Preface to the 12th Edition of Bright Creek, Ningbo Ma/Marr Family Genealogy (March, 2021- Rev. 1.00)

Editor: Ted Marr, 25th Generation, March 2021, Atascadero, CA. USA

This 2021 electronic edition is the 12th edition of Bright Creek (Ningbo, China) Ma Family Genealogy.  It is based on information derived from the Bright Creek Ma Family Genealogy 1948 edition (primarily), Ningbo County Census Report鄞縣通志 (secondarily), 1935, and recent updates of known Ma family individuals.

The family name Ma and Marr are synonymous transliterations of 马 (or in traditional script 馬). Henry Marr of the 24th Generation chose to adopt the MARR spelling rather than the more traditional MA… Whether it is spelled as MA or MARR, the original Chinese surname is still 马 or 馬.

The Ma or Horse character
in different scripts
throughout the ages

This  12th Edition attempts to achieve the following purposes:

  1. It provides a compass and guideline to understand the 1948 Edition of the Bright Creek Ma/Marr Family Genealogy.
  2. To make the Ma/Marr Family history more accessible to world-wide family members, this edition attempts to provide as much as possible all relevant information in both English and Chinese.
  3. It provides some answers to the origin of the Ma/Marr Family.
  4. It also integrates information from historical secular official government sources to further interpret the family genealogy.
  5. It extends the genealogy tree to the current situation for two of the branches under Shi Liang (21st Gen).
  6. It presents all the findings in a web-based viewer-friendly format via an interactive website.

Ningbo County Census Report鄞縣通志, 1935

1935 Census Report
1935 Census Report

The Ma Family is prominently referenced in the official Ningbo County Census Report鄞縣通志, 1935. It is available online. The Census Report is a massive document comprised of 36 volumes of 51 Sections and is divided into seven areas: public places, politics, religion, museum, literature, food, and engineering. It contained 5.5 million words and was printed on over ten thousand pages. The census scope covers the entire area of Ningbo County, including Bright Creek Village, also known as Hundred Beam Bridge Village. The tradition of census reporting goes all the way back to the Tang Dynasty (713 CE). The 1935 Census Report inherits key historical information since 713 CE. In this 1935 report, there is a section on the Ma Family in the Ningbo area. It identifies the Ma Family progenitor to be Elder Xiao Kuan 孝寬公, who is similarly identified in the 1948 edition of the Bright Creek Ma Family genealogy.

Earlier Editions of the Bright Creek Ma Family Genealogy

1948 Bright Creek Ma/Marr Family Genealogy

The earliest date of documented edition of the Bright Creek Ma Family is 1275 CE. The last recorded, printed version is the 1948 CE edition. At least four copies of the 1948 edition were printed. To my knowledge, the only physical paper copy of the original 1948 edition is reposited and hermetically protected at the Tianyige Museum (天一阁博物) in Ningbo, Zhejiang, China. (  We have on hand an electronically duplicated image version of this 1948 edition. This edition has 1180 pages. Other than the earlier editions’ Prefaces, which are reprinted in the 1948 edition, we do not have any copy of any of the other earlier editions.

The 1948 Edition embodies information from the previous editions. In total, there are 11 documented prior editions of Bright Creek Ma Family Genealogy.  For each edition, published by the ancients, the editors added one or more Prefaces and extended the genealogy tree by adding new descendant names and other details. From these Prefaces and other documents in the 1948 Edition, we could determine that there are at least eleven previous editions of the Bright Creek Ma Family genealogy: 1275, 1411, 1514, 1532, 1580, 1623, 1796, 1847, 1884, 1916, 1948. Ten of these editions’ Prefaces are included in the 1948 edition. The 1847 edition has two Prefaces. However, the 1796 edition’s Preface was not included in the 1948 Edition.

As recorded in the 1847 Edition Preface 2, the 1847 Edition (8th Edition) was a revolutionary edition because it was the first time, the genealogy was published via movable printing press. Prior editions, from 1275 onward, for 572 years, were all published via hand copied editions. Now 174 years later since the movable type publication, we took another step forward in technology. The current edition, 12th edition adopted the latest internet web cloud technology.

Various Dynasties as related to Family history can be download here

The earliest Preface is from the 1275 edition. It was at the end of the Southern Song Dynasty 南宋 (1127-1279). Shortly afterward, in 1280 CE, the Mongols conquered China and established the Yuan Dynasty 元朝 (1280-1368).  It was a turbulent period.  No new editions were published during the Yuan Dynasty. In 1368 under the leadership of Zhu Yuanzhang 朱元璋, the Han people rebelled against the Mongols. Thus the Ming Dynasty 明朝 (1368 to 1644) was born.

The next edition was published in 1411 (please note, that’s a 136-year gap between editions) when China reverted to Han people during the Ming Dynasty.  During this period of the Ming Emperors, five editions (1411, 1514, 1532, 1580, 1623) were published, each about 18 to 100 years apart.

Ming dynasty ended in 1644 when the foreign Manchurian 滿洲 people conquered China and established the Qing Dynasty 清朝 (1644-1911). The Manchus are the same people as the Jin Tribe 金人 who routed the Song Dynasty out of northern China to become what we now call the Southern Song Dynasty. The change over from the Ming Dynasty to the Qing Dynasty was another time of great upheaval. Therefore, no edition was published until 1796. That represents a gap of 173 years between the 1623 edition to the 1796 edition.

This 1796 genealogy edition was referenced in an 1857 document included in the 1948 Edition.  The same document also stated that during this “dry” period, over 60+ different partial genealogies existed among different branches of the MAs in three neighboring villages around Ningbo, including Bright Creek Village. It must have been an arduous task to consolidate and create this 1796 edition after such a long gap of 173 years. The 1857 document also stated that when they compiled the 1796 edition, they found a copy of a 1623 edition in a deteriorated condition. The 1847 Edition Preface #1 also referred to a 200+ years’ old copy in very poor condition. The 1847 edition must have been a major effort. There are two prefaces written for this edition. Also, two other documents, “Origin of the Family Name” and the “Relocation Narrative,” were added. These two special documents provide us with much key information.

During the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), there were three editions (1796, 1847, 1884).

Under the leadership of Dr. Sun Yat-sen, the Republic of China (1911) overthrew the Qing Dynasty. Subsequently, two editions were published in 1916 and 1948. Today, 73 years later, we can continue this tradition of nearly 900 years, with a 2021 electronic edition, and it would be the 12th Edition since the inception.

Of the four copies printed, one copy of the Genealogy’s 1948 edition was under the custody of my eldest brother, William, in Shanghai. The Red Guards destroyed it in the 1970s.  A second copy was miraculously rescued from the Red Guards in 1970s by Directors Hong Keyao 洪可尧 and Qiu Sibin 邱嗣斌 of the Tien Yi Ge Museum, Ningbo.  In 2012, the 1948 Edition at Tien Yi Ge was miraculously discovered.  A narrative of the 2012 discovery of this recused copy is available in a separate document on this website.  The Museum gave us two sets of JPEG files. Set one has 260 files, while set two has 331 files.  The original volume was printed on thin Chinese calligraphy papers via lead-character movable typeset printers. The calligraphy paper is very thin; so, printing is only on one side of the paper. Each sheet of paper is folded in half to form two pages. So, actually, not including the covers, we have 1,182 pages.

Contents of the 1948 Edition Genealogy

The Genealogy is originally divided into six volumes of unequal length, plus an introduction volume. So, actually, it has 7 volumes. For details of the Table of Contents, see another document entitled, “Table of Contents of Bright Creek MA Family Genealogy.”  In summary, these seven volumes are:

Snap shot of a portion of the Table of Contents page
  • Introduction Volume: Electronic files 1.0001 to 1.0018 include the introductions and eleven Prefaces of previous editions of the Genealogy.
  • Volume 1: Electronic files 1.0019 to 1.0028 include articles on the “Selection Rules” for an individual’s inclusion in the MA Genealogy, the origin of the Family name, the Bright Creek relocation narrative, and generation name lineup
  • Volume 2: Electronic files 1.0029 to 1.0097 basically list all the individuals of 26 generations in a generation tree.
  • Volume 3: Electronic files 1.0098 to 2.0220 provide a short bio consisting of the basic details of each individual and his wife/wives: birth and death date, other names, burial dates, and children. Clearly, this is the largest volume with 383 electronic files or 766 pages.
  • Volume 4: Electronic files 2.0221 to 2.0242 provide historic write-ups of a select number of individuals from the Song Dynasty to the Republic of China. Files 2.0222 contain important detailed information of G1 to G6. Oddly, Henry Marr’s entry is on file 2.0242, which is the last page of Volume 4. A bit out of order in that he is not of the Song Dynasty.  From a previous conversation I had with Henry Marr (before discovering this historical document), he told me the editorial committee ran out of money and asked him to contribute a large sum. I believe this request must have occurred after the Genealogy was already completed, so to recognize his contribution to this edition, they added his bio. Probably, the only spot to conveniently add a writeup about him is at the end of Volume 4, albeit in a rather odd spot.
  • Volume 5: Electronic files 2.0243 to 2.0323 provide special historical documents such as praising certain individuals for birthdays, eulogies, epitaphs, Emperor edicts, other memorial occasions, and geographic descriptions of key locations. Short bios and eulogies of G21 Shi Liang and G23 Tian Pei of our direct line ancestors are included in this volume on 2.0283-4, 2.0292-5.
  • Volume 6: Electronic files 2.0324 to 2.0331 provide many Appendices: a list of key family rituals, rules (dos and don’ts), errata, and postscript.

In this 12th Edition (2021), all individuals in the 1948 Edition (about 3000 individuals) and about 200 individuals under the Elder Shi Liang branch, born after 1948, have been captured and properly inserted into the Genealogy Tree (hyperlink later).