Visitors to the Genealogy Room are typically researching ancestors who came to this country from Europe, or possibly enslaved ancestors brought to this country from Africa. In the first case, it is sometimes possible to help researchers trace ancestors back to the colonial period, or even somewhat further back if they are lucky. For persons with enslaved ancestors, 1870 may well be the end of the genealogical line unless they are very lucky and/or very persistent.
If you are searching for Japanese ancestors, however, you may be able to trace them back 1,200 years. Yes, that’s right—more than 1,000 years! Doing so, however, will require you to either know how to read Japanese, or to commandeer the services of someone who does.
Japan, Village Records, 709-1949 is a record collection in HeritageQuest Online (a reference database SLPL subscribes to that cardholders can use from home). It includes records dating from 709 to 1949. As noted previously, these records are in Japanese.
This collection includes village records from many parts of Japan. Types of records available for a village can include:
Land and property records
Status records (a type of census)
Religious census records
Conservation project records
Village records sometimes contain the following information of special interest to genealogists:
Full name of ancestor
Age or Birth date
Date of transaction
A glossary of Japanese genealogical terms is available here.
A list of reference databases that SLPL subscribes to is available here.