China’s Xiamen University professor Zhuang Jinghui (莊景輝) on Wednesday last week attended Taisi Township’s (台西) Tracing the Origins of Haikou event during qiansui (千歲) celebrations to recount the ancestry of the Ting (丁) family.
Haikou is a Hoklo (also known as Taiwanese) word for “coastal.”
Zhuang said the Ting family originated from China’s Chendai Township in Fujian Province and that the family is descended from Arabs.
Ting family records in Chendai show that the family are descendants of Sayyid Ajjal Shams al-Din Omar al-Bukhari, who moved to China and settled in Chendai near the end of the Yuan Dynasty, more than 700 years ago, Zhuang said, adding that the Ting family in Taisi Township descended from Ting Su (丁蘇), who moved to Taiwan about 200 years ago during Qing Dynasty Emperor Qianlong’s (乾隆) reign.
The family said that their Chinese surname is derived from “al-Din,” their ancestor’s name.
Taisi Township representative Ting Shun-yi (丁順益) said knowledge of the family’s origins was not well-known.
Ting and several other family members discovered their Arabian ancestry when Ting visited Chendai Township to make a copy of ancestral records, Zhuang said.
Zhuang said that as the Ting family in Taiwan is no longer Muslim, they were not aware of their ancestry.
Taisi Junior High school foundation president Ting Chung-cheng (丁重誠), host of the qiansui celebrations, said the foundation has hosted local cultural events in the hope that people might come to know more about themselves and their ancestry.
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