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Genealogy Update

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  • SusanneLevitsky@aol.com
    Jewish Genealogical Society of Sacramento www.jgss.org June 9, 2012 Genealogy Update June 2012 Victoria Fisch called the meeting to order and outlined the
    Message 1 of 44 , Jun 9, 2012
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      Jewish Genealogical Society
      of Sacramento
      June 9, 2012
      Genealogy Update  June 2012
      Victoria Fisch called the meeting to order and outlined the speakers for the coming four months.  The meetings for the next four months will be held on Monday evenings at 7 p.m.
      Monday, June 18, 7 p.m. -- Glenda Lloyd, "City Directories -- A Problem-Solving Approach."
      Monday, July 16, 7 p.m. -- Tamara Noe on "Names and How to Search for Them."
      Monday, August 20, 7 p.m. -- Ron Arons, "Searching for Living People."
      Monday, September 10, 7 p.m. Presentation on Angel Island --Maria Sakovich
      Victoria noted that our table at the Jewish Heritage Festival was a tremendous success -- "all of our volunteers were busy talking to people."  She said we were in an excellent location at the entrance.
      One of the benefits of membership in the JGS is access to our library -- those who haven't paid their dues or who receive the notes without benefit of membership, are encouraged to send in a check for $25.  This covers honorariums for our speakers, books, CD and DVD purchases and other expenses.  Why not help sustain us by sending a check made out to the Jewish Genealogical Society of Sacramento, c/o the Albert Einstein Center, 1935 Wright Street, # 240, Sacramento, CA 95825.  We appreciate your support.
      Next Tuesday at 10 a.m., the A-Files (Alien Files) will be made available at the San Bruno archives.  Jeremy Frankel noted that these files were created in 1944 and may include correspondence, photos and visa documents.  There are more than 60 million files, and San Bruno will hold those for California, Nevada, the Phillipines, Japan and other Asian countries (and include many Jews who came in through the West Coast.)  The remainder of the files are accessible through the National Archives office in Kansas City.
      The rate of release depends on the date of birth.
      May Presentation: Robbin Magid -- California Jewish Cemeteries
      Robinn is a member of the Bay Area JGS and a board member of JRI-Poland. She spoke to us last year about her research trip to Poland. She is working to index 88 towns in the Lublin area of Poland and can trace her grandmother's family back 12 generations.
      Robinn thanked Bob Wascou, Victoria Fisch and Jeremy Frankel for helping her with her cemetery resarch, which she calls " From the Gold Rush to the Roszgolds," (a name in her family).
      In doing her cemetery research, she checked all of California's 58 counties.
      She has during the Gold Rush era, you could walk up to any of the miners and they thought having a place to bury people was a good idea.  There was money donated for cemeteries and land -- she says no anti-semitism was present until the 1890s.
      Robinn says there are some 86 cemeteries in 33 of the 58 counties.
      Solomon Nunes Carvalho, a Sephardic Jew, accompanied Gen. Fremon in 1853-54 -- he found Jews were already in California.  Jews had arrived in large numbers beginning in 1848. Carvalho advised Los Angeles Jews to form a Chevra Khadisha, which today would be located beneath Dodger Stadium.
      Robinn cited the www.findagrave.com site as one source of information.
      The first Jewish cemetery in California was located in Pacific Heights in 1847, bordered by Broadway, Vallejo, Gough and Franklin streets.  Jewish burials from Yerba Buena cemetery were moved here.  Emanuel Hart was also an early-day cemetery.
      Henry Johnson was the first Jewish person to be buried -- he apparently died eating poision mushrooms.
      When burials were full at the Emanuel Hart cemetery, it was moved to a new site near Mission Dolores in San Francisco.
      Burials then were moved out of the city, with the Jews the first to be kicked out, Robinn said.  In 1889, there was a move to Colma "and everybody else followed."
      The oldest surviving tombstone is of Charles Lyon, who died in June 1851 during the "Great Fire of San Francisco."
      Bob Wascou found the earliest burial -- Samuel Harris Goldstein of Marysville, who died in 1850, drowning in the Sacramento River apparently loaded down with gold dust in his pockets.  He is buried in the Home of Peace cemetery in Sacramento.
      The oldest cemetery in continuous use is Temple Israel cemetery in Stockton.  The land was donated by Capt. Charles Weber.
      Robinn outlined the parts of a typical Jewish cemetery, including:
      -- consecrated ground
      -- a section for Cohenim
      -- separate sections for men and women (although not in California)
      -- family plots
      -- columbarium section
      -- chidlren's section (Home of Peace has one)
      -- cenotaphs -- markers, where no body buried
      -- orthodox or Kosher section
      Typical symbols:
      -- star of David
      -- candles, menorah
      -- hands -- cohenim
      -- pitchers
      -- Masonic symbols, Odd Fellows
      -- some may be symbols of American culture, or part of mail-ordered tombstones
      -- literary or poetic references
      -- usually show torch, flame upside down on Jewish tombstones
         (eternal flames became popular after JFK's death)
      --nautical references, apparently a symbol of immigrants
      Robbinn showed the grave of Emperor Joshua Norton, famous San Francisco figure.  His tomb was copied by many others.
      Some newer trends: California cemeteries are now noting Holocaust survivors; Russians include a little of their history on tombstones.
      You can trace lots of California history through cemeteries, such as April 18, 1906, the date of the great earthquake and fire.
      Robinn said the first Jewish governor of California was Washington Montgomery Bartlett, who's buried in Oakland.  He was governor in 1887, and died nine months into his term. His mother was a Sephardic Jew.
      The first Jewish congresswoman was Florence Kahn of San Francisco, who succeeded her husband Julius in 1924.   (A well-known San Francisco playground is named after him.)
      Robinn said the most famous person buried in Colma is in a Jewish cemetery -- Wyatt Earp.  His wife,  Josephine Marcus, was Jewish.
      The first Jew elected an Indian chief was someone in New Mexico.
      The second Jewish mayor of San Francisco was Adolph Sutro; the first was Washington Bartlett, who later became a California governor.
      Robinn also talked about some of the Jews buried in Hollywood area cemeteries, such as Westwood Memorial Park, where Fanny Brice is enterred.
      There are also Jewish pets buried among California's 17 pet cemeteries, some of whom are identified by stars of David on their tombstones.      
      Today there are approximately 86 Jewish cemeteries throughout California.
      From Gary Mokotoff's May 20 Avotaynu E-Zine:
      American Version of “Who Do You Think You Are?” Not Renewed for Fourth Season

      The American version of Who Do You Think You Are? has not been renewed for a fourth season. Neither Ancestry.com, the show’s sponsor, nor the NBC television network gave a reason for the cancellation. Ancestry.com indicated the company and the show’s producer were exploring other avenues of distribution.
      The fact that Ancestry.com wants to continue the program demonstrates that the show generated a good deal of interest from people wanting to know more about tracing their own family history.
      From the May 27 Avotaynu E-Zine:
      Yad Vashem Creates “Transports to Extinction: Shoah Deportation Database”

      Yad Vashem has created a new database called “Transports to Extinction: Shoah Deportation Database” which maps the deportations of Jews to concentration and extermination camps and killing sites in Europe. Yad Vashem notes that while in the past, historians have seen the deportations simply as a necessary logistical step on the way to the “Final Solution,” the research undertaken in the “Transports to Extinction” project indicates that the deportations were not simply an intermediary stage between transit camps and ghettos and finally extermination camps, but had an overall plan, unique in its design, its implementation and its historical significance.

      Thus far, the project has mapped some 400 transports from Vienna to various destinations, among them, Minsk, Riga, Theresienstadt and Auschwitz, and from Berlin, Cologne, Breslau, and several Czech cities.  Yad Vashem researchers have reconstructed the transport's route, including details on those involved in organizing the transport, the socio-economic characteristics of the Jewish deportees, and recollection of survivors. The findings are available, in English, German and Hebrew at http://db.yadvashem.org/deportation/page.html?language=en.

      In association with the project, Yad Vashem has announced an agreement with the National Society of French Railways (SNCF) to increase research into the scope of deportations of Jews from France during the Holocaust. The SNCF's contribution will support research into the French section of the “Transports to Extinction: Shoah Deportation Database.” This portion of the database will be available in French.

      SNCF's contribution will assist researchers in more fully documenting the some 80 transports of Jews from France. Approximately 76,000 French Jews were murdered in Auschwitz-Birkenau. The research will build on the work done by Serge and Beate Klarsfeld. Their book, Memorial of the Deportation of Jews from France, identifies the Jews by name on the 80 transports from France.  Survivors' testimonies, private documents and photographs will shed light on the deportees’ experience. The research will also map transports within France, from small towns and villages to Drancy.

      Follow-up on German Address Books Online
      The January 8, 2012, edition of Nu? What’s New? noted a large number of German address books online at http://wiki-de.genealogy.net. It appears a superior site by the same group is located at http://www.adressbuecher.net. If nothing else, the latter site is in English; the former is in German. Because many of the books are pre-World War I, the area covered is the German Empire including towns that today are in Poland. Example: Breslau which today is Wroclaw, Poland. The site contains more than 3 million entries from 373 address books for 6,872 towns and cities.

      Belarus SIG Plans Newsletter
      The Belarus Special Interest Group of JewishGen plans to publish a quarterly newsletter in PDF format. The first edition should appear about June 18. If you have any family history, links, questions or stories from Belarus that you would like to share, send it to belarusnews@.... To receive the newsletter, subscribe to the Belarus Discussion Group from the link at http://www.jewishgen.org/Belarus/.

      Finding Living People in the U.S.

      This week I was able to help a New Zealand woman locate a Holocaust survivor family living in the United States. The project came at an appropriate time, because I would not have been able to find the family but for the 1940 census. I also would not have been able to find the family but for the online Social Security Death Index to which the U.S. Congress wants to ban public access.

      Name changes, estate executors can be found in probate notices
      By Roxanne Moore Saucier, BDN Staff   Bangor Daily News
      Posted June 03, 2012, at 9:08 p.m.
      Genealogists wouldn’t think of overlooking the classified pages in their daily newspaper, especially on the weekend. Newspapers such as the Bangor Daily News run probate notices on Saturdays, an edition which not only sells a lot of copies but is thoroughly read.
      The two major categories of items found in probate notices are name changes and appointments of personal representatives for estates of people who have died recently.
      Some name changes appear to be requests by people seeking to add a name or drop a name, an action which could be related to a marriage or a divorce or neither of those.
      Sometimes a person wants a new middle name, or perhaps a first name or surname that is more Americanized — or more connected to ethnic roots.
      Adults may ask to change a child’s name to fit in with the rest of the family, even if the child has not been adopted. Perhaps they are raising the child as their own. Or it may be that a whole family, adults and children alike, are looking to change their last name for a variety of reasons.
      Women may decide that not only do they not want to use a husband’s or ex-husband’s last name, but they would rather not use their father’s name either. I’ve seen women take their mom’s maiden name as their own or convert their original middle name to a last name.
      I also knew someone who decided to change both her first and last names as a way to choose her own identity.
      Occasionally I have seen a request for name changes where the petitioner appeared to be replacing a man’s name with a woman’s name, or a woman’s name with a man’s name. On the one hand, we cannot assume that the choice of a first name indicates whether a person is transgender.
      But on the other hand, we know that some people who are raised as one gender may choose to change that gender through legal and medical means.
      When Penobscot County Probate Register Susan Almy spoke to the Maine Genealogical Society last fall in Bangor, I asked her whether a person’s change in gender would be reflected on a probate record that granted a name change. She said it would not because it was not the Probate Court’s function to determine that.
      Rather, a person who had their gender changed through medical means would seek a new birth certificate after providing documentation to the state.
      The other part of probate notices pertains to appointment of personal representatives to estates, informally known as executors. If you read the obituaries every day, you may wonder why you should read probate notices also.
      These listings sometimes remind me that I meant to clip and save an obituary. Then I visit the BDN site at bangordailynews.com, put the cursor on Obituaries, then click on Archive/In Memoriam to search for an obituary published in the past few years. I print it off and save it in my records or a scrapbook.
      Here’s another reason to peruse the probate notices. Not everybody has a funeral these days, and not everyone has an obituary. If we read these items regularly, we’re sure to come upon notices for people we may not realize have died. Sometimes we can find an obituary by visiting the website of a funeral home in the town where the person lived or died.
      Frequently, the personal representative is a relative of the deceased. The address published in the notice may allow us to contact the family, particularly since fewer and fewer people these days have phone numbers and addresses listed in phone books.
      Recent probate notices were published May 26 and June 2 in the BDN.
      Lastly, if you are going to be a personal representative for someone, relative or otherwise, do make sure that the person’s will is up to date. Doing so will save you a lot of work and will save the estate money.
      Arizona Daily Star
      6-generation clan is a quick genealogy lesson
      Cousin, niece, aunt - it matters not: 'Family is family'
      ·6-generation clan is a quick genealogy lesson
      6-generation clan is a quick genealogy lesson
      6-generation clan is a quick genealogy lesson
      Destinee Wentworth, with Christopher: "It's heartwarming to have so many people who love him. To know he has the chance to know so many generations of his family is very special."
      2012-06-08T00:00:00Z 2012-06-07T20:06:18Z 6-generation clan is a quick genealogy lessonStacie Spring East Valley Tribune Arizona Daily Star
      With the birth of Christopher Daniel Forrest on Feb. 4, Destinee Wentworth of Mesa welcomed the sixth living generation of her family into the world.
      "I think the record is seven," Destinee said. "Don't think we'll make it that far."
      The family made a point to get everyone together to take a picture as soon as possible after Destinee's first son was born. Barbra Culp, 90, lives in Tucson. Culp's daughter, Anita Ellsworth, 75, is in Pinal County. And her daughter, Barbra Spear, 56, and Spear's son, Eric Wentworth, 35, live in the Phoenix area.
      "You always look for family characteristics," said Anita, the maternal great-great-grandmother of Christopher. "Right now he looks so much like his daddy, but that's OK."
      For Destinee, introducing Christopher to his extended family only reflects the love she has been given by the family's multiple generations.
      "It's heartwarming to me to have so many people who love him," she said. "To know that he has the chance to know so many generations of his family is very special."
      The family has always been large, and with generations that often overlapped, many family titles such as cousin or niece or aunt often disappeared, Destinee said.
      "For us family is just family," she said.
      And knowing multiple generations is nothing new to Destinee.
      "We've had five generations on both sides before," she said. "But never six. From what I understand, it's quite rare."
      Growing up, she spent much of her time with her many grandmothers. That includes one memorable summer when she spent a week with her great-grandmother, Anita. Destinee insisted she have an entire dresser emptied to make room for her week's worth of clothing, Anita recalled.
      "Destinee's always been sure of what she wants," Anita said. "She is always the family entertainer, always singing and dancing for us. I have it all on tape."
      While many people grow up not knowing their grandparents and never meeting their great-grandparents, Wentworth feels especially blessed.
      "It's such a great support system," she said.
      It can't be ignored that Destinee is a teenage mother, something she isn't shy about addressing. Yet if she hadn't had a child so young, it's quite likely that so many generations of her family would not have met.
      "I am not a statistic: I have never done drugs; I'm still with the father of my child; I'm a full-time student," she said.
      Wentworth just finished up her second semester at Mesa Community College. She is working on her associate's degree in psychology, hoping to transfer to a four-year university to pursue a degree that would allow her to work with special-education children, she said.
      Next Meeting, Monday evening, June 18th, 7 p.m.
    • SusanneLevitsky@...
      April 22, 2015 Upcoming Meetings Sunday, April 26, 10 a.m. -- JGSS Board Meeting, Card Room, 2nd Floor. All are welcome to attend. Sunday, May 10, 10 a.m. --
      Message 44 of 44 , Apr 22
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        April 22, 2015
        Upcoming Meetings
        Sunday, April 26, 10 a.m. -- JGSS Board Meeting, Card Room, 2nd Floor. All are welcome to attend.
        Sunday, May 10, 10 a.m. -- "Using Genetic Genealogy to Break Through Brick Walls in Your Family Tree," -- Jonathan Long
        April 19 Meeting Notes
        The meeting was called to order by Librarian Teven Laxer. Teven handed out information on the Southern California Genealogical Society's Jamboree and its webinars.  On Sunday, June 7, there will be five speakers focusing on "Researching Jewish, Russian and Eastern European Roots."
        The jamboree is being held at the Los Angeles Marriott Burbank Hotel. There is an early bird discount for the jamboree until April 30.  For details, go to www.genealogyjamboree.com.
        Teven noted that a Yom HaShoah commemoration will be held at B'nai Israel this evening at 7 p.m.
        Our next meeting will be held on May 10 (also Mother's Day), with Jonathan Long providing a different take on DNA research
        All are welcome to attend next Sunday's JGSS board meeting upstairs in the card room, at 10 a.m. on April 26.
        The meeting's program was a showing of "There Was Once," a fascinating and poignant documentary about a small town in Hungary with no current Jewish population.  However, a Catholic teacher took it upon herself to track down former residents or their descendants, to learn about life before World War II and the fate of the Jewish residents. Viewers watch her efforts unfold through the film.
        GENEALOGY WITH JANICE: What’s in your closet? Old documents tell your family’s history
        Geneology with Janice
        Genealogy with Janice
        These documents were found in my grandmother's closet - in a shoebox!
        Genealogists spend a lot of time searching for old documents in libraries, archives and online databases. But in the excitement of finding new resources, we forget that some of the richest resources are hidden away in our own closets.
        Every once in a while, on visits to my parents’ home, I wander down into the storage room and bring up a box of “old stuff”. Often it contains items I’ve seen before, but sometimes I get a surprise. And I always learn something new, because I open it with my mother or father (and sometimes other relatives) and new stories come to light.
        One of these boxes contains my father’s old school report cards. The oldest describes his adjustment to kindergarten and progress in learning how to share, line up quietly and print his name. It amuses my school-age nephews to read his teachers’ comments about his tardiness and lack of “attention to his studies”.
        Another box is filled with scrapbooks my mother created when she was young. It seems that she kept every birthday card she received since she was four years old! These “old-fashioned” cards are fun to look at, and reading the notes inside them gives me an extra-special perspective on the relatives who sent them, including my great-grandmothers, whom I never got to meet.
        Visiting with my grandparents, I found other treasures: A family Bible from the 1880s contained lists of family births, marriages and deaths; a box of sympathy cards sent to my grandparents when my uncle died 50 years ago provided the names and addresses of many distant cousins; and a yellowed envelope contained a hand-written poem written by my great-grandfather describing his bicycle treks through the countryside to visit his sweetheart (my great-grandmother).
        Letters to other relatives asking about their “old documents” turned up still more exciting finds including a box of letters written by my great-grandmother to her son while was working in a logging camp in 1918. These letters are full of day-to-day family news including the antics of his younger siblings, births of new babies in the family, the progress of the farm and social events happening in town.
        So when was the last time you looked in your closet? Have you asked your parents, siblings, cousins and other relatives about their own old treasures? I hope I’ve given you the inspiration to revisit this precious resource.
        Author of ‘Crime and Punishment in Upper Canada: A Researcher’s Guide’ and ‘York’s Sacrifice: Militia Casualties of the War of 1812, Janice Nickerson lives and breathes genealogy. She believes that we all have interesting ancestors, we just need to learn their secrets. Find her online at UpperCanadaGenealogy.com and facebook.com/JaniceCNickerson

        Ben Affleck's slave-owning ancestor 'censored' from genealogy show

        Hacked Sony emails raise questions over a decision to omit part of star's family history from PBS programme, but makers say there were "more compelling" Affleck forebears to talk about.

        Actor Ben Affleck
        Actor Ben Affleck Photo: Bloomberg
        By Nick Allen, Los Angeles  10:27PM BST 17 Apr 2015
        Ben Affleck asked that a slave owning ancestor not be included when he appeared on a genealogy programme in the United States, according to leaked Sony emails.
        The star of upcoming movie Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice explored his family history on Finding Your Roots, which is broadcast by PBS.
        According to the emails he was one of a number of high-profile guests who turned out to have slave owning forebears, but the only one to want it edited out.
        Affleck was not named in the email exchange between the show's host Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr and top Sony executive Michael Lynton in July last year. He was referred to as Batman and a "megastar".
        Professor Gates wrote: "For the first time one of our guests has asked us to edit out something about one of his ancestors - the fact that he owned slaves.
        "Now, four or five of our guests this season descend from slave owners. We've never had anyone ever try to censor or edit what we found. He's a megastar. What do we do?"
        The professor said he believed the star was "getting very bad advice" and it would be a "violation of PBS rules, actually, even for Batman" to edit out the footage.
        But when the show was broadcast in October last year it focused instead on other ancestors of the actor including one who served under George Washington, an occult enthusiast, and his mother who was active in the Civil Rights era.
        Professor Gates issued a statement today saying he had editorial control of the series and it had "never shied away from chapters of a family’s past that might be unpleasant".
        He added: "In the case of Mr Affleck we focused on what we felt were the most interesting aspects of his ancestry."
        In a statement PBS said: "It is clear from the (email) exchange how seriously Professor Gates takes editorial integrity.
        "He has told us that after reviewing approximately ten hours of footage for the episode, he and his producers made an independent editorial judgment to choose the most compelling narrative."
        From Gary Mokotoff's April 19 E-Zine:
        JewishGen Creates Educational Videos
        Phyllis Kramer, Vice President–Education of JewishGen, has created a series of five-minute videos about various aspects of JewishGen and genealogical
        research. They are:
           • Prepare For Your Search (for USA researchers)
           • Navigate JewishGen
           • Find Your Ancestral Town (for USA researchers)
           • Communicate with Other Researchers via:
              –JGFF: JewishGen Family Finder
              –FTJP: Family Tree of the Jewish People
              –JewishGen Discussion Groups
           • Jewish Records Indexing - Poland
           • Jewish Genealogy Websites & Organizations:
              –Jewish Genealogy Websites - Part I (JewishGen and IAJGS/JGS)
              –Jewish Genealogy Websites - Part II

        Go to
        http://www.jewishgen.org/education to view them.
        Confucius' family tree sets record for world's largest
        2015/04/19 22:50:40
        Taipei, April 19 (CNA) The Confucius genealogical line has been recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest family tree in history, containing the names of more than 2 million descendants, according to the latest edition of the Confucius genealogy book published in 2009.

        The 2 million figure is thrice that included in the previous edition of the genealogy book for descendants from Confucius -- the famous Chinese teacher, editor, politician, and philosopher -- who lived 551–479 BC.

        The first Confucius Genealogy was published in 1080 and has undergone a major revision every 60 years and a small revision every 30 years. The fourth edition, printed in 1937, contained 600,000 names.

        With a history of over 2,500 years covering more than 80 generations, the latest and the fifth edition of the Confucius Genealogy was printed in 80 volumes in 2009.

        This fifth edition is the first edition to include women, ethnic minorities and descendants living outside China.

        Confucius has 2 million known, registered descendants, with some estimated 3 million in all. Tens of thousands live outside of China.

        In the 14th century, a Kong descendant went to Korea, where some 34,000 descendants of Confucius now live. One main branch fled from Qufu, the Kong ancestral home, during the 1940s Chinese Civil War and settled in Taiwan.

        Kong Weiqian (孔維倩), a 78th generation descendant of Confucius, traveled all the way from mainland China to Taiwan last year and now studies at the National Chung Cheng University in Chiayi, southern Taiwan.

        Kong was a junior and marketing major at Jiangxi Normal University in China. She is now an exchange student at the National Chung Cheng University, a sister school of Jiangxi Normal University.

        Kong's middle name "Wei" is universally adopted among those in the 78th generation of Confucius and the middle name "De" is used among those in the 77th generation, according to Kong Weiqian.

        Based on family tradition, women usually are not listed in the Confucius' genealogy book. However, with the rise of gender equality, and the insistence of her father, her name is now in the family book as well, Kong Weiqian added.

        The family-run Confucius Genealogy Compilation Committee (CGCC) was registered in Hong Kong in 1998 and began collecting data, according to Kong Xing (孔祥祺), a 75th generation descendant of Confucius, who was then in Taiwan to look for the descendants of the family.

        The latest project to revise and update the Confucius family tree began in 1998 and was completed 10 years later.

        Notably, in South Korea, the descendants of Confucius have made outstanding achievements in various sectors, while the government attaches great importance to an annual grand worship ceremony held to commemorate him.

        In addition, South Korea's Sungkyunkwan University has been the center for studying and promotion of Confucianism as well as the cradle of distinguished scholars and statesmen starting from the Chosun Kingdom period for over 500 years to the present.

        (By Chiang Yuan-chen and Evelyn Kao)

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