Who Has The Oldest Family Tree?

When people are doing their genealogy, a question that can come up is who in the world has the longest and oldest family tree, and what does an ancient and long family tree looks like.

The Chinese philosopher, teacher, and politician Confucius have the longest and oldest family tree in the world. The family of Confucius has kept their genealogy records since about 479 BC or over 2,000 years—the records contain millions of names and many generations.

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Confucius Has The Oldest Family Tree

The Chinese philosopher Confucius has the record for the longest and oldest family tree. In 2015 the Guinness Book of World Records named the Confucius family tree the most significant family tree globally; the Confucius family has protected these family records for thousands of years.

Here are a few details about the Confucius family tree and why it has rightfully earned the title of the largest family tree in the world.

  • Over 2 million descendants – The Confucius family tree has over 2 million descendants on the tree. The 2 million are the only registered descendants; there are thought to be around 3 million descendants in total part of the Confucius genealogy.
  • Over 80 generations – The Confucius records have over 80 family generations listed.
  • Over 600,000 names – The genealogy record has over 600.000 family names.
  • Over 80 volumes – The family records are so large that when it was printed in 2009, the history had over 80 volumes of print.
  • Includes many relatives – In the 5th edition for the print, the record also had many women., ethnic minorities, and even descendants living outside China.
  • Confucius lived a while ago – Confucius was the Chinese teacher, editor, politician, and philosopher who lived from 551- to 479 BC. The family record of Confucius has been kept for thousands of years.
  • First Genealogy Published 1080 – The first genealogy record of Confucius was published in 1080.
  • Consistently revised and updated – The record of Confucius has been consistently revised and updated. The Confucius family record is revised every sixty years, with more minor revisions every thirty years.
  • Includes Decedents in Korea – In the 14th Century, one of Confucius’s descendants went to live in present-day Korea. The record consists of at least 34,000 Korean names who are also Confucius descendants.
  • Some are also in Taiwan – Some descendants are known to live in Taiwan.

As we can see from this list, there are many reasons why the Confucian family tree is the oldest. We also learn how vital genealogy is for Asians and their descendants.

Many Confucian family organizations worldwide are working to do more research on this family tree. In particular, there is a Family run Confucius Genealogy Committee (CGCC) registered in Hong Kong.

And also, organizations in South Korea have done a lot of research on the Confucian family line, including at South Korea’s Sungkyunkwan University.

About Confucius

Confucius Sculpture in the Temple of Confucius Beijing China

Confucius was a Chinese teacher, philosopher, politician, and teacher who taught Asia about the way of life for knowledge, benevolence, and virtue. Even today, his ideas are intricately linked with the identity of China and East Asia.

He was born in 551 BC near Qufu in Eastern China. I visited his birthplace and home many years ago. He is known as Confucius, but his real name was Kong Qiu.

He was considered a great teacher who taught his students’ various subjects. His thoughts are recorded in the Analects.

Confucius was not widely accepted in his day, but he left over 3,000 students when he died. His students or disciples went out to spread his teaching and philosophy around.

The Analects became so crucial that Confucian teachings would go on to guide Asian and East Asian governments for centuries. Confucius believed that social order was essential and that the family unit was the basic building block of society.

Confucius taught filial piety. Filial piety is about virtue and respect, obedience, and love for one’s parents and elderly family members. In Asia, this continues to be an ingrained part of Asian societies.

As Confucius believed so much in the family as the unit of society and filial piety, it seems only fitting that it would be his ancestors who would keep the family records. Today, it is considered the oldest genealogical record in the world.

If you think about how Confucius’s family was able to update these family records and record the family names and history for thousands of years, it is awe-inspiring. Even today, with all our computers it can be hard to keep our family records, .but imagine where everything is written down and collected in volumes and books.

Keeping over 2.000 years of records is no small feat for any family, especially for one in China and East Asia during this time.

The Hummel Family is a website all about Family History research. We focus on Swedish, German, English, Scottish, and American Genealogy. We also discussed Asia and China, as we had ancestors who spent many years in China.

You are welcome to join us and become part of our community by signing up for our FREE newsletter, The Hummel Family; sign up by clicking here.

Also, check out our Youtube Channel, Family HIstory Buzz, by clicking here.

Frequently Ask Question

Who was Confucius?

Confucius, also known as Kong Qiu, was a Chinese philosopher, teacher, and politician who lived during the Spring and Autumn period of ancient China. He is widely regarded as one of the most influential figures in Chinese history.

How long is Confucius’ family tree?

Confucius’ family tree is believed to be the longest and oldest recorded family tree in the world, spanning over 2,000 years since around 479 BC.

How did Confucius’ family manage to keep such extensive genealogy records?

The descendants of Confucius, known as the Kong family, placed great importance on preserving their lineage and genealogy. They diligently recorded and maintained the family tree over generations.

What is the significance of Confucius’ family tree?

Confucius’ family tree holds immense historical and cultural significance, as it not only traces the lineage of his descendants but also provides insights into Chinese history, society, and the influence of Confucian philosophy.

What is the purpose of maintaining such extensive genealogy records?

The Kong family’s dedication to preserving their genealogy reflects the importance of ancestry and lineage in Chinese culture. It helps maintain a sense of identity, heritage, and continuity for the descendants.

How accurate are the genealogy records of Confucius’ family?

The accuracy of the genealogy records is subject to the meticulous efforts of the Kong family over the centuries. However, some discrepancies and errors may exist due to challenges in maintaining perfect records over such an extended period.

Are the genealogy records of Confucius publicly accessible?

While parts of Confucius’ family tree are available to the public, access to the complete records is restricted to certain members of the Kong family and scholars with special permissions.

What Is The Purpose of Genealogy?

Genealogy aims to study family, family history and trace our lineage or ancestors. The purpose of genealogy goes far beyond our ancestors’ dates, names, and places. You learn more about your family and yourself as you do your genealogy. Genealogy helps unite and link families together by discovering things you did not know about your family.

By clicking here, you can learn more about Genealogy by reading our blog What Is The Purpose of Genealogy?.

What Does It Mean When The Bible Says To Avoid Genealogies In Titus 3:9?

In Titus 3:9, the Apostle Paul was not condemning genealogy. Instead, the Apostle Paul warned us about bragging about our genealogy or making up false information about our ancestors so that w look good. The Apostle Paul was not against genealogy or about us discovering our ancestors.

By clicking here, you can learn more about Genealogy by reading our blog What Does It Mean When The Bible Says To Avoid Genealogies In Titus 3:9?.

Anita Hummel

Hi, I am Anita Hummel. I live in Hanoi, Vietnam. I love to share with you about my family history and the many parts of the world our ancestors have lived.

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