Kyu-Man Jung’s Family, ca. 1940
There are many cousins, nieces, and nephews of mine who live outside Korea and they often wonder about their family roots. I thought that there should at least be one family historian who would keep the stories in one place so that a cohesive body of family history can be maintained. I decided to take up the responsibility.
What is interesting about a family history is that sometimes the information from different sources do not match. I can only do my best to collect stories from my relatives and accept those information as is. Of course, those stories can be revised when more reliable sources surface over time.
This is going to be a long story and I would be writing in small increments over some period of time. Many of the stories are based on the recorded note provided by my uncle Jae who now lives in Los Angeles.
Great Great Grandfathers
According to a record, the name of my great great grandfather was Hwa-Young Jung (정화영 鄭和永) (Another record says that his name was Soo-Sung Jung (정수성, 鄭秀性). It could be that in the old days people used two names. Or, it could be a mistake. I need to find out.) My great great grandmother’s name was Won-Tae Eun (은원태 殷遠泰).
Based on what few records I have, they had at least three sons. One of them was In-Back Jung (정인백 鄭寅伯, married to Hyun-Rye Kim 김현례 金顯禮) and another was In-Key (정인기 鄭寅耆, married to Shin-Seok Han, 한신석 韓信錫). The record tells that In-Key was the third-born.
Two Great Grandfathers
There was no son between In-Back and his wife. In the old Korean tradition, when the elder son of a family does not have a boy, then it was required of the younger brother to give up his boy to the elder brother so that the family lineage can be maintained. Because of this situation, the son of the younger brother In-Key was adopted by the elder brother In-Baek. Some years later when In-Back passed away, the son was adopted back to his biological father. The son who was adopted back and forth was my grandfather. Thus, technically, I have two great grandfathers. I would call one the “elder” great grandfather and the other one “true” great grandfather. Somewhat complicated situation but that was how it was back then.
An important thing happens to my “elder” great grandfather In-Back at around 1894 when he moved way up north to Seoul (which was called by the name of Han-Yang
then) from his hometown of Kumi (which is located in southeastern part of Korean peninsula). It is rumored that he had to move to Seoul because he was in some way involved in a civil revolt
that took place then and that he had to flee the police. Whatever the reason, he was in his 20s and, in Seoul, he met Horace Grant Underwood
, a Christian missionary who came to Korea from US in 1885. Under the teachings of Rev. Underwood, he became a Christian.
Several years later, he came back to his hometown Kumi where his family and relatives started a small gathering for worship service in 1901. The first members included his brother In-Key and his cousin In-Myung (정인명 鄭寅明). The gathering grew to be a church as more people joined the worship service. The church continued to grow for more than 100 years and it exists now as Kumi Sangmo Church
About My “True” Great Grandparents
My great grandfather, In-Key Jung, was born in May 24, 1884. He got married to Shin-Seok Han in September 25, 1904. (Photo left) They had a son and five daughters. Great grandfather passed away on March 26, 1967 at the age of 84.
My Grandfather, Kyu-man Jung
Kyu-man Jung was born on June 11, 1911 to In-Key Jung and Shin-Seok Han. His birth name was Bok-Soo Jung (鄭福壽) He had four sisters and no brother. As said before, he was adopted by his uncle and then adopted back to his biological father. He got married to Young-Sook Kim in 1927 when he was 17 years old. He studied oriental medicine and, in 1943, move to Daegu, a much larger city than Kumi where he grew up. He opened up his own oriental medicine shop there.
My grandparents had eight children. Two of them died early, one of them by disease and another one by a tragic accident which involved serious burn by boiling liquid. (There are two slightly different versions of story about this accident but I guess we can skip the sad details here.)
Photo of My Grandparents, Kyu-Man Jung and Young-Sook Kim
My grandparents were known to many mostly for their faith and obedience to God which involved generous giving and hospitality. Their stories, especially of my grandfather’s, have been widely told and retold within Christian circles for a while in the older days. As it often happens with the folklores, some of those stories about my grandfather seem to be somewhat exaggerated or fabricated so I think I’d better not reproduce them here unless more reliable sources are found. In any event, they lived a life of deep devotion to God. I think that is the most significant thing we remember about them.
My grandfather passed away on June 24, 1969 at the age of 58 due to diabetes.
to be continued