Four districts in Kwangtung Province -- Toishan, Sunwui, Hoiping, and Chungshan -- have previously contributed most of the Chinese who immigrated into the United States yearly. Although the immigration pattern has changed during the last two decades, it is believed that people from the above-mentioned four districts or descendants of persons who migrated here from those districts still form the greater majority of the ethnical Chinese living in the continental United States today.

The Control Unit of the Consular Section in the American Consulate General in Hong Kong under took to compile indexes of clan names by villages for the four districts for the use of government agencies in investigating suspected frauds involving Chinese illegal immigration into the United States and in determining the veracity of a large number of visa, passport and federal benefit applications. As a result, the first of what turned out to be a four-part series -- the index for Toishan District -- was published in October 1963, followed by the Sunwui index in January of 1965, the Hoiping index in May, and the Chungshan index apparently in 1966.

Prior to 1949, like districts elsewhere in China, Toishan, Sunwui, Hoiping, and Chungshan were divided into areas, which in turn were divided into smaller jurisdictional groupings of villages termed heung (Âm) or bo (│¨). In the four indexes, all known villages of the four districts are listed in three ways: by romanized version of the name, by Chinese standard telegraphic code (S.T.C.) numbers, and in Chinese characters. With each village is listed the clan name or names of the family or families occupying the village, also in romanized version, S.T.C. numbers, and Chinese characters.

As a source of information in the investigation of past immigration frauds, the indexes may have already served the purpose for which they were compiled. As a reference source in any serious research into the geography, sociology and history of the four districts of Kwangtung, however, they have not outlived their usefulness -- something which the compilers themselves did not perhaps envisage when they began their work. It was with this realization that the Chinese Center accepted with gratitude the suggestion of Mr. Him Mark Lai, president of the Chinese Historical Society of America, with head offices at 357 Union Street, San Francisco, Calif. 94133, to include the four volumes in its reproduction program.

Original imprint: Hong Kong, American Consulate General, Consular Section, 1963

Reissue date: 1973
reference number: GP45