Jíguàn 籍貫 ("hometown", "family's home of record"), also called Zǔjí 祖籍 ("ancestral home") or Lǎojiā 老家 ("native home"), is the place of birth of one's father, grandfather or beyond.
For example, the Lady Bian 卞 was born in Baiting 白亭 in the commandery of Qi 齊, Qing Province 靑, but her jiguan is Langye commandery 琅琊 in Xu Province 徐.
Jiguan is a term used frequently when Chinese meet for a first time. They would ask something like "What's your jiguan?". The reason for this is because in China they speak a lot of different dialects. By asking where your family (who taught you how to speak) grew up one can know if they speak the same, or a similar dialect.
The order of telling one's jiguan is usually: 1) Province, 2) commandery, 3) county/district, 4) town.
Mention of homes of record in historical sources
The homes of people of Later Han, Three Kingdoms and Western Jin are usually mentioned in the first line of one's biography. Some examples are below.
- The biography of Cao Cao in Records of the Three Kingdoms starts with:
“Taizu Emperor Wu, Pei state, Qiao people.”
- The biography of Liu Bei in Records of the Three Kingdoms starts with:
“Former Lord surnamed Liu, given name Bei, style name Xuande, a man from Zhuo county in Zhuo commandery.”
- The biography of Sun Jian in Records of the Three Kingdoms starts with:
“Sun Jian style name Wentai, a man from Fuchun in Wu commandery.”
- The biography of Yuan Shao in History of the Later Han starts with:
“Yuan Shao style name Benchu, a man from Ruyang in Runan commandery.”
- The biography of Sima Yi in History of Jin starts with:
- this is usually where Gongjin's Campaign Memorials gets it from