Friday, June 6, 2008

Chinese-Canadian wiki now online

An article in the Vancouver Courier, "New wiki adds branches to family tree research," reports Chinese-Canadians searching for their roots now a new wiki to help them and others research their ancestors and tell their stories.The Vancouver Public Library and Library and Archives Canada have partnered to sponsor the Chinese-Canadian history wiki, a collection of web pages designed to enable anyone who accesses it to contribute or modify content. According to the article, the silver lining to measures once meant to exclude Chinese immigrants from Canada is that the personal records required by the government back then can be used to create a portrait of the early Chinese-Canadian community in Canada.

The article itself is enlightening on the issues. For example, as reported byJanet Tomkins, genealogy librarian at the central branch of the Vancouver Public Library, in the 1891 census records for the city of Victoria, for every single person of Chinese origin, "it was just put 'Chinaman' for every single one. So those people are nameless, and Victoria had the biggest Chinese community back then." In 1885 the federal government imposed a head tax on Chinese immigrants in an effort to exclude Chinese from entering the country; as a result of this registration, a listing of Canadian-born Chinese was produced; this Chinese Immigration List forms the basis of the Chinese-Canadian history wiki, called Chinese-Canadians: Profiles from a Community. The wiki only includes those born prior to 1901, for privacy reason. For those not familiar, "wiki" sites offer an opportunity for readers to participate and post information to the site.

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