Korea has the highest number of preserved genealogical records in the world. The interest of even the general public in family histories is high. However, quite a number of family records are preserved in silos such as each family, libraries and different universities, thereby making it difficult to use them systematically with an understanding of the holistic picture of the information.
Jon'gyeong'gak, the Academy of East Asian Studies in Sung'kyun'kwan university has been making continuous efforts to collect the scattered genealogical records from all over the country to arrange and establish it into a database system. This database will benefit both the scholars and also the general Korean public. Academically, it will help strength the foundation of the Korean discipline and expand its horizon with the wealth of diverse raw data it can provide for its studies. In addition, by Koreanizing the genealogical data that is currently recorded in Chinese, it will make it more accessible to the general population interested in this subject. These have been the motivation of Sung'kyun'kwan University to embark on this task of preserving the highly valued documents and sources and to make the data accessible via the internet with the support of the Korean Ministry of Information & Communication.
Genealogical documents are scattered nationwide and in many cases families have kept the genealogical records in their personal possession. Therefore,
Jon'gyeong'gak at Sung'kyun'kwan university is focusing on collecting more information and materials on genealogical records with the help of nationwide regional network of "Hyang'Kyo". By adding this abundance of data to its own preserved records, it is aiming to build a comprehensive database to ultimately provide optimum service to both scholars and citizens which will also in turn, enhance the proactive use of the database.
Detailed search: By using personal information including Family title, name/nickname, national civil service examination records, official designations, year of birth, year of death, birth and death year according to sexagenary cycle, it is possible to search a person in the genealogical records. In particular, the search engine has been designed to make it easy for the general public by using ancestral residence, national civil service examination records, official designations, and sexagenary cycle from the terminology index.
- Summary information contains region-wise information on ancestral home, family title, and originator. The detailed information includes the history of ancestral home and family title which highlights the regional details as well. On the right hand side of the screen a separate map is provided for quick access to information regarding domicile and its distribution.
- For a quick and easy access to the information on family title and ancestral home, on the left hand side of the screen there are two tabs organized in Korean alphabetical order. Then a sub-directory is provided which includes basic information on preface, epilogue, literary records, explanatory remarks, and other related documents. In particular, some of the documents including the prefaces and epilogues are available both in its original form (Chinese characters) and a translated Korean version. The descendants are arranged according to generation. For each individual, detailed information such as nickname, date of birth and death, national civil service examination records, official designations, place or residence and burial, etc. are provided and one can press a tab to access the original records. In addition, information on the extended family members created through marriages are organized separately to enable access to information on the likes of wives and sons-in-laws of those in the genealogical charts.
- A separate multi-viewer programme and an electronic version of the genealogical records exist to enable access of information on a certain individual in chronicle order.
- This database is also linked into Complete Collection of the Korean study of Confucian Classics so that one can simply access relevant publication of the individual, if any exist.
An overview of genealogy: This provides the definition of charts used in genealogy.
The statistical data on the following four areas are provided: the number of death and birth in each generation; number of persons who passed state examination in each generation; number of persons who passed state examination in each family; and the marriage relations between families. More specifically, the data on the number of deaths and births in each generation is divided into gender. For the two categories of number of people who have passed state examinations, it is further divided into five kinds of exams to provide statistics on by each two category. The marriage relations between families are sub-categorized into wives and sons-in-laws to provide statistics on marriage relations between one family tree to another.