The Zhou Dynasty Emperor conferred the surname “Lim” or “Lin” in Mandarin to one of his subjects in 1122 BC in Hebei Province, Central China. Over the years, his descendants migrated to various parts of china, especially to the south. Years later, during the Soong Dynasty, a member of the 117th generation of the Lim clan was sent from Fujian (Hokkien) Province to Hainan Island to serve as the governor. The first descendant of the Lims in Hainan Island that settled down in our present village (Ooi Siang Sui) comes out of the 121st generation. I belong to the 136th generation.

Great Great Grandfather became the District Governor of the Lui Chew Peninsular, just north of Hainan Island. He returned to Hainan Island after his term there. Before this, he worked as a school teacher and post master. Most of the Ooi Siang villagers were farmers and were illiterate. They addressed Grandfather as “Kwa Kong” or “Grand Officer” in respect of his position as the district governor.

The name of our village “Ooi Siang” originally meant “the village of the Ooi’s”. Great Great Grandfather changed the written text to mean “Grand or Great Village” – same intonation but different text meaning. The village was founded by Ooi’s but they had been overwhelmed by the Lim’s. Other settlers in the village carried various other surnames that included “Han”, “Foo”, “Tan”, and “Goh”.

What's your family history?

Leon Lim