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Fiction and Reality in Ancestral Histories: A Study of Collective Military Households in the Ming Dynasty Huguang Region based on the Xu Family Genealogy



Parallel abstracts

Long devoted to the study of Ming dynasty military households, and recently seeking to understand the influence of status on their lineage development, the author over the course of more than 30 years has meticulously unearthed not only crucial data, but also found counterfeited information to be rather common among genealogies. It is therefore imperative for historians to master the art of distinguishing between fiction and reality when studying these sources. This case study of the Xu family of Ziyang attempts to demonstrate such a method by identifying counterfeit information in the genealogies through careful and extensive cross-comparison with local gazetteers and other genealogies. Additionally, novel aspects of the actual conditions of collective military households in the Huguang region during the Ming dynasty are revealed.