Old Eurasian Family - contacts for descendants Geni.com | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Old Eurasian Family - contacts for descendants Geni.com

Geni.com has an online collaborative family tree. 

Their motto "Everyone's related"

If you are a descendant of an old Hong Kong Anglo-Asian family (ususally known as Eurasian today) than bop on over there and try your luck.

 It is a bit of a Wild West site in that anyone can change the information on there.

So if you are a descendant of these people, give Geni.com a whirl.  I've put in the names of the white men who are the "Anglo" part.  I've used the surnames from Peter Hall's 20 year old book "In the Web".  Additions and correction welcome.

Here are the original white guys (or non-Chinese) that I've entered:


Charles Henri Maurice Bosman
Thomas Rothwell
Adolphus Hermann Christian Anton Zimmern
Stephen Prentis Hall
George Tyson
Henry Graham Anderson

Alexander Ryrie Greaves
Alec Cumine
Ernst Richard Furhmann
Charles David Bottomley
John Letblere Litton
John Gittins
Starling Jex
Jens Anton Ahlman
Gustav von Overbeck
Emanuel Raphael Belilios
Robert Hormus Kotewall
John Olson (aka Jons Jakobsson)
Sir Catchick Paul Chater (granduncle)

Famous sons of white (or non-chinese) men - listed below their father

Bosman Ho
Rothwell Lo
Law Lo
Roberts Lo
Zimmern Shi / Sze
MacLean Mak
Mackenzie   Chan
Hall Sin / Sinn
Choa   (real Chinese name)
Lane Cheung
Anderson Hung
Cumine   Kam
Tyson   Wong / Lyson
Bardou   Lam
Litton   Lit
Soares   Lam
von Lisenburg   Wong



Ho Fook
Ho Tung / Hotung
Wong Sik To


A very brave attempt, Annilesic, deserving of praise. Thank you.

But it is not really possible to deal with this subject without first defining what is meant by Eurasian. In the HK context this term was used to mean much more than an Anglo-Asian mix.  Robert Kotewall, for example, is usually referred to as a Eurasian, but his mother was Chinese and his father Parsee. His children were/are Eurasian because their mother, a Lowcock, was Eurasian. And there was no Anglo part in many of the families you list - many were German, Austrian, Scandinavian, Dutch.

Beware of relying too much on Peter Hall's "In the Web". He failed to define the term satisfactorily, and the "Eurasian" families he mentions are those which were somehow loosely related to him.

The term Eurasian was used in HK largely in reference to people who did not belong to, or who were not accepted by, either the foreign, western, community on the one hand, or the Chinese community on the other hand, or who did not belong to a separate national group such as the Indians. It is in this sense that Robert Kotewall was Eurasian.

Remember also that the Eurasian community in HK was fragmented. There was a lot of in-fighting and jealousy, and it is not possible, for example, to make generalisations applicable to both the so-called "elite" families and the families started  by such as white soldiers, seamen and policemen. Admittedly, there was a degree of inter-marriage between the different groups.

I could more than double your list of surnames, but am wary of doing so in the absence of a clear idea of how Eurasian is defined.



Does Geni give a unique url for a person in their tree? If it does, you might want to link the names in your list to the entries in Geni. That would help people find your information more quickly.


You wrote "But it is not really possible to deal with this subject without first defining what is meant by Eurasian".

I disagree.

One approach to finding out about history is to start by agreeing on tight definitions, then fill in information that matches those definitions.

A different approach is to throw all we know (plus guesses and speculation - identified as such) out onto the internet for all to see and expand on / correct, and then add structure as we find out more.

Different people prefer different approaches, but both can turn up useful information. Gwulo.com tends to the second approach.

Both of you,

Speculation about historical topics is welcome on Gwulo.com.

Speculation about contributors' personality, or possible motives for what they have or haven't posted, is not.

I have hidden several comments above. If there were parts that were relevant to the initial discussion, please re-type.

Thanks, David

Hi Annelise

Love to concept of your idea and Geni, but just a small point. There were NO CHATER's with Chinese ancestry in HK and thus classed Eurasian, so on this occasion don't think the name should be included.  Sorry!

Best wishes


Thank you, David.  You have done the right thing. My original posting was well-intentioned, to start a meaningful debate. We were side-lined by Annelise's impetuous and somewhat rude (to me) response, and Sean's offer of three cheers to her.

You disagree with my contention that we should first define what we mean by Eurasian. Fair enough. But then what exactly is the subject matter? Annelise made up her list of "surnames" from the appendix to Peter Hall's book. But even he never said what those names represented - certainly he never actually claimed that they were all Eurasians. Some in fact were not Eurasian, under any commonly accepted definition of the term.

And Liz Chater has chimed in to point out that Chater should not be included because there were no Chinese in the family. So what is the element that must be present to form the subject list? And if Chater is deleted from the list, what happens to the Eurasians who were Jordan's descendants?

I was hoping to stimulate some debate on this issue, and hopefully come up with a generally acceptable definition on the basis of which I would be more than happy to help by suggesting "surnames" more appropriate than those listed by Peter Hall.

Pity that what could have been a useful exchange has gone so far astray. In my own defence, I have read carefully through what I wrote and with respect can find nothing that could conceivably be interpreted as speculation on contributors' personality. On my part, I shall attempt to relax, lighten up and forget the Eurasian label as it apparently bugs me.


Hi Jaberu,

I agree that David was quite right but I also think that the heart of the problem lies way back when this wierd caste system evolved leaving us with the dilemma we are in.

Liz Chater is correct. Her relations were not Eurasian in the strict sense of the word.

All this it seems to me is a legacy of an Empire which set up a class structure which simply does not correllate with 2011. Surely the simple thing to do is to stick to the dictionary  definition, which according to my old Oxford Dictionary, that has served me faithfully since 1964 is: "Person of mixed European and Asian parentage;of Europe & Asia".

That is what I have always considered a Eurasian and that is what the children of my great grandfather who was Swedish and my great grandmother who was Chinese, were.

What you would describe me as I don't know. Generationally my father was a quarter Chinese and possibly three quarters Irish from his mother's side. Me. Well you can take you pick. Some Chinese, Some Swedish, mostly Irish - my mother was Irish.

That's why I think the dictionary definition is probably the nearest we will get to an agreement unless we want to go down the route of drawing boundries for Asia. Finally, after the first generation it seems to me impossible to come up with a definition of those that follow.

Hope this makes sense.


Thank you, Sean, for your well-reasoned comment - the sort of comment I had hoped to stimulate by my first posting on the subject.

Unfortunately, I do not think the dictionary definition goes far enough. There were many accepted members of the Eurasian community who were not of mixed Asian/European ancestry. A group which stands out were people who came to HK from other parts of the Empire, like Australia, New Zealand, West Indies and so on, who were overseas Chinese, and who identified with the Eurasian community and were fully accepted by that community. The reason for this is complex, but it is a fact.

To me, the HK Eurasian was one who did not belong to, or was not accepted by, either the foreign community or the Chinese community, and who did not have his own national community (such as Indian) to fall back on.  It was a community of "non-belongers".

It may be strictly correct to say that there were no Eurasians in HK with the surname Chater.  But there are a very large number of HK Eurasians with other surnames such as Cunningham and Laing who are/were the direct descendants of a grandson of Paul Chater.

Strangely, your dictionary definition in fact leads to a need to consider drawing boundaries for Asia. I constantly give the example of Robert Kotewall with Chinese mother and Parsee father and yet undoubtedly Eurasian under the definition I suggest,

Wow we are getting in deep and I am totally out of my depth! I had no idea that the subject was as complex and diverse looking at it from my corner.

For example, I had no idea there were overseas Chinese involved. But, when one thinks about it why not. Lots and lots of people made their way to HK for many many reasons.

I am certainly not qualified to even make a stab at a definition and as for drawing boundaries for Asia I'll leave that to someone who knows better than I.

I would though make the point that there was always a tendency when Brittania ruled the waves for various groups to be slotted into convenient  boxes so that the ruling classes could keep their grasp on society firm and organise life in general. It happened here in Ireland where we had such things as Protestants, Catholics,  and Dissenter who fought an 800 year war which may not yet be over yet if we are unlucky.

If I am right in that then it is hardly surprising that the term Eurasian has been bastardised,as you would seem to imply, to incorporate far more than the simple Oxford Dictionary definition. It's an easy way to categorise people who don't fit the prescribed norm.

I know that, in the case of my HK family, all the sons were sent to the UK to school and given professions and never returned to HK except in one case many years later when he worked for the then BOAC now BA.

My grandfather, who by the Oxford definition was Eurasian - ie first generation from an European-Chinese union - returned only a couple of times after leaving to live in the UK in 1923 when he effectively retired. His last visit to HK was in 1926.

I was always given to understand that it was felt life would be more comfortable and more doors would open in London than HK. He continued to have busines interests in both HK and Singapore but had them managed by people on the ground - in HK I think by a legal firm and in Singapore by a brother-in-law.

My great sadness arises in that I know all that but neither he or his sons ever spoke more than a few words about their past and I know that my grandfather instructed them not to so I have no knowledge at all of my Chinese relations. So, even in supposedly more liberal London, he felt - and perhaps they did - that it was better if the bloodline was not revealed.

This is why I feel that if it is possible to find out more about the "other" half of the family then most means are acceptable.

The bigger picture of definition I'll leave to others with greater knowledge and stick to calling my roots Eurasian.

Hopefully, you have sparked a great debate which will provide us all with some outside the envelope thinking.


Hi, my name is Chadwick. As told by my grandparent, we are in the family of C D Bottomley. My surname is Hung. Do you have more information about my family? I'm interest to know more about it, especially our family tree.

Thanks and regards,


Try here to see if you or your family recognizes names.


*** Warning

This is a first cut copying of CD Bottomley trees in Peter Hall's book "In the Web" published twenty years ago, in 1992.  There were many holes and overlaps, unknown fathers and unknown mothers - so proper updates from the family (sent via Geni to me, the "profile manager") will be greatly appreciated.

Ms Kam, (Shun Tsoi Kan or is it Kan Shun Tsoi ? ) the "protected woman" of CD Bottomley, seems to have used the surname Hung for all her children no matter who the father was.

CD Bottomley was also a trustee of the Ladies Recreation Club, and his wife, Mrs. Bottomley played tennis there and appears to have been a member.

Hi annelisec, I've gone over to the Geni list and tried to edit on the Chater profile, but I can't see how to.  I wanted to added further relatives and dates etc. Do you have to give me permission or something?


Assuming the information given by Peter Hall in his book "In the Web" to be correct, Bottomley and his "protected woman" Kan Shun Tsoi had two sons and two daughters (one named Solene who married a man surnamed Fenton). So if Chadwick Hung is a descendant of Bottomley, his grandfather (?) is presumably either Hung Hing Kam or Hung Hing Chuen (Bottomley's two sons).  Otherwise, Chadwick is a descendant not of Bottomley but of one other of Kan Shun Tsoi's protectors.


Hi Annelisec,

Thanks for putting the great grandfather into Geni. Small point it is Olson not Olsen.

The Stuart Preddy is a relation as far as I can see. He would be related to my great aunt Elizabeth who had two daughters and died young in 1915 and is buried in Happy Valley. She married a man called Cyril Warnes who was a Londoner. He and children subsequently went to Australia.

Still can't get my head around Geni. Too tekkie and I'm too old I think!

Hopefully you will raise a hare for me.



Olson correction made.

Thanks for the fix annelisec.

A query though. When I click on John Olson I go straight to the Preddy managed site on Geni. Just wonder if you have established a tek link there.

He is a cousin of sorts and seems to have extracted all the Swedish family history from my website. No credit of course.

Have asked him to mention www.thehongkonglegacy.com on the site as it might bring in something. We will see. He is Australia based.

Thanks again.



 Annelise, for info:

Stuart Preddy is the nephew of Cyril Gaby, husband of Elizabeth Olson’s elder daughter, Iris. He lives in Dunedin, New Zealand. He drew up the Gaby family tree in 2006. About that time he and Sean Olson both kindly sent me their family trees in pdf format with an invitation to add missing details about my family. Stuart supplied dates of birth, death, marriage info and children of Iris and Marjorie Warnes, Elizabeth’s daughters, which I passed to Sean in 2007 for completion of the Olson family tree. His name may have got lost under four years of e-mail correspondence. At the same time I passed the Olson/Warren tree to Stuart for completion of his Gaby tree, which I don't think he intended to put on the web at the time. He also sent Cyril Gaby’s autobiography relating his courtship of Iris in Hong Kong, his (Cyril’s) agreement to take Marjorie’s baby with them to Shanghai, their internment in Shanghai, and his successful bid to be swapped with Japanese POWs in Australia. This I passed to Jennifer Maslen, daughter of Hugh Olson. To her I owe the first lead to the Gaby family and to my own grandmother, Hannah Warren. From 2004-7 we were exchanging information between our several families. Many elderly cousins, Olsons, Warrens and Warnes, not previously known to each other, plus their spouses or friends scattered over five countries have contributed their knowledge to reconstructing our respective Hong Kong family histories, including Stuart Preddy, who didn't know about the Warnes's Eurasian background when we first made contact.

Sean, it is not easy to "mention" something on Geni.  I just tried to add your website as a "source" to link people to.  There is a funny redirect on it, so Geni cannot pick it up.  I think the real URL is eircom.net or something.

If you want to take the time and trouble to add your website as a "source" on Geni yourself, and painstakingly connecting every fact on your page to that person's profile, there is nothing stopping you.

Stuart already did a lot of work for you, uploading it to Geni, and I think you owe him a beer !

Thanks for yours. First you are talking to the most untechnical person on this site! Not only that but I have recently switched to Mac technology which makes things even more difficult.

Yes Stuart Preddy has done a huge amount of work and reading Jill's posting above yours I now understand how his info is so complete. I have sent him some corrections - all small things.

You are right I owe him a beer. But think I will wait until Ireland beat New Zealand in the Rugby World Cup!. On second thoughts he might die of thirst!

With regard to the website you are right the guy who put it together for me used the facility of my broadband account to host it. However, I have put the site on my Geni Page without any trouble and have made myself a follower of Stuart.

As the man who made my website is on holiday in South Africa for the next three weeks I am not sure how to get around the problem of putting the site on Stuart's page. David spotted the eircom thing when the site started so he may know the answer.  I am more than happy that www.thehongkonglegacy.com it should go on Sturat's page but unlike my page it has no section for Contacts.

Maybe I am just too dumb to see it. Let me know what you would like me to do. Maybe Jill can do it?

Thanks again,