New paper on nominative linkage in the CGED-Q in Historical Life Course Studies

Cameron Campbell and Bijia Chen published a paper “Nominative Linkage of Records of Officials in the China Government Employee Dataset-Qing (CGED-Q)” in Historical Life Course Studies. It shares their experience with nominative linkage in the CGED-Q. It is  intended to be useful to others who are engaged in large-scale, automated nominative linkage (disambiguation) of individuals in historical Chinese-language sources.

While the approach that they arrived at after many iterations may be specific to the CGED-Q and its contents, the summary of the challenges will be of broader interest, and the methods should at least be a roadmap for others with related projects. Major issues the paper documents and then addresses include the use of variant orthographies for the same character in different editions or sources, replacement of characters with ones that look similar but are actually completely different, replacement of characters with homophones, inconsistencies in the writing of the names of counties, and changes in boundaries that led the same county to be associated with different provinces in different sources or editions.

The complete tabulations that are the basis of the tables in the paper are also available. These include the frequencies of surnames and given names in the CGED-Q JSL, and the frequencies of discordance across record of the same individual in the recording of surnames, characters in given names, and place of origin. The tabulations can be downloaded at the HKUST and Harvard Dataspaces:

Those not specifically interested in linkage may still be interested in the tabulations of surnames and characters in given names.


Footnote 21 on page 245 states that “Huguang湖廣” refers to “Hunan and Guangdong”. Ma Ziyao has written to point out that “In most cases, however, it has been a legacy term for Hubei and Hunan. The “guang” here originally comes from Guangxi during the Yuan but should not be mistaken for the Qing-era Liangguang兩廣 region to the south of Hunan.” We are grateful to Ma Ziyao for bringing this to our attention.

English language paper introducing the CGED-Q published in the Journal of Chinese History

Our paper providing an introduction in English to the China Government Employee Dataset-Qing (CGED-Q) is now available at the Journal of Chinese History. The paper is lead-authored by Bijia Chen and is based on the second chapter of her PhD dissertation, which she defended in 2019. The paper will appear in the July 2020 issue.

Here is the abstract:

We introduce the China Government Employee Database—Qing (CGED-Q), a new resource for the quantitative study of Qing officialdom. The CGED-Q details the backgrounds, characteristics and careers of Qing officials who served between 1760 and 1912, with nearly complete coverage of officials serving after 1830. We draw information on careers from the Roster of Government Personnel (jinshenlu), which in each quarterly edition listed approximately 12,500 regular civil offices and their holders in the central government and the provinces. Information about backgrounds and characteristics comes from such linked sources as lists of exam degree holders. In some years, information on military officials is also available. As of February 2020, the CGED-Q comprises 3,817,219 records, of which 3,354,897 are civil offices and the remainder are military. In this article we review the progress and prospects of the project, introduce the sources, transcription procedures, and constructed variables, and provide examples of results to showcase its potential.

Bijia Chen is now a postdoc at  the Renmin University Institute of Qing History.

For more information about the CGED-Q, please see the CGED-Q project page.


Page 2 – Footnote 1 – line 10 – Zhenan should be Zhinan

Page 3- second line in paragraph after heading ‘Origin, current status, and future plans…’, ‘ongoing of study’ should be ‘ongoing study’

Page 3 – Footnote 6 – line 2 – Lishi Yanjiu should be Qingshi Yanjiu

Page 8 – Footnote 22 – line 1 – Jizhi should be Jiazhi

Page 8 – Footnote 26 – line 1 – Jijie should be Ji


Bijia Chen publishes comment on jinshenlu 縉紳錄 as a source

At the end of 2019, Bijia Chen published an extensive note in the Qing History Journal (清史研究) on the importance of the jinshenlu 縉紳錄 as a source of information on the Qing Civil Service, providing clarification and explanation in response to some possibly misleading points made in a 2018 清史研究 article. The full reference for and link to Bijia’s article are below.

陈必佳 (Bijia Chen). 2019. 再论《缙绅录》记载的准确性及其史料价值 (Re-visiting the Accuracy and the Robustness of the Jinshenlu as an Historical Source), 清史研究  (The Qing History Journal), 2019 (4) 129-133.


PhD student Bijia Chen graduates, begins postdoc at Renmin University Department of History

Bijia Chen successfully defended her PhD dissertation on October 25, 2019. The title of her dissertation is “Origins and Career Patterns of the Qing Government Officials (1850-1912): Evidence from the China Government Employee Dataset-Qing (CGED-Q)”. Cameron Campbell was her primary advisor, James Lee was her co-advisor, and Yongshun Cai, Lawrence Zhang and Matthew Mosca served as examiners. Bijia also earned her MPhil in Social Science at HKUST. For her PhD studies she has been supported by an HKPFS.

In December 2019, Bijia started as a postdoc at the Department of History at Renmin University.

Congratulations Bijia!


Bijia Chen wins “Best Research Award” from HKUST School of Humanities and Social Science

HKPFS PhD student Bijia Chen won the Research Postgraduate Student “Best Research Award” from the HKUST School of Humanities and Social Science. This award is given annually to a MPhil or PhD student on their basis of their research accomplishments. Bijia had two lead-authored papers in 2018, one on ethnic intermarriage in northeast China in the 19th century published in Demographic Research that won an Editor’s Choice award, and another in 清史研究 on Bannermen in the civil service at the end of the Qing. Congratulations to Bijia!


Paper on Banner officials in the Qing civil service 1900-1912 published in 清史研究

Our student Bijia Chen’s lead-authored paper on Banner officials in the Qing civil service between 1900 and 1912 recently appeared in 清史研究 (Studies in Qing History). The paper is titled 清末新政前后旗人与宗室官员的官职变化初探——以《缙绅录》数据库为材料的分析 (The Transition of Banner and Imperial Lineage Officials During the Late Qing Reform Period: Evidence from the Qing Jinshenlu Database) and examines how officials who were Bannermen were affected by the reforms and other changes in the New Government period (新政时期). The paper is available for download here:

The paper makes use of the China Government Employee Database-Qing (CGED-Q) which we are constructing from the 缙绅录 and related materials. More detail about this project is available here.

Paper on interethnic marriage during the Qing designated “Editor’s Choice” by the journal Demographic Research

The paper “Interethnic marriage in Northeast China, 1866-1913” co-authored by current Lee-Campbell group PhD student Bijia Chen, Lee-Campbell group PhD graduate Dong Hao (now an Assistant Professor at Peking University) and Cameron Campbell that was published this year in Demographic Research has been named Editor’s Choice by the journal’s editorial board as one of the best papers published in volume 38. The paper examines patterns of intermarriage between Han and Manchu in a frontier population in northeast China from the mid-19th century to the beginning of the 20th century. It finds that intermarriage between the two groups was not uncommon and also increased over time. The chances of intermarriage depended on village and family context as well as individual socioeconomic and demographic characteristics. The article is available Open Access here:

The complete list of Editor’s Choice papers is available here: