Dandelion wrote:I'm really jumping the gun here, but does anyone know how chinese generational names work? FH and his siblings all have generational names, and as FH is the eldest grandson, we have agreed that we will try and give our kids chinese names, either as a generational name or a second middle name, or something along these lines. FH has no idea where the generational names come from, and all I can find from research is that they come from a 'poem' or similar. Anyone able to shed some light on this for us?
Traditionally every clan (of the same family name) would keep their own "genealogical record book" which not only list out names of past & present male kinsmen but also dictates names/characters for a certain number of future generations to come. Once they've run out of generational names from the book the chief at the time would select different characters to be used for future generations and the cycle continues. As for how the chiefs chose the names I think they just picked random characters, or from scrolls/poems passed down from their ancestors. I should also mention that only boys would be added to the book once they're born, as girls would be married off into another clan and adopt another family name.
I think it's a sweet gesture to continue this tradition but I'd say don't stress too much over finding the "correct" generational name - if such a record book still exists for your FH's clan it'd probably be very hard to track down. Nowadays there're no hard and fast rules, so pick a character that you both like the sound/meaning of - just like picking an English name really.