About this site
This site presents information on the history and culture of Macau:
- Genealogical (family tree) information, with 55,000 names and over 1,000 photos. Each person has an individual "Person Page" showing parents, spouses and children. There are innumerable links from faces in photos and names in articles to these person pages.
- More than 200 recipes of the dishes that graced the tables of Macanese.
The Portuguese established a base in Macau in the 16th Century for trade and for the spread of Christianity. This settlement endured for four and a half centuries until 1999 when the colony was handed back to China.
The Portuguese families there, a tight-knit community, developed their own unique culture, patois (patuá) and fusion cuisine and called themselves "Macaense" or in English "Macanese".
In time, Macau became overshadowed in trade by Hong Kong and many Macanese moved further afield to find employment, but they always had their roots in Macau.
After World War II, the migration became a flood – the so-called diaspora. Today Macanese families are dispersed all over the globe and their history is in danger of being lost. Fortunately, several authors have written notable histories of Macau; references to these, and to other items of interest, are in the Library chapter.
In particular, in 1996 Dr Jorge Forjaz published a monumental three-volume genealogy of Macanese families (Famílias Macaenses), with over 42,000 names. In them he captured not only names and dates but also recorded many of their triumphs, trials, tragedies ... and scandals. For this work Forjaz earned the accolades of his peers and the gratitude of Macanese all over the world. Generations to come will treasure these books. (He is now about to launch the second edition of his genealogy, in five volumes.)
To make Forjaz's work more widely accessible and more readily updated, I undertook to convert the "backbone" of the information (mostly on births, marriages and deaths) to electronic format. This is the result of that project which – with thousands of additions from nearly nearly 500 contributors around the world – now has over 55,000 names.
Of course this electronic "backbone" can only ever be a supplement to Forjaz's books, where the detailed information resides. Hopefully, more and more people will develop an interest and be motivated to acquire their own copies of his books.
Our objectives are:
- to engender a sense of pride in Macanese heritage,
- to foster interest in family roots among the newer generations of Macanese,
- to create a permanent respository for the preservation of cultural and historical records,
- to have the work continue indefinitely into the future.
Modifications are being made continously as people send in corrections, updates, stories and photos. Do browse through from time to time and enjoy yourself.
Much more needs to be done: some families appear only partially or not at all and many faces in photos have yet to be identified. To improve the site I seek more help from enthusiasts who are prepared to collaborate. (See the Help chapter on how to send information.)If you want to add, update or amend any information, please first read instructions, then send to email@example.com, but only send data that can be made available publicly. Old photos are particularly welcome.
I offer my sincere thanks to the 450 Macanese all over the world who have sent photos and updates for their families, in particular to Dr Jorge Forjaz, the eminent Portuguese genealogist.
Thanks also to my daughter Anne who helped in the graphical design of the site; to Paul Ferraz Barretto for his tireless efforts in setting up the website; to José Mário Teixeira, Hugo Gaspar and Mariana Leitão Pereira who helped with translations; and to John Cardinal, the developer of two of the software programs used, for assistance in the use of his programs.
Although all due care has been taken, I cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information – with such a large project, inevitably there will be errors, ranging from factual to trivial typographical. From time to time flaws may appear because of technical problems related to the type of screen or browser. If you find any faults, I shall be happy to correct them.
"Let us praise illustrious men, our ancestors in their successive generations. Here is a list of generous men whose good works have not been forgotten. In their descendants there remains a rich inheritance born of them. Their descendants stand by the covenants and, thanks to them, so do their children's children. Their offspring will last forever, their glory will not fade. Their bodies have been buried in peace, and their name lives on for all generations. The peoples will proclaim their wisdom, the asembly will celebrate their praises."
Originally, the word "Macanese" (Macaense in Portuguese) was used to denote people of Portuguese descent, who were born in Macau or who had an ancestor born there. Today its usage has broadened and it is sometimes used to denote persons of any ethnicity who live in Macau. However, in this website we use the word in its original sense. Read some interesting views on the diaspora and the Macanese in an article by David Brookshaw and the academic study by B. Koo.
Macanese also call themselves Maquista /Macaísta , Nossa Gente ("our folk"), filo-Macau/filho-Macau from filhos de Macau ("sons of Macau ") and Balichão/Balichung (after their popular and unique condiment).