Owyang Family Returns to Roots using Internet (Part 1)

We’ve used the internet to find my family, share information, and now we’re planning a journey back to our roots
I wanted to share this personal project that I’m working on, it ties back to the web, as that’s how we all met and started to communicate (the web fosters community)

In a few weeks, I’ll be leading a group of 22 Owyang’s (or those related to Owyangs) back to China to our home town called Dai Lian (Big pretty mountain) (Update from cousin Michael: Mandarin spelling is Da Ling) in southern China between Hong Kong and Macau in the Pearl River Delta Area. The trip will be at least a week or longer, and we’ll spend nearly 3 days at our hometown.

The Internet as a Community Platform
This story is unique as we met primarily through the internet. A few years ago I created a website for my immediate family called Owyang.org. It was intended as an ‘intranet’ for my family but quickly other Owyang’s found me, it had a lot of google juice. Since I have a unique last name it’s easy to find others, imagine if our last name was ‘Wong’.

I created a Yahoo Group and I update the Wikipedia page. To date, there are exactly 100 members in this group and many have not met. Most know each other, or have traced each other via the family tree that exists (Beijing keeps accurate records). I’m able to filter out keep out folks that are not related. The internet has brought us together.

For many of the folks, this will be their first time seeing the home town DaiLian (where many Owyang’s are from) most of us are American-Chinese. I put “American” first as many do not speak Chinese anymore as we’re 3-5th generation. (as you know I’m 5th generation American).

We will use Social Media to record our Journey
We’ll be recording this journey on a group blog that I’ve setup (and will let you know) and will be publishing pictures to flickr as well as taking video.

For Owyang’s and Dailian, this is a big deal.

For me as a web professional this is a big deal, the web has helped me to bring together my family blood, and return to our roots.

The internet brings the world together, it’s a big deal.

Facts

  • Many if not most Owyang’s are from Dai Lian in Southern China (Update from cousin Michael: The Ouyang surname did not originate in the Southern China. Our common Da Ling ancestor moved to Guangdong province over 800 years ago, butthere were several generations before him.)
  • There is a written family tree that goes back hundreds of generations, it’s approved by Beijing
  • Jeremiah Created Owyang.org and updated Wikipedia pages
  • Jeremiah created a Yahoo Group for Owyang’s to find each other
  • A group of folks using the internet and email were able to assemble in real life a few years ago
  • New connections and information has been exchanged both in person as well as online in the Yahoo Group
  • Since then, we’ve decided to take a journey back to our roots in Dai Lian
  • We will record our journey using social media

Kickoff and Thank you Dinner
Kick Off Dinner in Bay Area