Were your ancestors migrants?
If they were, you have a unique story to tell about your roots.
For a Chinese Singaporean family like mine, discovering why and how my forefathers took to the south seas is nothing short of intriguing. Driven by the prospect of a better life or seeking refuge from turmoil at home, the family came, traders and refugees, to settle in Singapore.
In this book, you find a gallery of historical documents and images that augment the oral narratives of my ancestry. It sketches the origins of the big Lee Clan and its key personalities, with records outlining twenty generations of my lineage. The stories chronicle the history of the family since the mid-nineteenth century when my great, great grandfather, a Qing scholar, migrated to a Catholic Teochew Village after his conversion to the ‘western religion’. Subsequently he ventured out of this hometown and China in pursuit of business.
Other family members fled Southern China in harsher circumstances, seeking refuge from the political unrest enveloping the region.
My Maternal Roots highlights the contributions of my great grandfather, Paul Lee Kheng Guan, a well-known Catholic towkay in Singapore. It concludes with the legacies of his son and grandsons who served the Catholic population of Malaysia and Singapore as Catholic priests.
Unearthing the fragments of family history, obscured in the passage of time, has been deeply satisfying. Along this journey, I stumbled upon a wealth of resources which fired my imagination and inspired my research.