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In search of Dean Lung, a Chinese person

By Zhao Xu in New York | China Daily | Updated: 2020-08-01 13:40

The building would later be destroyed by fire; Carpentier's house in Galway last year.[Photo by Li Bing/China Daily]

"In the 19th century it was very common for men from the same village to share one ancestor and thus one surname," Chen Xiaoping says. If Mah Jim's family name is Mah, then there is a possibility that Dean Lung is also surnamed Mah."

Or Mar, since both are among a number of English variants for a particular Chinese character written in pinyin as ma.

According to paperwork, Dean Lung left New York on June 27, 1905. The last reference to him that Anderer has found is in a letter written by Columbia University president Nicholas Murray Bulter, Low's successor, to Carpentier on December 27, 1906.

"Thank you for letting us know that Dean Lung and Mah Jim are now in China.." Bulter wrote. While Mah Jim latter appeared in the 1910 US Federal Census and the 1915 New York State Census, Dean Lung disappears from US official documents after this.

Many believed him dead, including Bronson Taylor, a life-long resident of Galway who had occasion to speak with Carpentier. In his book Stories and Pictures of Galway, the author says unequivocally that "Dean Lung is buried in the Carpentier lot in Barkersville Cemetery".

Anderer, for her part, has been convinced by ample evidence to reject that view. There is no death record of Dean Lung in Galway or the rest of New York state.

"I know that is not true (that Dean Lung died in the US) because he is my great-grandfather," wrote Karen Ma in an article titled From Zero to Hero in which she traces the passing-down from one generation to another of a much-treasured family story.

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