The image shown above was extracted from a Jiapu (家譜) publication which is depicted in a hierarchal format and it is quite easy to understand as the generations are clearly identified with one name per generation. This makes tracing the lineage very simple, it is just a matter of following the numbers. This is the format in the entire publication showing ten generations in this family after four pages of introduction.
This particular page shows only two generations, the first and second ancestors from this particular village. It is read from the right hand side to the left hand side and in top to bottom fashion.
Let us now translate the contents. Starting from the top right hand side and reading down it says:
Ancestor’s (Weng [翁]) name: Ying (英)
Married (Shupei [淑配]) winsome (Yiren [宜人]) wife surnamed: Li (李)
Begat: Sheng (生) four sons: Oldest (Chang [長]): Fa (法), Second (Ci [次]): Fu (福), Third (San [三]): Shou (壽) and Fourth (Si [四]): Wu (悟)
Next take the name in the middle of the page which says:
Second generation ancestor (Ershizu [二世祖])
Ancestor’s (Weng [翁]) name: Fa (法) who was the oldest son of Ying (英) as shown above. Since this is a Jiapu (家譜) the name of his brothers are not included in the second generation as they are not part of his family.
Married (Shupei [淑配]) a wife surnamed: Liu (劉)
The term Anren(安人) meant she was the wife of a government official (ie. husband Fa [法])
Begat: Sheng (生) three sons: Oldest (Chang [長]): Jinshan (金山), Second (Ci [次]): Yushan (禺山) and Third (San [三]): Houshan (火山)
This type of format is very easy to read since it only specifies one ancestor after another.
Although this page is brief in its decriptions others may specify birth and death dates with village names for the ancestor and his wife (wives) as well as locations of burial sites. Some may also describe career achievements and positions held in life.