Genealogy-Gencrafts Getting your genealogy assets out of the file cabinets and onto your walls
Browsing all posts in: Chinese Genealogy Art

Modifying Traditional Chinese Crafts to Celebrate Your Chinese Ancestors Heritage

May 24

Chinese New Years Eve Celebrates Family and Ancestors

Hung Bow lanterns made with family photographs

Chinese New Year or ‘Spring Festival’ is China’s most important festival and holiday. The dates changes every year and are decided by the Chinese lunar calendar, but it’s always between January 21 and February 20 of the Gregorian calendar.

Traditions and Activities

In China, Chinese New Year’s Eve is a time for families to be together. Wherever they are, people are expected to be home to celebrate the festival with their families. On New Years Eve traditions include  remembering the ancestors and giving red envelopes that contain crisp new paper money to the children and seniors in the family, and watching fireworks and firecrackers which scare off the evil spirits.

Looking at the Hung Bow Red Lanterns crafted from the red envelopes to decorate for Chinese New Years, I decided it would be a simple matter to make Red Lanterns with family and ancestor photos on them to personalize the decorations and show respect to the ancestors on Chinese New Years Eve as well as year round.

These are traditionally made by folding and stapling red envelopes.

Photo of Hung Bow Lanterns made with family photographs

I have modified a simple 6 panel Hung Bow Lantern by using photographs of Chinese Ancestors.



How to translate Chinese Caricatures into Computer Fonts


Signature from Document


Chinese Caricature Generators

Screenshot from the Calligraphy Generator



I hope my tutorial has inspired you to create one of your own. Please leave any comments or questions below. I would love to hear about your genealogy crafts.

If you are interested in ordering from, please click on any of these ads to be directed to their site. Any purchases, while there, will give us a small bonus, at no extra cost to you. This will help fund the website. Thanks ~ Jackie


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Modifying a 6 Panel Hung Bao Lantern Using Family Photographs

May 24

Photo of Supplies

These instructions are for making a very simple 6 panel photo lantern. I am making this one out of 4″x4″ photographs trimmed from 4″x6″ prints that cost 15 cent each, so including the cord and some dabs of glue the entire project cost less than $1.50.

Supply List:

    • 6 Square photographs of any size
    • 1 Piece of scrap paper the same size as photographs
    • Piece of Ribbon or Cord
    • Pen or Pencil
    • Scissors
    • Glue
    If you are interested in ordering from, please click on any of these ads to be directed to their site. Any purchases, while there, will give us a small bonus, at no extra cost to you. This will help fund the website. Thanks ~ Jackie

    “ is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking from/to”

    Photo of paper template

    Cut a paper template the same size as your photo squares


    Folded Template

    A) Fold the paper in half and then half again, as shown by solid lines in this picture. B) Cut 2 sides as shown in the photograph on the dotted lines.


    Photo of folding template

    Normally you would fold the red envelopes to determine the fold lines that make the square or diamond shapes, so as to not bend the photograph we will use the template to draw the fold lines on the back of the photograph.


    Photo of folding template

    To ensure the template is square, we are only going to draw 2 corners at a time.


    Photo of back of photo

    Draw around template and then turn around.


    Photo of back of photo

    Trace around the template again.


    Photo of back of photograph

    The back of your photo should now have a perfect square drawn on it to use as fold lines. Repeat on the backs of remaining 5 photographs.


    Photo of folding photograph

    Gently fold each photo along your template lines forward

    Folding photograph

    Crimp a crisp edge at each line, on each photograph.


    Photo of folded photographs

    Each photo should look like this.


    Photo of top 3 photographs

    By now you should have decided which 3 photographs are going to be on top and which 3 will be on the bottom. The top 3 photographs should all point to the center when you glue them.


    Photo of glueing photos together

    Glue the top left edge of one photo to the top right corner of the second photo you want on the top.


    Photo of tiny clothes pins

    I recommend using tiny clothes pins to hold each section together as it dries. They will not leave marks on the photographs like some other methods might.


    Photo of glueing 3rd photograph

    Line up and glue the 3rd photograph to the second photograph.


    Photo of hanging cord.

    You will need to place your ribbon or cord, coming out of the top before you glue the final corner of the 3rd photo to the 1st photo. In order to keep the ribbon or cord from sliding out of the photo cube you must secure it by either tying several large knots or gluing and or stapling a piece of scrap card stock to the ribbon or cord. If you are only making one lantern you could cut a corner off the template you made earlier.

    Photo of glueing 3rd photo

    Position the knot of your cord in the top corner and glue the final top corner of the 3rd photo to the top corner of the 1st photo. This should secure the ribbon or cord in place.


    Photo of top of Photo Cube

    Secure all of your glue joints and set aside to dry.

    Photo of gluing bottom photgraphs

    The 3 photos for the bottom half should be arranged where you glue the bottom point of all three photos together.


    Photo of bottom half.

    While you placed your hanging ribbon or cord at the center of the top half, I made a small loop of cord (again stapled to card stock) to come out of the bottom so that I could hang embellishment from the bottom. This step is not necessary if you are not going to hand a tassel or other item from the bottom. Let the glue dry securely before moving on.


    Photo of gluing top and bottom together.

    The glue on the top half and bottom half must be thoroughly dry. Then you will glue the 2 haves together, securing each joint as you go, until they are dry.


    Photo of Gluing Flaps

    I found it easiest to put glue on all of the flaps on the bottom half and secure each flap around.

    Photo of finished project

    At this point you can add any embellishment you might want to the little loop if you put one in. If you did not put a bottom loop on your project you are complete ! ENJOY

    Since I had 4″x6″ prints made, in order to get the 4×4 photos for the project, I was left with a 2″ x 4″ area. I reduced the 4″x4″ photo and made 2, 2″x2″ copies of the larger photo. I chose 12 photos instead of 6 and for my embellishment  I am adding a 2″x2″, 6 panel photo lantern, below the 4″x4″ photo lantern. – Was easier than it sounds.

    Photo of hanging cord.

    I looped the cord to hang the small cube through the bottom loop of the large cube.

    Photo of small cube

    I continued making the small cube just the same as the larger cube.

    Photo of assembly

    I secured the photos and let them dry well as I went.

    Photo of small cube

    I even left a small tail coming out of the bottom of the small cube for an additional embellishment.


    6 Panel Photo Cubes Complete

    I am extremely happy with the small photo cubes as embellishments. The bottom embellishment is a tag with the name, age and birth location of grandmother Yuntie Chin Leo.


    Photos of 15 panel Hung Bow Lanterns

    If you enjoyed this project leave a comment below and I will post the tutorial for making the 15 photo panel Hung Bow Lantern!

    See Also

    Converting Handwritten Chinese Fonts to Computerized Character Fonts.




    There is an App For That !

    “ is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking from/to”
    If you are interested in ordering from, please click on any of these ads to be directed to their site. Any purchases, while there, will give us a small bonus, at no extra cost to you. This will help fund the Genealogy-GenCrafts here on the web. Thanks ~ Jackie


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Chinese Themed Pedigree Chart Art

May 7


The Chinese have a complicated structure as to how they address their family members and ancestors based on whether the person is from their father’s side, mothers side, whether the person is older or younger than their parent, grand parents etc.

Many Chinese individuals never know or learn their ancestors actual names because they refer to them by these names. If you have old photographs, these nomenclature may require you to determine WHO wrote the name on the back of the photo.

Chinese are more likely to display Family Charts than individual Pedigree Charts.

For more information read further explanations on (You will be leaving my site)

When Chinese married, it was most often a prearranged marriage, and the first time the bride and groom saw each other was when she was carried from her fathers village in a sedan chair and arrived at the door of the grooms house in a sedan chair and he opened the curtain after throwing firecrackers at the sedan chair to ward off any evil spirits.

If you are VERY, VERY LUCKY your parents or grandparents may be in possession of the three generational chart that would have been exchanged by the families prior to marriage to make sure they were not to closely related.

Marriage document

This document (not a generational chart) explains the woman’s birth date, and birth location, presented to the grooms family to determine if the marriage will have compatability.

If you want to be able to read, understand and display the information, for your family, you may want to create your own personal Chinese Themed Pedigree Chart.

Chinese Themed Pedigree Chart

Note: I am not Chinese, and this is a “Chinese Themed Pedigree Chart”, that I painted. Not to be represented as something you would find in China.


Information that may be of interest, regarding Chinese naming patterns.

Each village had one primary family all related to each other. Everybody in the village thus had the same family name. Chinese naming traditions dictate the Family Name comes first, then the individuals name, and then (to aid in the confusion of everybody having the same family name, each generation of a particular family, all had the same (third) generational name.


Family Name: Wong

Individual’s name: Hung

Therefore “Wong Hung Yin” and ALL of his brothers generational name was Yin. All his sisters would have the same generational name also but may not be exactly the same middle name as their brothers.

So any individual in a village whose name was Wong Something Yin, would be siblings. No question about it. And all the men whose generational name was Yin had fathers, whose generational name was the same. So you could group generations but not necessarily figure out whose son they were.

Each family had an 8 generation “Family Poem” So they knew 8 generations in advance what first letter they would use to pick the generational name for their children.

This makes grouping the male ancestor moderately accurate. Until the men get married and take a “Married” Name, unrelated to their birth name. And when they came to America they might adopt and English name.

Take into account the various accent with which they talked and how the person heard what they said, and finding ships list with the correct ancestor on the list has issues.

On the other hand, while the women had childhood names,  once they married they often took their fathers family name added “Shee” (wife of) then her husbands name. Thus a female named Chin Yuntie who married a man who was of the Leo Clan, Would become Chin Shee Leo . . . Taking into account the Chin Village was probably fairly near the Leo Village, you end up with a large number of women named Chin Shee Leo. After coming to America some Chinese women went back to there childhood name. As an example the woman above took the name  Yuntie (her childhood name), Chin (her father’s clan), Leo (her husbands family name). Yuntie Chin Leo.

Prior to the 1930 each village had an “Ancestral Hall” that housed all the generations information, however the Communist did their best to destroy all of those records to break familial ties making standard genealogy research much more difficult.

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Chinese Lantern Photo Cube w/free printables !

May 7

This post is still a work in progress.

Photo of Basic Red Chinese Lantern Photo Cube

Basic Red Chinese Lantern Photo Cube


Whether you make the basic Chinese Lantern or embellish yours with tassels or dragons, this photo cube is simple to put together and versatile. And if you don’t have any Chinese ancestors all you have to do is change the color scheme and embellishments and you can make this lovely “Mothers Day Tulip” shaped photo cube.

Photo of Female Ancestor Tulip Photo Cube


Photo of Lantern

Simple lantern decorated with Dragon Heads, A Tassel and the Chinese Character for “Wong”.


Photo of Chinese Lantern template.

    Drop your favorite photos into the Chinese Lantern Template in your preferred photo manipulation program. If you don’t have a photo manipulation program you can print the FREE PRINTABLE (link below) as is, cut out the squares for the photos, print the photos separately and tape them behind the template. (Example Below). Use photos of all the same person or multiple generations. For this lantern I hand colored photos of all the same person at different ages, in Photoshop. I also put the Character for “Wong” above each picture, and the characters for his first and generational name below the photos. I also replaced the bright red background from the Free Printable with an acrylic dirty pour that I made using Red and gold and black acrylic paint. I had the Chinese Lantern art printed at a commercial printer on Luster Photo Paper. Gloss ends up with hard to remove fingerprints. I also printed several on 50lb coated paper on a laser printer at home and the results were quite pleasing


For Bright Red Chinese Lantern template CLICK HERE

For Dirty Pour Chinese Lantern template CLICK HERE

For Tulip Lantern template CLICK HERE

I would recommend printing several copies at home on your printer if you have one to practice your cutting and folding.


Photo of cutting out the lantern

Cut out the Chinese Lantern Template.


Photo of folding the Chinese Lantern

Fold each section of the Chinese Lantern template and press crisply.


Photo of folding the template

Repeat the folding process at the bottom of the photos and press crisply.


Photo of pressing the fold.

Lay on the table and press firmly with your finger.


Photo of flattening the template.

Gently flatten the Chinese Lantern Template.


Photo of folding all of the Vertical lines of the template.

Fold all of the Vertical lines of the template.


Photo of pinching the vertical lines crisply.

Pinch the vertical lines crisply.


Photo of folding and pressing crisply all of the glue tabs.

Fold each of the glue tabs.


Photo of folding and pinching the template crisply.

It is important that the fold is pinched crisply.



Photo of double sided tape.

Use double sided tape on all of the glue tabs and the side tab. It is important that the tape cover the entire tab. Either use glue tape which I found worked best or hot glue. Trying to use contact cement was frustrating (for me) and it was next to impossible to hold position while regular craft glue set up.


Examples Of  Various Embellishments

Photo of embellished Chinese Lantern

Chinese knots and tassels make great embellishments for the Chinese Lanterns.

Photo of more complex tassle.

More complex tassels are easy to assemble.

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Chinese Character Generators and Caligraphy Generators

February 12


Sample of Chinese Characters

Sample of Chinese Characters


You have documents with your Chinese ancestors signatures on them but don’t have a clue how to get them typed . . . much less change the fonts as easy as any Roman style type.

The solution is easier than you might imagine.

Do they have an app for that?

Better than an app, translation into other languages and their appropriate fonts are built into the operating system of Iphones, I don’t know about other brands.  You can write in almost any language. Just switch keyboards to any language you want. Settings/General/Keyboards/Add New Keyboard.

Then when you want to compose a Chinese character –

  • Open your email program.
  • Click on the little globe.
  • On the screen that comes up, use your finger to draw the character.
  • A selection of characters that the Chinese translator thinks you may have drawn comes up.
  • Compare the characters to what you were trying to draw.
  • Tap the correct character and it pops up to the email message box.
  • Do the next character you want.
  • When you have all of the characters you plan to do, email the message to yourself.
  • Now you can copy, cut and paste the character into many programs.
  • Make a file/page that has all your characters on it so it is easy to copy for future projects, instead of having to go find them in your email.

All without a Chinese keyboard.. I did not say it was easy or fast, but it works.

It does help if your ancestor had decent handwriting, was not in a hurry, and you have several samples to compare.


What can you do with your new found ability to turn your Chinese ancestors names into something modifiable?

If you want to have a wide selection of Chinese font opportunities, check out . . .

where you will find 384 different fonts for you to download, including: 44 Cute; 41 Calligraphy; 33 Handwriting; 7 Elegant; 124 Simplified Chinese; 25 Pop; 15 Headline; 2 Song Ti; 51 Traditional Chinese; 29 Modern and 8 Rounded. 21 of which are specifically tagged in “Commercial-use OK”


Example of HanWangKanDaYan Font

The “Cute” type styles really made me smile . .


Example of S2G Love Font

There is even a font with lots of hearts in the characters.


If you don’t want to download and install fonts, has 14 different fonts built in, and all you have to do is paste the word or words into the box, pick your font and size and download the finished calligraphy.

This site has links to a multitude of interesting tools including: A Chinese calligraphy generator; Stroke order where you put in the character and it shows you the order you should use to write the character yourself; Chinese Family Relationship Titles; Characters for Chinese Tatoos with their meanings; A Character Decomposition tool ; A Chinese Calendar that you can convert any date from the Julian Calendar into the equivalent Chinese date, once you get to the proper month and year calendar it shows the Chinese holidays in that month; A love calculator based on both persons birth dates and Chinese Astrology; and MANY more tools. Some work better than others. You need to make sure the type style is Simplified Chinese. There is also a converter for Traditional to Simplified Chinese.

Here are some of my favorite tools at this site.

Screenshot from the Calligraphy Generator

Screenshot from the Calligraphy Generator


Wong Character

This Character and the ones below, are the Surname “Wong” in different Chinese Typestyles. It was generated at


Wong Character

This font is very much like many of the family “Chop”s. A Stamp usually carved into soapstone, most often pressed into a red stamp pad to print on artwork or stamp at the bottom of letters and documents. It was generated at


Wong Character

This style is also a traditional font used for Chop’s. It was generated at:


Wong Character

This font looks a lot like it is imitating bamboo. It was generated at:

Wong Character

Wong Character

I have seen these fonts embroidered on Chines hats and robes. This font looks a lot like it is imitating bamboo. They are perfect for bold art. They were generated at:

Wong Character

JACKIE - Example of Word Art from

JACKIE – Example of Word Art from

Enter your name or any word, pick from one of 14 fonts, pick from one of 35 Chinese Paintings and it will generate same as Chinese Art including the name and a chop.

Examples of two of the pieces of art you can put any Chinese characters you want on.

Examples of two of the pieces of art you can put any Chinese characters you want on.

You may download it and print as you desire from their website at:

Enter Chinese characters and it will turn it into a Chop Seal in either red with white background or white with red background, in one of several different fonts.

You need to convert your character to Simplified Chinese, there is a link to a tool to do that.

Enter Chinese Character onto page. Choose the size of the Chinese calligraphy model. Pick one of 10 Chinese fonts. Choose the orientation of the characters and generate the calligraphy.

Besides the Chinese Calligraphy Generator the site also has Traditional>Simple Character converter and a Pinyin-Converter

There are other great sites, but these are the ones I have been using.


Examples of Chinese Monogram Ornaments

Examples of Chinese Monogram Ornaments with Acrylic Dirty Pour backgrounds and 3D puff paint Chinese characters that I made of the Wong, Leo and Chin family names to add to the family Chinese New Years Decorations.


Photo of Hung Bow Photo Lanterns

Traditional Hung Bow Lantern designs modified to celebrate Chinese Ancestors


Chinese Themed Pedigree Chart

Chinese Themed Pedigree Chart


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