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Memory and meaning in the search for Chinese Australian families


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Couchman, S and Bagnall, K ORCID: 0000-0003-1426-7294 2019 , 'Memory and meaning in the search for Chinese Australian families', in Darian-Smith Kate and Hamilton Paula (eds.), Remembering migration: oral histories and heritage in Australia , Palgrave Macmillan, Cham, Switzerland, p. 357.

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Over the past twenty-five years there has been tremendous interest in researching ChineseAustralian family history. This includes documenting the experiences of Chinese migrantsand their descendants in Australia from the nineteenth century onwards, as well as seekingto understand their pre-migration lives in China and patterns of return migration. For manyChinese Australian family historians, however, there remains a major difficulty in tracingtheir Chinese ancestry – not knowing their ancestor’s name in Chinese or their precise placeof origin beyond the ubiquitous ‘Canton’. This essay discusses the endeavours of familyhistorians to uncover their Cantonese roots, including by visiting the qiaoxiang (homevillage) districts of the Pearl River Delta region in Guangdong province. We reflect on this‘roots tourism’ and the practice of personal memory-making in the wake of national andfamilial forgetting.

Item Type: Book Section
Authors/Creators:Couchman, S and Bagnall, K
Keywords: Chinese-Australian history, family history, roots tourism
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
DOI / ID Number: 10.1007/978-3-030-17751-5_22
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2019 The Authors

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