In most Chinese families in China, there was a “Family Generation Poem” for each family. It was used for tracking the generations of a family. It works this way: every generation uses one word of the poem as part of their name, and the next generation uses the next word in the poem. There would be no problem in identifying where you belong in the family tree. I copied my “Family Generation Poem” on the last page of our Wedding Album. See picture below:
I am the sixteenth generation in this poem, so my siblings use the second word of the third line in the poem as the middle part of our names. I am Dao-xing; Dean is Dao-jian; Ed Dao-kang; and Christina, Dao-kai. Yes, you are right we all have the word Dao as our middle word in the names. That is the generation word. (Here Dao means "Way" and is the same term found in Taoism.) The next generation should use “Hong” and our grandchildren’s generation is in the “Wen” generation. Yes, the poem has its own meaning, but the purpose is much simpler. Nowadays, few families use this tradition, which only represents a burdensome habit!
The following is a word-by-word translation, so that you can get a rough taste of the generation poem. There are four sentences (separated by commas below) with seven words each. Remember that each word in Chinese is used as a NOUN in a name, no matter whether the English is a verb or an adjective. Also, each word has several subtle meanings to a Chinese reader. I have selected only one.
“BEGIN BIRTH EARTH FIRE SELF MUST FLOURISH, BRIGHT TALENT GLORY SPREAD ALWAYS ACCOMPLISH TRACK, BIG WAY BROAD WRITINGS SHINE TRADITION VIRTUE, ACCIEHVEMENT FAME TEN-THOUSAND GENERATIONS CELEBRATE FAMILY GROUP”