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May 31, 2004

Ancestors Of Li Jiquan

The research

This is the story of Peter Lee's search for his roots. We are most grateful to Peter for giving us permission to reproduce it here:

Peter Lee The research of the Australian Descendants of Li Jiquan (Lee Soon) has been predominantly conducted by Peter Leeson, great, great grandson of Li Jiquan (ĄZĄZĄZç©ĄZĄZĄZĄZ). Peter's interest in his family history began at the age of fifteen when it was revealed to him that the birth certificate of an elder relative had the name LeeSoon as their family name.

This had been kept quiet as people of Chinese origin were generally treated as second class citizens in Australia at the time, a way of thinking that had been encouraged by the White Australia Policy. When asking if it was correct, Peter was told that it couldn't be and that family members would have known if it were. By this time the Chinese appearence had all but disappeared from family members through marriages with European spouses.

It wasn't until two years later after the death of his grandfather, that it was revealed for the purpose of the death certificate, his grandfathers family name was not Leeson but in reality LeeSoon. This furthered the desire to find more information on the family history and during the period 1982 and 1983 Peter, with the assistance of his cousin Trevor Turner, spent many hours researching records, talking to remaining family members and chasing down any leads they could possible find.

Death, Marriage and Birth certificates were used to find vital dates, locations and next of kin. Cemetery records were used to fill in more detail and countless hours spent researching old newspapers, looking for articles or notices relating to family members, and hours spent in the repository searching records yielded information regarding the naturalisation of Li Jiquan and notice regarding the charge of perjury bought against him, for which he was found not guilty, along with details of the inquiry into the death of his son, James. Peter and Trevor travelled to Ballarat on many occaisions, speaking with the eldest remaining members of the family to obtain information and stories describing their great grandfather, Syd.

It must be remembered that all this was done in the days prior to the Internet and the access it has provided researchers of today. In 1984, Peter had reached a point where he had sufficient information pertaining to relatives since the arrival of Li Jiquan in Australia and was desperately trying to trace further back into China but with no success. After having been in contact with the Chinese Consulate and the Chinese Overseas Office based in China, he gave up trying and accepted that the information he had was all he would ever obtain.

Some seventeen years later, in 2001 however, using the Internet, Peter stumbled on a website that is used by people tracing their family origins in China. A few days after posting a notice on the bulletin board at this site, Peter received emails from two people located in Canada who offered assistance and guidance based on their own experience in doing similar research. With the assistance of Al Chinn and Albert Kawasi, and their translation of the headstone of Li Jiquan's grave in Ballarat, along with old maps in their possession, were able to pinpoint the tiny village in Guangdong Province from which Li Jiquan originated. It is now hoped that with this new information the link to distant relatives in China may one day become a reality.

By the creation of this website, Peter hopes to provide other descendants of Li Jiquan access to interesting and relevant information pertaining to their family history and other people who may be wanting to conduct similar research the inspiration and encouragement to make a start.

Points of Interest

Since the arrival of Li Jiquan in Australia, the eldest son of the eldest son has carried the name James. Ironically the only exception to this is Peter Leeson.

  1. Li Jiquan (Lee Soon)
  2. Sydney James LeeSoon 1
  3. Sydney James LeeSoon 11
  4. Geoffrey James Leeson
  5. Peter Geoffrey Leeson
  6. James Geoffrey Leeson.

There were three generations of Levina Maude's. (not in direct lines)

Chinese immigration to Australia >>

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