There are a wealth of scanned records available nowadays for Korean genealogical research. However, finding indexed and searchable records is a bit more difficult. Fortunately, there have been some recent advancements.
An amazing project on GitHub includes searchable text file versions of some historical Korean records. The project is called “JoSeon MunKwa”: JoseonMunkwa . The project page includes links to the original sources and has downloadable text files in the data directory. The project code attempts to take on difficult tasks that challenge people researching Korean genealogy, such as addressing multiple people with the same name and people with multiple names. The historical record scope includes:
– Munkwa Bangmok (문과 방목) (civil service roster data, including 14638 people from 1392 to 1897). AKS did some of the original reasearch on this file.
– Annals of the Joseon Dynasty (조선왕조실록) (A.K.A. Veritable Records of the Joseon Dynasty) (183 books covering 472 years of Joseon history kept by the rulers). This history website explores the indexed records in detail: The Veritable Records of the Joseon Dynasty
– Joseon Family Relations (ManSeongDaeDongBo 만성대동보) (A list of prominent people and their clan lineage including founding clan members). Online searchable record: Josean Lineage Network Information System (LNIS) based on the ManSeongDaeDongBo (The Comprehensive collection of family lineage)
“The Comprehensive Collection of Family Lineage” is a valuable resource for Korean Genealogy. The title of this record is ManSeongDaeDongBo (만성대동보, 萬姓大同譜). Generally only prominent individuals and their lineages and clan founding ancestors were included. It covers 361 Korean lineages and 136,000 people from about 100A.D. to 1933 A.D.. The record was published during the Japanese colonial period of Korean history. It is basically a multi-family collection of family trees. Cross-referencing this record with a family JokoBo provides additional insights and validation to Korean genealogy research. The record is divided into 3 volumes.
The scanned record is available on Family Search, which is one of the most valuable sources for scanned Korean genealogy records:
Scanned Record Images Online
The scanned record is also available online from the Academy of Korean Studies’ Center for Korean Studies Memorials:
Scanned Record Images Online
Professor Mark Peterson provided an amazing tutorial on how to use this record:
YouTube Tutorial from RootsTech 2021
Some incredible projects have indexed the record and made it searchable!
Joseon Dynasty Family Relationship Network Information System (LNIS)
Record History: history
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The following information is not included in the first edition of the book. However, it is available on this website now and will be included in the second edition of the book that is under development.
Surnames and Clans
Years by Ruler and 60-Year Cycle
Years by Calendar
Part 1 (Ancient): GoJoSeon, Silla, & GoRyeo Years
Part 2 (Modern): JoSeon & Modern Years
HanJa Used in Korean Genealogy
I added a list of Korean surnames and clans based on the 2000 A.D. South Korean census. Check it out at http://koreangenealogy.org/book/online-addendum/surnames-clans/
Here is a great list of websites for families in Korea. Many have searchable online JokBo and KyaeBo records!
This organization can help Korean adoptees who are searching for their birth parents or seeking to reinstate their Korean citizenship.
The Inje University Genealogy Library is by far the best source of Korean genealogical records available.
The Inje University Genealogy Library’s online library of JokBo is incredible. They have recently changed their policy and no longer require registration to access the books online! They did this to make JokBo research resources more broadly available to everyone. This is wonderful.
There is still one hurdle for English speakers who want to use this library. Viewing the books requires installing a browser add-on / application that only works with Windows Explorer (no problem) and the Korean version of Windows. Please note that the Korean version of Windows is not referring to an English version of Windows with a Korean font installed.
There are two approaches to overcome the “Korean Windows” hurdle. 1) Install Korean Windows on a computer. I got a little $250 laptop (smaller than a laptop, actually) that has a Korean version of Windows XP CE on it and that worked well. I also emulated a Korean version of Windows 2000 using VirtualBox (free software at https://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/Downloads) on a more powerful PC running an English version of Windows 10 and that worked well, too.