Let’s imagine a person whose father or grandfather worked for an American company in Korea. Or let’s imagine one of them fought in the Korean War. Irrespective, let’s assume the person married a Korean mother or grandmother while in that country.
Now, let us understand a Korean tradition. In nearly every family a Scribe is appointed, elected or somehow came into being. When he passed away, his successor was named or volunteered. From these Scribes a history of the family is usually created.
Now, let’s take this person, a father with a Korean wife, and they have a son who lives in Korea until he is 3, then returns with his parents to the U.S. When he gets to an advanced age and neither parent is around, how does he answer the question many of us face, “Who are the ancestors who helped make me what I am”.
Well, imagine what genealogy can do if passed on to later generations. Below is a history of the ancestors of this son’s mother, from whom his blood has run.
(You may read the next quickly and go below for the conclusions.)
THE ON YANG CHUNG FAMILY
The founder of the On Yang branch of the Chung Family was Bo Cheon Chung, who was a Minister for the King during the Koryo Dynasty. He held the title ”Jung Hee Gong” which was reserved for royalty, ministers and great scholars. His father led the construction of a defensive wall to protect the town of On Yang from invasion and was then given the title of Chief of that town, to be passed on to his descendents. Bo Cheon Chung is buried in the On Yang General, s Shrine.
For the next 5 generations, the On Yang Chung Family was led by Jak Jin Chung, Jon Gu Chung, Jah Joon Chung, Ki San Chung and Dahl Jon Chung.
During the 14th Century, Eung Hyou Chung went to China (Song Dynasty) as a young man and later became a County Chief. From 1313-1339, he served as a government Judge during the reign of King Choong Sook.
Gyou Chung of the next generation served as a doctor for the Royal Family and court. He also taught medicine.
Yo Chung of the 9th generation was a Military General, protecting and governing the Southeastern province of Kyong Sang-Do.
The next 4 generations were led by Hui Chung, Joo Chung, Jon Chung and O Chung, a scholar at Sung Gyun Gwan Royal University.
E Sohn Chung was a County Chief in Yon Poong and Soo Gang Chung was County Chief in Tong Jin and a Minister for Personnel in the Yi (Choson) Dynasty. (14th and 15th Generations)
Yoo Chung, born in 1503 and died in 1566, was a scholar who passed the rigorous court exams, was rated at the PhD level and held high positions as Provincial Judge in Hwang Hae-Do and Governor of Chung Cheong-Do Province. He also served as Ambassador to the Chinese
Myung Dynasty. He strictly followed the Confucian social philosophy as a kind and honorable man. His wife’s father was Hwok Han, second cousin to the King. (16th generation)
Hae Rin Chung, born in 1532 and died in 1583, was a scholar and Eui Heung County Supervisor. His wife’s father was Lee Won, great-great grandson of King Tae Jong who developed Korea’s basic administrative structure in the early 15th Century. (17th generation)
Seon Chung served in the Royal Court under King In Jo. He was a mystic and a large man with immaculate personal grooming. He was a student of the great sage, Yon Myung Do and enjoyed wine and writing poetry. (18th generation)
The leaders of the next 7 generations were Ha Eung Chung, who died in war at a young age, Gyo Chung, Je Hoon Chung, Gi Man Chung (1710-1799), Seh Hyun Chung (1736-1811), Jung Han Chung (B.1754) and Dong Jo Chung (B.1786).
Hak Soo Chung, born in 1802 and died in 1870, was awarded the title generally reserved for a Prince or Duke by King Go Jong in appreciation of his love and respect for people. This honor is inscribed on a monument built in his home village.
Bum Ho Chung (1850-1889) and Soo Young Chung (1882-1960) represent the 27th and 28th generations of the family.
Rak Boong Chung (1910-1966) left his village of Shi Wang at the age of 17, following the death of his mother. Declining further education, he traveled on foot with his dog to the distant town of Cheon Ahn. He found work as an errand boy in a factory, impressed the owner and steadily rose over time to become Plant Manager and eventually General Manager. With the end of Japanese occupation, he became owner of the company which made rubber shoes and household items. The outbreak of the Korean War forced him to flee south, losing the company, his beautiful home, and all his possessions. He returned to Seoul following the war and started a retail business. His active role in politics, philanthropy and elementary school education earned him honor as a respected elder in the Yong San District. Following a stroke and a battle with cancer, he passed away at the age of 56.
So, now let’s say the son is in his 60s and begins to answer the question, “From where and whom did I come”.
While a trip to Korea will answer many questions, the 19 Scribes have provided the following guidelines of where to go and what to study further in a far-away and complicated country.
Towns or Villages
On Yang; Shi Wang; Cheon Ahn; Seoul
Counties or Districts
Yon Poong; Tong Jin; Hwang Hae-Do; Eui Heung; Yong San District
Kyong Sang-Do; Chung Cheong-Do
And so forth. In other words, the Scribes have offered many specific places and things to look at for further research.
Frankly, this circumstance is no different than that which many modern day Americans face. What does differ is the concept of Scribes who help with the navigation. In other words, a genealogist.
Does this not call for Genealogy to become a required activity for the soon-to-be or retired person?
Become your family Scribe.