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About the Database

The database:

Northeast China Non-Han Name Lexicon (NCNHHL)

Welcome to Version 1_0221 of our database (with subsequent versions in development)!

We have compiled names for individuals:

  •  who self-identified or could be identified by contemporaneous and/or present-day criteria as non-Han (not belonging to the Han ethnic group) people from the fifteenth century to the present

  •  who were located in the area historically and also now known as Northeast China (including Heilongjiang, Liaoning, and Jilin provinces, as well as the eastern regions of Inner Mongolia)

The collected data includes:

  • communal names (tribes, ethnic groups) and names for individuals (as forenames, given names, mononyms)

  • information about gender (masculine, feminine, or used by both males and females), affiliation with political and social units (such as banner and company for members of the Eight Banners military system)

  • sources of the records for the names

Most of our data come from a wide variety of records of the regional and local history of Northeast China from the seventeenth century to the present as well as texts that were produced by the Qing imperial center. We have also acquired and included data from relevant scholarship published in the twentieth and present centuries.

Our database is a resource that will be helpful to users who are interested in:

  • learning more about the diversity of names (collective and individual) in Northeast China

  • converting a name transcribed in Chinese characters into the language of origin (such as Mu-ke-deng-e 穆克登額 --> Mukdengge)

  • finding a name pertaining to a particular cultural heritage or sociolinguistic group


Our database is purposefully a work in progress. We expect that the database will continue to grow as more sources of names and more contributions by users are included.

We appreciate your interest and exploration of this database! Please read the user guidelines to learn more about the kinds of information you can discover.

The Name Lexicon Data Curation Team



  • The data is expanding. More names and search functions will be available soon.

  • The data is primarily available in traditional Chinese and will be fully available in Chinese-English bilingual format at a later stage.

  • Mongolian elements of the data and Mongolian input for search will be developed in a future version of the database.

  • The inclusion of Hanyu Pinyin is for the purpose of easy search and display only.

The project:

Weaving Onomastic Tapestries: Corpus-Building and Analysis of Non-Chinese Names in Northeastern China, 1368–1948



Funding Period: January 2018 to March 2021

General Research Fund (Grant No.17601317) by the Hong Kong Research Grants Council

The project aims to deepen the scholarly understanding of the social and cultural diversity of Northeast China from 1368 to 1948 BCE through the onomastic study of non-Han Chinese names. “Northeast China” is defined by political and cultural parameters. It includes present-day eastern Inner Mongolia and the provinces of Heilongjiang, Jilin, and Liaoning and other areas that now belong to other administrative units, including the Russian Federation. The research focuses specifically on the names of non-Han Chinese persons because their names have been less studied and systematically analyzed than those of Han Chinese individuals. The work addresses two major research questions by compiling a critical mass of data and generating reference material for scholars working in various disciplines. These questions are 1) How did Qing imperial rule influence how the personal and communal (tribe, clan) names of the non-Han populations of Northeast China were recorded? 2) Can those names be attributed to particular populations or did people of different social and cultural groups use them in the same or similar forms?


The research to address those questions was conducted in three steps.

1) The first step was to compile as many non-Han Chinese names as possible during the period under study. The beginning and endpoints of the period were chosen to allow comparison between pre-Qing and Qing data. The study starts before the Qing dynasty to establish the context prior to the political rise of the Manchus and subsequent founding of the Latter Jin and Qing states. The endpoint reflects the fact that throughout the Republican period (1911—1949), non-Han Chinese groups both retained the social organization of the Qing and used their native languages as their primary or sole language.  

2) The second step was to analyze the aggregate data by discerning how names were utilized within society and among such sub-groups as clans and families. Because the data includes both names in their original form and transcribed into Chinese characters, it was examined to discern how names were transcribed over time and what characters were used to represent particular sounds.

3) The third step was to organize and make the data available both online and in print to the public and to give presentations at academic meetings ranging from international gatherings of scholars such as the Association for Asian Studies and specialized conferences for data curation, Qing history, and regional studies of Northeast China.


The project’s long-term impact is most obvious in the future use of the resulting dataset by scholars worldwide studying Northeast China and, more broadly, Chinese history. It sets a new standard in the citation of names by educating scholars who are not formally trained in the region’s languages to refer to individuals accurately and to learn more about their socio-cultural origins. The project also is part of a greater, long-term endeavor to aggregate and curate data on names in other parts of China during the Qing era, including the southwest and northwest regions of the country.

See more about the project through e-Onomastics.

Meet Dr Loretta Kim, an interview with the MSG: her experience and projects as a historian and Manjurist. "MEET A MEMBER: LORETTA KIM"

Go to our Non-Han Name Lexicon and start your search.

About the Project
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