Where to start?
Eddie Wu is my sifu, and I have first hand information on the Wu family ranking system.
Wu Ch'uan-yu (Quanyuo) is considered the founder of the style. He was the senior disciple of Yang Pan-hou, but learned his t'ai chi originally from Yang Lu-ch'an. In 1870 he was given permission by the Yangs to teach his own students, which he did for the next 30 years. 1870 also saw the birth of his son, Wu Chien-ch'uan (Jianquan). The family story is Ch'uan-yu was granted the surname Wu …Ç by the Imperial family (the Aisin Gioro) for recognition of Ch'uan-yu's military service as a cavalry commander for the elite Palace Battalion of the Imperial guard. The Chinese surname Wu approximates the pronunciation of the first syllable of the family's four-syllable Manchu name. Ch'uan-yu was granted this name very late in his life, circa 1900, so for most of his career and to most of his students and peers he was known without the surname.
Wu Chien-ch'uan grew up with Yang Shao-hou and Yang Ch'eng-fu as childhood friends and became a teacher in his turn, eventually joining the faculty of the Beijing Physical Culture Research institute with them and Sun Lu-t'ang, the first school to ever offer t'ai chi instruction to the general public. In the late 1920s, WCC and YCF moved to Shanghai. There, WCC founded the "Chien-ch'uan T'ai Chi Ch'uan Association" (èaÈªÌ«˜OÈÉç) in 1935.
So, while Wu Ch'uan-yu is considered the founder of the family teaching, Wu Chien-ch'uan is considered the founder of the family "business." The family says that they are "co-founders."
The "gatekeepers" of their lineage have been as follows:
Wu Ch'uan-yu (…ÇÈ«ÓÓ, 1834-1902), who learned from Yang Lu-ch'an and Yang Pan-hou, was senior instructor of the family from 1870-1902.
His oldest son, Wu Chien-ch'uan (…ÇèaÈª, 1870-1942), was senior from 1902-1942.
His oldest son, Wu Kung-i (…Ç¹«ƒx, 1900-1970) was senior from 1942-1970.
Wu Kung-i's younger brother, Wu Kung-tsao (…Ç¹«Ôå, 1903-1983), was senior from 1970-1983.
Wu Kung-i's younger sister, Wu Ying-hua (…ÇÓ¢ÈA, 1907-1997), was senior from 1983-1997.
Wu Kung-i's daughter, Wu Yan-hsia (…ÇÑãÏ¼, 1930-2001) was senior from 1997-2001.
Wu Kung-tsao's son, Wu Ta-hsin (…Ç´óÐÂ, 1933-2005), was senior from 2001-2005.
The current senior instructor of the Wu family is Wu Ta-kuei's son Wu Kuang-yu (Eddie, …Ç¹âÓî, born 1946).
For more info please look at:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wu_style_T%27ai_Chi_Ch%27uanhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wu_Chien-ch%27uan
As for the pinyin/Wade-Giles issue, the HK school very rarely uses either. Their spellings are an idiosyncratic mix of diacritic-less Wade-Giles mandarin and "by ear" Cantonese pronunciations. So, Sifu Eddie Wu's name is spelled Wu Guangyu in pinyin and Wu Kuang-yu in W-G, he spells it Wu Kwong-yu for school business and Ng Kwong-yu for personal business. The Shanghai schools (run by Sifu Eddie's uncles, the sons of Ma Yueh-liang and Wu Ying-hua, all of whom he introduced me to when I visited the Shanghai school in 1994) use pinyin. It's all very confusing unless you speak Chinese a little.
[This message has been edited by Polaris (edited 05-25-2005).]