Jokbo of the Gimhae Kim clan

Relationship: Im/migrant
The front cover of the jokbo
The front cover of the jokbo

I am the 73rd generation of the Gimhae Kim clan of Korea. My father, the 72nd generation, has his name in our family’s genealogical record, also known in Korean as jokbo.When my family immigrated to America in 2004, we carried with us a vast array of things, many of which we have lost or thrown away. However, our family jokbo was one of the objects that my father decided to bring with us as we moved halfway around the world. The jokbo is a thin packet of delicate, yellowing paper that my great-grandfather gave to my father. As per tradition, it has been passed down from firstborn son to firstborn son, and while we do not know how old our version is, the original copy with all the branches of our clan lies in our clan’s headquarters near Busan, South Korea. Our jokbo copy, which has been painstakingly hand calligraphed in the traditional Korean called hanja, represents one branch line in the vast and intricate Gimhae Kim Clan family tree. To my dad, it represents his personal identity, his family history, and pride in the rich Korean history. It contains record of the First Father, a number of other famous historical figures that we can claim as our venerated ancestors, and even records the political exile of our very own Robin Hood figure. And all of these names, he refers to as “our grandpa”. To my father, history is not as far as years indicate, and our jokbo represents this vivid past. 

Place(s): Busan, Korea
Year: 2004

– Min Jee Christina Kim

Relationship:  Im/migrant Im/migrant