Tracing Chinese ancestry

The following is a listing of a few surnames of Chinese in Guyana who trace their ancestry to the original batch of indentured immigrants during the period from 1853 to 1879.
This list includes the names of some of the original immigrants and their descendants who are known at the time of printing (2003). The spellings of the names are those that have become the more generally acknowledged versions although variations in spelling do exist.
Chee-A-Tow: An immigrant from Poon Yu who arrived on the ship Bucton Castle in 1865, Chee A-Tow was allotted to Plantation Peter’s Hall. He became a shopkeeper and acquired property and land at Uitvlugt, West Coast Demerara, in the 1880s where he raised a family of 16 children.
Chung-A-Ming: Family history has it that the original immigrant Chung-A-Ming arrived in the 1870s and was given the personal name James. He married an Indian girl named Lakia and had two sons, Richard and Thomas James Chung-A-Ming. James opened up a liquor store, hotel and grocery in the Corentyne district. Some of his descendants are known by the surname James.
Foo: This surname can be derived from different Chinese written characters that have Fu as the Mandarin equivalent. Some people with the Foo surname are descended from Tong Foo.
Fung: There are several families with the surname Fung: the Cantonese version of the Mandarin surname Feng, which is among the top 50 Chinese surnames. Among those bearing this surname are the descendants of Fung A-Pan, an immigrant on the Whirlwind in 1860, and Fung A-Man, who arrived on the Arima in 1865. There are also other Fung families whose surname is equivalent to the Mandarin name Hung which in Hakka dialect is pronounced Fung.
Fung-A-Fat: The family traces its ancestry to the Hung clan, this surname being made famous by the exploits of Hung Hsiu-ch’uan, Heavenly King of the Taiping Rebellion. The Hakka pronunciation of Hung is Fung and thereby generated the inscription Fung for the family. One of the immigrants to British Guiana was Hung Kung-fat, a passenger on the Dartmouth in 1879, whose name was transformed into Fung-A-Fatt and from whom the family name is derived. Most of the descendants are now known by the simpler spelling Fung-A-Fat and some others have resumed the use of the root Hakka surname Fung.
Hing: The Hing family name is derived from different immigrants including Phang Hing, U-Hing (on the Chapman in 1861), and Wong A-Hing.
Low: Also written as Lau, Lowe and Loh, this Cantonese name is commonly associated with Liu, one of the top ten Chinese surnames. The descendants of Lau Shiu-t’ong are known by Low.
Low-A-Chee: Lau Un-che (also written Lau Yun-chay) was a native of Thong Kun who traveled aboard the Dora in 1860. He married Mary Kok and had seven children who carried the surname Low-A-Chee.

For more information on other Chinese surnames, visit the National Library and ask for “Cane Reapers – Chinese Indentured Immigrants in Guyana” by Trev Sue-A-Quan