We should start this topic from the father of Confucius, Suk Liang Yut (叔梁紇). As mentioned previously, he had three wives and eleven children, nine girls and two boys. After his death, the family split. One saying was that Yan Jing Joi (颜徵在), the biological mother of Confucius left with her young three years old son, and returned to her hometown Qufu; another saying was that she took the two boys with her. The reason that she left was not clearly defined; the most quoted was that because of the education and the future of her own young son. There might be other reasons too but were not mentioned. It was well known that the first wife of Yut was not a kind person and she was the person who mistreated and caused the death of one of his concubines, mother of Meng Pei ( 孟皮).
Traditionally, the genealogical record would not show name of daughters but name of sons were clearly documented. As far as we know, Confucius had a brother named Meng Pei, one son named Kong Li (孔鯉), one daughter, a nephew named Kong Jung (孔忠) and one niece. (The last four persons were clearly mentioned in the commonly known Analects (論語). His son Li and nephew Jung were recorded either in the Analects or The Biography of Disciples of Jung Nei (仲尼弟子列傳). In fact Jung was recognized as one of the seventy-two eminences. The birth of Li and his dialogues with Confucius were also well documented.)
Jung had no child and his branch was lost; Li had one son, the famous Kong Kap alias Ji Si (孔伋字子思), an outstanding scholar who extended the teaching of his grand father and also the author of the book Jung Yung (中庸). For consecutive seven generations after Confucius, the family had one male child only. Had one of them died early, the Kong family would not be existed today. Only the ninth generation had three children; all nowadays descendants of the Confucius clan are descendants of the second son of this generation. (By the way, the translation of the Confucius family as known to the Western civilization, particularly in the English speaking countries is either as Kong, Kung or Hung due to the non-unified phonetic translation.)
Since the family was recognized as a dignitary for these more than two thousand and five hundred years, the name, title and position held by descendants of Confucius of each generation had a well-kept genealogical record by the government even to the provincial level. In the Shangdong Province Archive (山東省志, 山東省地方史志編纂委員會編緝), one can find detail information of the family in the volume known as the Archive of the Hometown of Confucius (孔子故里志) and by the Confucius Family Genealogical Chart (聖祖至四十二代的記錄) which kept the record of the first forty two generations, i.e. a record of about one thousand five hundred years. Per The Guinness World Record of 2006, （2006年全球之最記錄，健力氏出版）the genealogy of the Confucius family is the longest ever. The wordings in the Guinness book are somewhat like: The lineage of Kung Chiu or Confucius (China 551-479 BC ) can be traced back further than any other family. Kung Chia , the Great grandfather of his Great grandfather is known from the 8th century BC. Kung Chia has 86 lineal descendants.
Per the traceable record as in the Archive of the Hometown of Confucius (孔子故里志), Ji Si, the scholar and grandson of Confucius was the most glorious descendant for six generations. Kong Him (孔謙) the eighth generation descendant was ordained as Man Shun Gwan (文信君) by the King of Ngai (魏王) and also functioned as the prime minister. The First Emperor of the Chin Dynasty (秦始皇) intended to honor Kong Fu (孔鮒) the ninth generation, as the Man Tong Gwan (文通君). Fu retreated as a hermit in the Sung Mountain (嵩山) and as a teacher to show his resentment. Hon Go Jo (漢高祖) , the first emperor of the Hon Dynasty (漢朝), ordained Kong Chung (孔藂),the10th generation descendant as Marquis of Liu (蓼侯), and Kong Tang (孔騰) the ninth generation as Fung Ji Gwan (奉祀君) with the special duty as the Chief Offering Officer to Confucius for the Emperor. Since that time on, for sixty-nine generations, the first-born son of the main branch inherited the title from the rank of marquis to the duke（e.g. Duke of Yin Sing衍聖公 for the past eight hundred years）until the end of the Ching Dynasty (清朝). The 77th generation descendant of the main branch who inherited the tile as the duke is still living in Taiwan. Recently with the birth of his great grandson at the beginning of 2006, the eightieth generation is added to the family.
From the War Period (戰國) to the beginning of Eastern Hon Dynasty (東漢 ), descendants were mostly living in Qufu of Shangdong province. Per the Archive of the Hometown of Confucius there were only twenty families of descendants living in Qufu. During the visit of Emperor Jeung of the Hon Dynasty (漢章帝), there were only sixty-three members in Qufu. During the late Tong Dynasty (唐朝), there were only ten families of descendants living in there. The reduction was due to massive emigrations. At the end of the Eastern Hon Dynasty, Kong Yin (孔衍), the twenty-second generation migrated to Wooi Kai (會稽now is known as Siu Hing of Zhejiang province今浙江紹興). This branch is known as Chi Kai Paai or Branch (慈溪派). During the Tong Dynasty, Kong Yin (孔賢) of the thirty-five generation moved to Ning Ling of Henan province (河南寧陵), forming the Ning Ling Branch (寧陵派). Kong LaapYan (孔立言) also of the thirty-five generation migrated to Hin County of Hebei province (河北獻縣) named as Hin County Branch (獻縣派). Kong Ji (孔至) of the thirty-sixth generation escaped to Lo San of Henan (河南魯山) and formed the Lo San Branch (魯山派). Kong Wai Si (孔惟時) of the thirty-eighth generation became the creator of the Hap County Branch of Henan province (河南郟縣派) and Kong Ying (孔瑛) of the same generation started the Lau Yang Branch of Hunan province (湖南瀏陽派). Kong Wan Hin (孔溫憲) of the thirty-ninth generation formed the Gwai Dong Branch in Hunan province (湖南桂東派). Kong Sun (孔絢)of the fortieth generation formed the Dan Yang Branch in Jiangsu province (江蘇丹陽派) and Kong Jik (孔績) of the same generation formed the Lam Gong Branch in Jiangxi province (江西臨江派). Kong Cheong Mok (孔昌弼) of the forty-first generation formed the Ling Nan Branch in Guangdong province (廣東嶺南派) while Kong Dan (孔禾丹 ) of the forty-second generation formed the Lo Gong Branch in Anhui province (安徽廬江派) . Kong Kui (孔檜 ) of the same generation formed the PingYang branch in Shangdong province（山東平陽派）. The reasons to move were either due to governmental appointments, or to avoid wars. After the migration, descendants stayed there forever forming a new branch or known as paai (派) in Chinese. Kong Gong Ji (孔光嗣) of the forty-second generation was murdered by his slave Kong Moo (孔末) due to the chaotic society during the end of the Tong Dynasty also known as Five Dynasties (五代). Kong Yan Yuk (孔仁玉), son of Gong Ji reclaimed the title later. Yan Yuk is now known as the Jung Hing Jo (Resurrect Ancestor 中興祖 ) . The above-mentioned groups are known as descendents of the Northern Division (北宗).
Based on the publication from The Committee of The Arch Shrine of the Southern Division of the Confucius Family in Kui Jau, (衢州孔氏南宗家廟管委會), Kung Duen Yau, the forty eighth Duke of Yan Sing (衍聖公孔端友) observed the decree from Emperor Go Jung of the Sung Dynasty (宋高宗) to the south. He built the arch-shrine in Kui Jau of Zhejiang province (浙江衢州) per the decree. Kui Jau became the hometown of the main branch, while the arch-shrine in Qufu 曲阜was in the trust to other family members still living there. Per the judgment of Emperor Sai Jo of the Yuen dynasty (元世祖) , those who lived in Kui Jau were the main branch. He decreed Kong Jue (孔洙) to return to Qufu to reclaim his title. Jue responded that he could not return because his immediate ancestors were buried in Kui Jau as an excuse. He would like to let those in Qufu to inherit the duke title. Since then the genuine main branch was known as the Southern Division. Recently the Northern and Southern Divisions are united as one.
Nowadays descendants of the Confucius family are widely spread all over China including Anhui, Fujiang, Gansu, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hainan, Hebei, Heilongjiang, Henan, Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Jilin, Liaoning, Qinghai, Shaanxi, Shangdong, Shangxi, Sichuan, Taiwan, Yunnan and Zhejiang provinces. By the end of the twentieth century, one can find descendants of Confucius family all over the world including Japan, Southern Korea, Northern Korea, Singapore, Myanmar (formerly known as Burma), Indonesia, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Australia, England, Russia, Switzerland, Canada and USA.
There is always one question asked. How do one know who is the genuine descendant? As mentioned above, the Confucius family has an excellent genealogical record book in Qufu. As shown above we can tell accurately the name, the generation and the location where a descendant migrated. One can always find a local branch record book logged the name of ancestors as well as the newborn babies. If one cannot provide the names of the previous three or four generations correctly, that person would be questionable. We also have a special naming system decreed from emperors. Descendants of every generation from all branches observed the naming system called “Heng Bei”or 行輩 in Chinese. Names from the 58th to 65th generations started from a decree from the second emperor of the Ming Dynasty; the next ten names, i.e. 66th –75th generations, were from the sixteenth emperor of Ming Dynasty. While the 76th to 85th names were from the seventh emperor of the Ching Dynasty (清朝). While the last twenty names i.e. from 86-105 generations, were approved by the government at the Republic time. From the name list, we can identify the generation sequence of an individual in the family. The following list is the official middle names that a genuine descendant must be used. The list is in the order of generation sequence first, then the name in Chinese and the name in pinyin. 56希 Xi, 57言 Yan, 58公 Gong, 59彦 Yan, 60承 Cheng, 61宏 Hong, 62闻 Wen, 63贞 Zhen, 64尚 Sheng, 65衍 Yan, 66兴 Xing, 67毓 Yu, 68传 Chuan, 69继 Ji, 70广 Guang, 71昭 Zhao, 72宪 Xian, 73庆 Qing, 74繁 Fan, 75祥 Xiang, 76令 Ling, 77德 De, 78维 Wei, 79垂 Chui, 80佑 You, 81钦 Qin, 82绍 Shao, 83念 Nian, 84显 Xian,85扬 Yang, 86建 Jian, 87道 Dao, 88敦 Dun, 89安 An, 90定 Ding, 91懋 Mao, 92修 Xiu, 93肈 Zhao, 94彝 Yi, 95常 Chang, 96裕 Yu, 97文 Wen, 98焕 Huan, 99景 Jing, 100瑞 Rui, 101永 Yong, 102锡 Xi, 103世 Shi, 104绪 Xu, 105昌 Chang.