Something about Chinese Ancestral Registries:
Chinese Ancestral Registries are typically hand written with brush and stored in the Ancestral Temples at the villages. The images scanned and linked in this electronic registry are original hand writings from the last reconstruction era (probably 1919). Reconstruction means “copying-by-hand” of the previous deteriorating registry with supplementary data added where available.
Ancestral Registries can also be used in legal matters and distribution of wealth. They are not displayed openly and keepers are assigned, typically a village elder (representative). During times of war or major immigration (splitting) of the clan, copes can be made and given to the eldest male (ranked by generation) for safe-keeping.
Part of the important data kept on the registries are birthdays and date of death. Birthdays are used for match-making in marriages. Date of death are kept for ceremonial reasons at the Temple. The registries thus become a local official record of one’s origin.
The paper-copied Ancestral Registry is a very poor medium as it does not preserve well against the environment. It can also be easily destroyed by fire, flood, natural disaster, bookworms (yes they exist), and even human transgressions – this in the case of my wife’s family, when their Ancestral Registry was destroyed willfully by the Communist Regime during the Cultural Revolution in the 1960’s.
The internet is “virtually” indestructible. Still, someone has to maintain the registered “domain” and keep electronic copies for backup purposes. It is way too easy now to make copies but there is no need to. The Internet can be accessed world-wide and only one updated copy will need to be kept. I can foresee the “splitting” up of branches from the family tree to different websites for division of maintenance purposes as they grow out of hand, and cross links being created for association between websites in the future.