Most of the material contained in here comes from the Gin Clan, which is flourishing in places as diverse as the USA, Mexico, Costa Rica, Canada, South East Asia, Australia, New Zealand, the rest of the Americas.  Specifically the information is extracted from the research of Albert Gene, Harry Gin, James Gin, Wing Kuon Gin, Yun Hoi Yan, Wing Wei Yan, Robert Chin and other researches of the Gin Sun Hall Associations around the world.

{With agreement with the Gin Sun Hall Benevolent Association Inc. of San Francisco, the material presented here is also published by the Chinese Heritage Interest Network in their Home Page, under the, "The Gin Clan"}

An artist rendition of Gin Sun Hall as might have appeared in his youth.

Pictures from the original home of the Gins in Shandong.

{Photos from the Singapore & Malaysia Gin Homage Tour of 1999}


Gin Temple at Shandong



In search of our ancestors in the great plains of China:

Pictures taken by one of our San Francisco Elders, James Gin, who visited the Sun Hall temple at Hebei (河北) (Left picture) and the well said to have served generations of Gin (Right picture).


Note: The following is extracted from a 1997 publication produced by the "Gin Sun Hall Benevolent Association" of San Francisco, California, USA, in celebration of its 60 Anniversary.  The original story is substantially unaltered with the exception of updates to place names in line with current usage and minor editorial for continuity.  It is our intention to update this Page as and when we have access to more up to date research material translated from Chinese.


Origin of the Gin

The Gin Surname is believed to have derived from an ancient Chinese governmental designation, which was used to designate the occupation of a "potter", one who crafts earthenware."

The transliteration of the Chinese Surname (甄) includes: Gin, Ginn, Gean, Gen, Gene, Jen, Jin, Ying, Yan, Zhen, and Chin.  As with any transliteration, variations can be quite many.  

The "Sun Hall News", a Clan Magazine published by the Gin Sun Hall Association, Kaiping, People's Republic of China identified the ancestor of all Gins as Gin Shen, whose ancestral home was in the Hebei province.

Our first ancestors existed approximated four to five thousand years ago.  The Gin clan originated at Chew Yip County in what is today Shanxi province.  Our first forefather was a potter.  It was a very technical job during his time, where he was commissioned to make pottery and ceramic tiles for the government.   The mastery of the art of pottery contributed to the arts of China.  Our great forefather was conferred the governmental position of “Gin Tao” (甄陶) by governmental leaders.  Having this official distinction, our first forefather used the former part of it for his surname.   This was how the Chinese surname, Gin, originated.

During the Han Dynasty, about 200 BC, the Gin Clan was known to be powerful and honorable nobility.   Some were high ranking government officials during the period of the Eastern Han Dynasty, Southern and Northern Dynasty (circa 500 AD).  During the Wei Dynasty, a Gin was an empress to Emperor Wen (Wen Ti) whose biography are in historical texts.  Emperor Wen’s reign was marked by an officious reorganization of the administration and bureaucracy of government which restored the country’s influence with neighboring countries bordering China. 

Valuable relics from the period were unearthed by the Chinese government in 1982 in Hebei province from the graves of the Gin clan for safeguarding.   Many of the graves were destroyed during the Cultural Revolution.  Among the relics unearthed recently are precious copper ware, celadon ware, pottery, and figurines decorated with colour drawings.  The relics are invaluable to anthropologists studying the politics, economy and culture of the Eastern Han, Southern and Northern.

Who was Gin Sun Hall

Gin Sun Hall is the name of our common ancestor who lived in the 13th century A.D.  Gin Sun Hall's grandfather, Gin Shing Hing came to Nam Hong county in northern Guangdong Province from Northern China, as he was appointed the government official for the area."

Later for various reasons which remain unclear, but believed to be the result of dissent of the locals to imperial decrees and it was also rumoured that one of the emperor's concubine disappeared near Nam Hong.  The Siyi people living in the area of Nam Hong County, including the Gin clan, had to flee to avoid being persecuted by the Emperor.  Many Gins as well as other surnames changed their names to avoid Imperia detection.  This may account for the reason why today the Gin surname is small in numbers compared to other surnames."

Where are they now?

At the Inaugural Gin Clan World Conference held in November 2005, at Kaiping, PRC, some 700 Gins and their friends and relatives attended the meeting.    From the attendance list, it was clear that Gins can virtually be found in all continents of the world.  The most populous concentration appears to be California.  There was a proud contingent of Gins from the original Gin Homeland of Wuji, Hebei (河北).  It is interesting to note that according to Wikipedia, "Plains in Hebei were the home of Peking man".  Thus, the Gins have a proud history with links to the Great Plains of China.

Tracing the Gin Lineage

In the section "Family Roots" we show an example of how one can trace one's lineage.