I’d like to invite you to join me at TALK STORY in Washington DC on April 14th. See the flyer for more details. Many thanks to the sponsors – the 1882 Foundation, the Chinese American Museum, OCA, Chinese Service Center & CACA – for the invitation to share my story about “rooting for truth” and my short/short story “Ching Ming.” If you are a Louie or Lei and plan to attend, let me know ahead of time so I can bring you a copy of my new book.
If you are not able to attend in person, be sure to catch the event on the 1882 Foundation Facebook page.
“There is something in all of us that thrills to this experience of touching the past. It could be an old letter, a genealogical record, a battlefield, a cemetery, or fragments of an ancient text.” (James Tabor)
Those words touched me deeply as I pondered how to share the story that I’d unearthed as I searched for my roots. I had hit many walls when it came to my immediate family, but as they say, “When one door closes, another opens.” In this case, it was the door to the Forbidden City, the world’s largest palace complex, and to Yangshi Lei, the architectural family who played a part in its creation. In fact, Yangshi Lei designed and built one fifth of China’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites and was recognized by UNESCO in its Memory of the World Register.
As the 400th anniversary of the birth of Lei Fada, the progenitor of Yangshi Lei approaches, I am honored to fulfill a promise I made recently to Lei Zhangbao, the tenth-generation descendant. That promise was to share the story of Yangshi Lei with the Western World. I am pleased to announce that “The Legacy of the Lei Family Architects Lives On: The Story of Yangshi Lei” is now available on Amazon.
My sincere thanks to my sister Florence Louie Bass, who joined me on the journey in 2018 even though rooting is not her cup of tea; to my guide Liu Hao from My China Roots for her assistance with my research including finding Lei Zhangbao and arranging our meeting; to Zhangbao and his family for meeting with a distant cousin from a far away land; to Friends of Roots who helped pave the way in 2016 for this journey; to all of the Louie/Lei 雷 clan; and to my ancestors who guided me to share this amazing story.
Carole Louie, aka Lei Bao Ling 雷宝玲
Rooting for truth has taken a new dimension for me. Two years ago, I found a nugget that turned out to be a gold vein. The veins grew and grew until I traveled to Beijing in October where I was able to meet Lei Zhangbao and his family. He is a direct descendant of Yangshi Lei, eight generations of architects for the last eight emperors.
Thanks to Liu Hao from MyChinaRoots for helping me with the research, setting up and translating for me at our meeting, and helping me at the Tsinghua University Library.
You can imagine how excited we were to visit the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven, and the Summer Palace, places that Yangshi Lei designed and built. I can hardly wait to write a book about this branch of the family tree who is listed in UNESCO’s Memory of the World Registry. You’ll have to read my book to find out why.
Next, back to Taishan and what we discovered at the villages.