Saturday, March 26, 2011

Dates and numbers: conversion charts

One of the first challenges you may come across in doing family history and dealing with koseki is reading the dates. The following are two fairly helpful charts for this.

First, a conversion chart for the Japanese calendar system. Traditionally, the year is recorded as the year in the reign of a particular emporer. For example, I was born in Showa 58, or 1983. The Koseki will only show the Japanese year, not the western year, but you can look it up here (click to view larger):

Another problem is that koseki may use antiquated characters. I'll include some additional charts for other kanji in other posts, but for now here is a chart that shows various written forms of each number.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

BYU Research Outlines

Here is a PDF compilation of several research guides and outlines for researching Japanese family history:

I am excited to go through them and glean some new information.

Starting on page 24 of this PDF is a copy of a pamphlet printed in Japanese entitled 日本の戸籍, or Japan's Family Registries. I have a hard copy of this pamphlet that I purchased at the Church distribution center in Tokyo and attempted to read at the time. It looks like it could be a pretty helpful resource, but I must admit that my reading skills are such that I am kind of intimidated by it. However, if I can't find an English translation of the booklet, I hope to do it myself. I think it will be worth the time both so that others can benefit from the information and so that I can go back and reference it without having to rack my brain trying to read it again.

Also, I'm planning on scanning the records I have collected so far so that I'll have digital copies, and I'm going to try to post some tutorials on how to glean information from these records - again for my benefit and the benefit of anyone who happens to stumble upon this blog.

I'm hoping that by posting these goals, I'll actually do them =).

"More Than Your Own Strength"

This quote always sticks in the back of my mind when I don't feel like I can make any progress on my family history:

"After you find the first few generations, the road will become more difficult... You will be tempted to stop and leave the hard work of finding to others who are more expert or to another time in your life. But you will also feel a tug on your heart to go on in the work, hard as it will be.

"As you decide, remember that the names which will be so difficult to find are of real people to whom you owe your existence in this world and whom you will meet again in the spirit world... Their hearts are bound to you. Their hope is in your hands. You will have more than your own strength as you choose to labor on to find them"

-Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
(From April 2005 General Conference, in Ensign, May 2005, 29-89)