ANCESTRAL VILLAGE REPORT FOR JOY HOLE

(Red signifies the Cantonese pronounciation for the Chinese characters.)
(Green signifies the Mandarin pronounciation for the Chinese characters.)

On March 24 2005, Robert and Joy Hole went on a trip to Taishan City of China to research Joy Hole's family origins.  During the trip, the TAISHAN.COM staff accompanied Robert & Joy Hole in providing translation and transportation services to the individual villages within Taishan.  Both Robert and Joy Hole didn't know Chinese and they had very little information to start with the search except that they knew Joy Hole's father, Tal Yuen, was borned in Taishan and his Chinese name was (Cho Ji Yin, Cao Zi Ran).  They also knew that Tal Yuen was borned sometime around 1894 and left China around 1909.  Tal Yuen later returned once back to China sometime around 1915-1920. They don't know whether if Tal Yuen had any relatives here in China as it was never revealed to them when Tal Yuen was alive.

As there is not much to go by, the only alternative for this search is to figure out the names of the villages in Taishan that carry the (Cho, Cao) surname.  Using information gathered by the the US Consulate General from the 1930s, there are at least 19 villages in Taishan that carry the (Cho, Cao) surname.  The names of these villages are as follows:

Village Name
in Chinese
Village Name
in Romanized English
Present Day
Location in Taishan
Pang Hong
Beng Xiang
Chonglou Town
Cho Hou
Cao Hou
Doushan Town
Wang Kong Kau
Heng Jiang Jiu
Doushan Town
Shun Tau Tsui
Shen Tou Zui
Doushan Town
Shun Tau Tsui Sun
Shen Tou Zui Xin
Doushan Town
Nor Cheung
Na Zhang
Guanghai Town
Nor Kung Chau
Na Gong Zhou
Guanghai Town
Chiu Lok
Chao Le
Guanghai Town
Nor Ting
Na Ding
Guanghai Town
Shek Shan
Shi Shan
Guanghai Town
Nor Ping
Na Ping
Guanghai Town
Yeung Tin
Yang Tian
Guanghai Town
Yeung Tin Sun
Yang Tian Xin
Guanghai Town
Ho Chau
He Zhou
Guanghai Town
Wo Lok
He Le
Duanfen Town
Chung Wo
Zhong He
Duanfen Town
Cho Ow
Cao Ao
Duanfen Town
Shek Tsui
Shi Zui
Duanfen Town
Kark Chung
Ge Chong
Duanfen Town

In starting off the search, we decided to search the villages in the Doushan Town area first by asking people in these villages to see if anyone knows (Cho Ji Yin, Cao Zi Ran) and whether if there was a (Cho, Cao) family clan book for the entire Taishan area.  We went to the (Cho Hou, Cao Hou) village first and then (Shun Tau Tsui, Shen Tou Zui) as these are the two prominent (Cho, Cao) villages for the Doushan area.  By late afternoon, we couldn't locate any good leads from these two villages.  As it was getting late, we decided to skip the other 2 villages in Doushan ( and ) as they were very small villages and to proceed to visit the (Nor Cheung, Na Zhang) village in Guanghai instead.  It is known that the (Nor Cheung, Na Zhang) is the most prominent (Cho, Cao) village in Guanghai as the author for the Taishan Cao Family Origins () book was borned there. 

By early evening, we arrived at (Nor Cheung, Na Zhang).  We asked the people inside the village and they referred us to (Cho Nga Gwong, Cao Ya Guang).  (Cho Nga Gwong, Cao Ya Guang) is a very knowledgeable person as he used to be a local middle school teacher.  He is currently working at the Guanghai Educational Bureau and as a hobby he maintains a family tree for many members in the (Nor Cheung, Na Zhang) area.  Unfortunately, he told us that the name (Cho Ji Yin, Cao Zi Ran) doesn't exist in the family tree.  As a last hope, he told us that he shall help us to locate (Cho Ji Yin, Cao Zi Ran) by contacting the elder members in all the villages within Guanghai that carry the (Cho, Cao) surname.  As it was getting late, we left Guanghai that evening exhausted.  It was also the end of our search as Robert & Joy Hole had to return to Hong Kong the next day.

About 3-4 days later, the TAISHAN.COM staff received a phone call from (Cho Nga Gwong, Cao Ya Guang) that he received leads of close family members of (Cho Ji Yin, Cao Zi Ran) living in Guanghai.  These family members include nephews of (Cho Ji Yin, Cao Zi Ran) that work at a motorcycle repair shop in Guanghai.  He told us to visit him when we have a chance as he shall take us to see the family members.  We emailed Robert & Joy Hole waiting for instructions but we received no immediate response.

A couple of days later, the TAISHAN.COM staff received another phone call from (Cho Nga Gwong, Cao Ya Guang) indicating that the family members would like to meet us.  They were willing to gather together and make a trip to Taicheng which is our office location.  At this point, we made a phone call to Robert & Joy Hole with the news and asked for instructions.  Robert & Joy were not feeling well at that moment but told us to proceed with the search at our own discretion.  Afterwards, we arranged with (Cho Nga Gwong, Cao Ya Guang) to meet on the afternoon of April 6 at a local restaurant in Taicheng.

A total of 11 family members greeted us that afternoon as shown below.  The woman at the far left is (Cho Ji Yin, Cao Zi Ran) niece.  Her name is (Cho Siu Mei, Cao Xiao Mei) and she has two brothers, (Cho Jan Lun, Cao Zhen Lun) and (Cho Jan Ping, Cao Zhen Ping).  (Cho Jan Lun, Cao Zhen Lun) family of four is shown in the picture right next to (Cho Siu Mei, Cao Xiao Mei).  (Cho Jan Ping, Cao Zhen Ping) family of four is shown at the far right end of the picture.  The old woman at the center sitting next to (Cho Jan Lun, Cao Zhen Lun) (with his son at this lap) is (Cho Jan Lun, Cao Zhen Lun) mother.  Finally, the old woman sitting next to his mother and (Cho Jan Ping, Cao Zhen Ping) family is (Cho Ji Yin, Cao Zi Ran) youngest sister.  Her name is (Cho Dung Guk, Cao Dong Ju) and she is about 75 years old.

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Family Picture

ClickBased from the family had told us, (Cho Ji Yin, Cao Zi Ran) had 4 brothers, 2 sisters, and 1 stepbrother.  (Cho Ji Yin, Cao Zi Ran) is the eldest among them all as he escaped much of the misery that happened in China.  The names of (Cho Ji Yin, Cao Zi Ran) younger brothers are (Cho Ji Ying, Cao Zi Reng), (Cho Ji On, Cao Zi An), (Cho Ji Yuet, Cao Zi Yue), and (Cho Ji Yan, Cao Zi Yin).  According to the family, both (Cho Ji Ying, Cao Zi Reng) and (Cho Ji Yuet, Cao Zi Yue) disappeared after being captured by the Chinese army during World War II to fight against the Japanese.  The youngest brother (Cho Ji Yan, Cao Zi Yin) was assassinated at an early age by the Chinese army.  Only (Cho Ji On, Cao Zi An) remained as he lived past 75 before he died in 1988.  The picture at the right is an oil portrait drawing of him.  One may note that his facial features resemble a lot to those of (Cho Ji Yin, Cao Zi Ran).

(Cho Ji On, Cao Zi An) gave birth to 2 sons and 1 daughter.  Their names are (Cho Jan Ping, Cao Zhen Ping), (Cho Jan Lun, Cao Zhen Lun), and (Cho Siu Mei, Cao Xiao Mei).  A picture of the three sitting at the restaurant is shown on the left picture below.  As mentioned before, both sons are now working at a motorcycle repair shop.  All of them have families now.  The elder son, (Cho Jan Ping, Cao Zhen Ping) has one son and one daughter.  His family is shown on the right picture below.

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The younger son, (Cho Jan Lun, Cao Zhen Lun) has two sons.  His family picture is shown below.

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When the two sons were young, they have heard from their father that they have an uncle by the name of (Cho Ji Yin, Cao Zi Ran) who left China at 13 years old but returned once around 23 years old.  This information matches with the description provided by Robert & Joy Hole.  When their father was alive, (Cho Ji On, Cao Zi An) was very eager to listen to news of (Cho Ji Yin, Cao Zi Ran).  Whenever he knows anyone had returned from England, he would ask for news about his brother.  However, he didn't get any and he was very disappointed.  However, the two sons are now very excited that they have received news of their relatives overseas and would hope to be able to meet and communicate with them.  The following is their contact information.

As for (Cho Ji Yin, Cao Zi Ran) 2 sisters, the younger one is still alive today.  Her name is (Cho Dung Guk, Cao Dong Ju).  She was borned sometime around 1930.  When she was 2 years old, her mother died and she was sold to another family in Duanfen Town.  However, many years later, she was brought back into the family by her brother, (Cho Ji On, Cao Zi An).  She didn't know anything about (Cho Ji Yin, Cao Zi Ran) or the family history as she was away from the family for most of her life.  She was at the lunch meeting as she is shown sitting on the left in the left picture below.  The woman sitting on the right is (Cho Ji On, Cao Zi An) wife.  She also didn't know much about the family history because she was married in 1944 as her only source of information was her husband, (Cho Ji On, Cao Zi An).

The other sister, (Cho Dong Mui, Cao Zi Mei), had passed away 3 years ago.  She was 73 years old when she passed away.  As for the stepbrother, his name was (Cho Ji Gwai, Cao Zi Gui).  According to the family, he died very early as a baby.

As for information regarding (Cho Ji Yin, Cao Zi Ran) father, the only person remaining that knew him is an old person by the name of (Cho Tong, Cao Tang).  He was the one that (Cho Nga Gwong, Cao Ya Guang) referred to in his search for (Cho Ji Yin, Cao Zi Ran).  As a matter of fact, (Cho Tong, Cao Tang) knows more about the family history of (Cho Ji Yin, Cao Zi Ran) than any of the living family members.  He was the key to this search as he and (Cho Nga Gwong, Cao Ya Guang) both also attended the lunch meeting as shown in the right picture below.

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According to (Cho Tong, Cao Tang), the name of (Cho Ji Yin, Cao Zi Ran) father is (Cho Lai Jau, Cao Loi Jiu).  He had two wives.  The first wife gave birth to 7 children where (Cho Ji Yin, Cao Zi Ran) is the eldest.  His first wife had the surname of (Chan, Chen).  Robert & Joy Hole had mentioned that the surname of the uncle from the father's side is Shum.  This difference can be explained by the local Guanghai dialect pronounciation of the word (Chan, Chen).  People in this region would pronounce this word "Chun" and it is possible that this was interpreted to be "Shum" by the Englishmen.  This is entirely plausible as for example the word (Cho, Cao) has been interpreted to be the word Tal by the Englishmen for (Cho Ji Yin, Cao Zi Ran) surname.  Such variations in Anglicized names happen frequently as Chinese characters to English words were never really standardized in the past.  As a note, nowadays, the Mandarin pronounciation is the standard to be used.  However, the Cantonese pronounciation is a more popular dialect used worldwide and thus I had indicated the two pronounciations for each Chinese word shown in this report.

Anyhow, (Cho Ji Yin, Cao Zi Ran) mother died in 1932.  The old man (Cho Tong, Cao Tang) doesn't know too much about the (Chan, Chen) family of (Cho Ji Yin, Cao Zi Ran) mother.  However, he said she came from a rich family while (Cho Ji Yin, Cao Zi Ran) came from a poor family.  (Cho Ji Yin, Cao Zi Ran) father, (Cho Loi Jau, Cao Lai Jiu) worked as a village sentry guard similar to the function of a police officer today.  One can deduce that perhaps (Cho Loi Jau, Cao Lai Jiu) sent his son overseas to England because of poor living conditions in China.  His wife might have a brother who was well-off in England and was willing to take care of (Cho Ji Yin, Cao Zi Ran).

In 1935, (Cho Loi Jau, Cao Lai Jiu) died from accidental seafood poisoning.  According to (Cho Tong, Cao Tang), he ate some kind of fish that had some poison in it.  The fish may not have been cooked properly when he died.  At that point, the orphan (Cho Ji On, Cao Zi An) was only 22 years old.  (Cho Ji On, Cao Zi An) worked as a barber and at 39 started his own family.  (Cho Ji On, Cao Zi An) barely managed to save enough to send his two sons to school.  As a matter of fact, (Cho Nga Gwong, Cao Ya Guang) once had taught the two sons and had good words to say about them.

Shown below is a sketch of the family tree as provided by the family members.  To see the tree in a separate page, you may click here.


This concludes the ancestral village report of Joy Hole.  Portions of this may get updated over time as appropriate.