If you're interested in learning more about your Asian ancestry, you might consider turning to genealogy – the study of a family's ancestral origins. You can trace your family lines that come from Asian countries and territories to learn more about your ethnic makeup and where your ancestors were born. The precise methods for researching genealogical roots often varies between each Asian country or territory, but there are a few strategies that pretty much anyone can use to find out more about their Asian ancestry.
Gather What You Know
List the names of all relatives and ancestors that you know. Include all known dates and locations of births, deaths and marriages. Begin with yourself, your parents, and your grandparents. If possible, ask living relatives to help you with this list. From here, you can identify where there are gaps in your family tree, and start your research from there.
Run Online Searches
Research the names on your list using the various Asian genealogy resources available on the internet. Some websites worth checking out include Ancestry.com, Archives.gov and CyndisList.com. Websites for tracing ancestry in specific Asian countries and territories are also available.
Ask Questions on Forums
Use Asian ancestry message boards to ask questions or connect with other genealogists who may be tracing a common Asian ancestor. Other genealogists can often lead to sources and information you may not have otherwise thought of or known about.
Pay a Visit
Visit the town or city that your Asian ancestors immigrated to. Look for vital records (certificates of birth, death and marriage), land records, immigration and naturalization records and any other available records that could be useful in learning about who your Asian ancestors were.
You might also plan a trip to your Asian ancestors' country of origin. Determine where records are kept (possibly in churches, town offices and courthouses), and look for any records about your ancestors.
Conduct a DNA Test
At-home DNA testing kits can help you learn more about your ethnic background. Companies like 23andme and AncestryDNA offer kits like these for sale, and the process is relatively simple:
- Order an at-home DNA test, which usually costs around $80.
- Take a small saliva sample and send it in with your kit to the address provided.
- Wait six to eight weeks for your DNA results, which will arrive via email.
- Use your results to learn more about your ethnicity, ancestry and currently living family.
DNA testing companies compare your genetic signature (found in that saliva sample) to the DNA of people from various Asian regions, and tell you where your DNA has matches.
Check spelling variations for your Asian ancestors' surnames, as mistakes are common.