Saturday, December 28, 2013

Cheng Family in Tamsui

This three-volume 淡水鎮志Tamsui Town History is in amazing detail, published in June, 2013, now available online [here]. It contains parts of the more recent Cheng Family history.

The biographies of EyeDoc's granduncle (鄭木筆, a physician who gained fame for curing a stomach ailment of the defender of Tamsui, General 孫開華, immediately after the Sino-French war) and second uncle (鄭嘉昌, principal of Wen-hua and Tamsui elementary schools) appear on pp 306 and 304 in Vol 3, respectively.

Members of EyeDoc's paternal grandmother side of family, 忠寮李家, are mentioned in quite a number of places, and the most recent entry, engineer turned Tamsui landscape artist 李永沱. Most important is the record of arrival in Tamsui, from 福建同安, of the first 李 generation in 1751.

An old group photo, class of 1937/8 of 淡水女子公學校Tamsui Girls Elementary School from this blog [here] is quoted on p 300 in Vol 2.

The Cheng family of Tamsui, belonging to 蓮宅鄭 [The House of Lotus], was originally from 泉州南安石井 later re-settled in 同安. This branch descends from one of the survivors of the 1661 Qing Imperial edict of 誅三族, which was to execute not only 鄭芝龍 [鄭成功Koxinga's father, who had surrendered, after ignoring Koxinga's plea for him not to, to the Qing in 1646], but also three generations of the Cheng Clan including 鄭芝龍's parents, brothers and sons and their wives. Only his principal wife Lady 顏Yan and a brother 鄭芝豹 were spared. His grandchildren, fortunately, were left untouched.

Cheng Family record listing 鄭芝龍's sons, daughters-in-law, and grandsons; 鄭成功 is identified by his given names, 森 and 大木.

In the 1930s, 鄭木筆, better known in Tamsui as 木筆先Master Vo-Bi, had returned to 泉州 to pay respects to Cheng ancestors whose grave sites could only be located by landmarks because of previous destruction of the tombs by the Qing - a way of punishing Koxinga, in addition to killing his father and brothers, for his refusal to yield.

After the fall of Tung-Ning Kingdom東寧王朝 in 1683, Koxinga's direct descendants were held hostage in Beijing, pressed into military service, forbidden to return to their hometown in 泉州 where all their properties were already confiscated. Other surviving branches of the Cheng Clan continued on in Hokkien; some, as noted above, had moved to Tamsui, now into the 8th generation since the arrival.

Friday, December 20, 2013