding any new characters to the poem. The most common practice when the last characters is used was to add new characters or phase to the poem.

I listed herewith some of the Family Poem of Zeng Family for your reference. I created names for each the Poem or Sec purely for the purposes of distinguishing the different sec. The name indicate where the poem was found or used. It might not reflect the historical name of the branches.