Monday, January 12, 2015

Roots (Part 5)...the Khoo story, from the beginning, sort of.

Who am I? Where do I begin to...? Just a week ago, my grandfather and grandmother story was so sparse, so sketchy. I did not even know my Ah Ma's name! Nor did I know where my paternal grandparents were interred.

This particular Khoo story is still incomplete/inconclusive but I now have a better picture. The breakthrough came when a cousin, who had read my blog, contacted me. Vital gaps were filled. But where in China did we originate?

Again, thanks to my cousin, I had the location of Ah Kong and Ah Ma's niches in Mandai Columbarium. Last Saturday, five of us -- Tan Seng, Tan Huat and his wife Poh Jeng, and Angie and I -- went there and found the two side-by-side niches:

I can't read Chinese characters and Tan Huat undertook the onerous detective work, much of it painstakingly done online. His "digging for roots" despite the incomplete and/or outdated information has been superb. I also enlisted the help of an effectively bilingual close friend of Angie's, who texted this reply after checking with some other friends:

The information above tallied with what Tan Huat had found. He had earlier forwarded to me two useful background links on genealogy and how information is "encoded" in Chinese tombstones (my grandparents' remains were initially interred in a Chinese Hokkien cemetery):

Given the difficulties faced -- discrepancies and spelling variations were encountered and, in any case, the original village would likely have already disappeared -- this is the result of Tan Huat's research:

But the 14th precinct (??) part seemed to lead nowhere, literally. Tan Huat had to speculate further, that perhaps the village was somewhere else!...

So this is what we know thus far. It is inconclusive. Short of a long-lost relative from the original village in China also researching on his or her roots chancing on this blog, it is likely to remain so. Meanwhile, there is my "third aunt's" tombstone somewhere in the Bukit Brown area to sally forth onto next:

Picture taken by my late brother Tee Chuan, several years ago. 
That must await another day. For now, I am satisfied that the union of Khoo Seng Kit and Yeo Cho (Yeo Cho Neo?... as given in the niche tablet) led to another union (Khoo and Chia) resulting in this family:

Isn't he cute... the baby, that is.

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