This essay introduces a major new database, based on the Jinshenlu, for the study of Chinese officialdom and Chinese society during the last imperial dynasty, the Qing, who ruled from 1644 to 1911. For almost two centuries, the Qing government and private publishers published a Jinshenlu every three months with the names and particulars of all civil, and sometimes military，officials. We are transcribing 400 of these quarterly editions dating from 1661 to 1917 into a database，beginning with 206 containing approximately 2 800 000 records of
400 000 officials republished by the Tsinghua University Library as the《清代缙绅录集成》.
Based on our initial transcription of 652 984 records of 145 770 officials from 47 editions, we demonstrate the potential of these data for the study of official careers. We contrast bannermen, who had their own appointment system，with civil officials who passed the civil service examinations ,and other officials who purchased their appointments. Moreover, we demonstrate that these Jinshenlu records can be linked to records in other systematic sources on the Qing imperial lineage, on examination degree holders , and on office purchasers. The resulting
combined data provide an important opportunity to understand Qing political and social elites.