Family archives can sometimes enrich state archive resources with even some rare ones filling in the gaps, said a senior official with the State Archives Administration of China.
Rare photos of Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping found in the family archive of a Shenyang household were claimed to never have been seen by the public. These photos were taken by one of the family's late members who had once served as bodyguard for the two late Chinese leaders, according to the family.
For one man, Zhang, a retiree of Shenyang's Peking Opera Theater, looking over salary records kept by his family over the last half century is a pleasurable pastime.
Zhang noticed how his monthly salary increased significantly during the past decades, from 25 yuan (US$3) in 1961 to 103 yuan in 1987 and finally to 1,000 yuan in 1998, the year he retired.
The records are part of the financial archives of Zhang's family.
Like Zhang, 11,136 families in Shenyang, capital of Liaoning Province, began building family archives in 2002, with aid and guidance from local governments.
In Wuhan, capital of Hubei Province, a middle-aged couple has been collecting "growing-up" records for their son, who loves practicing calligraphy and has won some awards.
From the works, certificates and photos in his archive, the couple said, their son could retrace all the steps of his life when he grows up.
(Eastday.com March 1, 2003)