Although there are thousands of Chinese family names, the 100 most common surnames, which together make up less than 5 percent of those in existence, are shared by 85 percent of the population. Bǎi jiā xìng (百家姓) is also used to call the list of one hundred most common surnames. Since the peasant population was so large, these are some of the most common Chinese surnames. "hundred surnames") are used in Chinese to mean "ordinary folks," "the people," or "commoners." Manchurian or Mongolian), and are becoming exceedingly rare to find, but are still in use today. The best example is Hu (胡), which originally referred to all "barbarian" groups on the northern frontier of China. Unlike European practice in which some surnames are obviously noble, Chinese emperors and members of the royal family had regular surnames except in cases where they came from non-Han ethnic groups. Surname identity and solidarity has declined markedly since the 1930s with the decline of Confucianism and later, the rise of Communism in Mainland China. Traditionally, Chinese surnames precede a person's given name. The structure of the xing sinogram could reflect the fact that in the royal court of Zhou, at least in the beginning, only females (wives married into the Zhou family from other clans) were called by their birth clan name, while the men were usually designated by their title or fief. Credit is due under the terms of this license that can reference both the New World Encyclopedia contributors and the selfless volunteer contributors of the Wikimedia Foundation. Leslie Cheung Kwok Wing. For more parenting tips and tricks, find us on Pinterest: Are you a writer, expert, or influencer? A large number of these were collected by Ouyang Xiu in his New History of Tang. They played important roles in the Chinese diaspora in Southeast Asia and elsewhere, providing an infrastructure for the establishment of trading networks. CHOW f & m Chinese The Chow surname is a Chinese surname for people from the Chou Dynasty, its main lineage. In the south, Chen (陈/陳) is the most common, being shared by 10.6 percent of the population. In writing Chinese names, Chinese family names are placed before given names, for example, Cheung Kwok Wing. During this period a large number of genealogical records called pudie (Simplified Chinese: 谱牒; Traditional Chinese: 譜牒; pinyin: pǔdié) were compiled to trace the complex descent lines of clans and their marriage ties to other clans. Chinese women typically retain their maiden names after marriage. There are also people who use non-standard Romanizations; for example, the Hong Kong media mogul 邵逸夫 Run Run Shaw's surname 邵 is spelled as Shaw, pinyin: Shao. Surnames were derived from the names of ancestors, places of origin, occupation, and titles bestowed by emperors. An example is Di, Marquis of Ouyangting, whose descendants took the surname Ouyang. Around the major crossing points of the Yangtze River, the most common surname is Li (李), accounting for 7.7 percent of the population, followed by Wang (王), Zhang (张/張), Chen (陈/陳) and Liu (刘/劉). During the Song Dynasty, ordinary clans began to organize themselves into corporate units and produce genealogies. The influx of Western culture and forces of globalization have contributed to erode the previous sociological uses of the Chinese surname. Only a few of these names (e.g. In writing Chinese, the surname precedes the first name. A Chinese family name is one of the thousands of family names that have been historically used by Han Chinese and Sinicized Chinese ethnic groups in mainland China, Taiwan, and among overseas Chinese communities. The Most Popular Chinese Last Names on FamilyEducation: Jin, Lee, Min, 75 Badass Girl Names for Your Little Rebel, The Best Sweet 16 Gifts for Girls in 2020, How to Have a Minimalist Christmas with Kids. Other Chinese characters can form this name as well. Common examples include Song (宋), Wu (吴/吳), Chen (陈/陳), and Tan (譚/谭). This was a result of Chinese imperial theory according to which a commoner could receive the Mandate of Heaven and become emperor. Outside of Mainland China they will sometimes place their husbands' family names in front of theirs. A study by geneticist Yuan Yida has found that of all the people with a particular surname, there tends to be a population concentration in a certain province, as tabled to the right. Traditionally, Chinese surnames precede a person's given name. A nobleman would hold a shi and a xing surname indicating his ancestor and his sub-lineage. Other transliterations, used before the formalization and popularization of existing Romanizations, are still used by some overseas Chinese. 司马), Zhuge (諸葛, simp. (listed alphabetically by their Mandarin pinyin spellings), The Ten-Thousand Families of Surnames from Netor (NETOR纪念:万家姓氏) (in simplified Chinese only), https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Chinese_compound_surname&oldid=985597350, Articles containing Chinese-language text, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, "Dukes' descendants", an address of the noble descendants in the, Intermarriage between Lu and Fei (Bi) clans, "Grand Historian", an imperial official title, "famous person", descendants of Shaozheng Mao (少正卯), "West Gate", place of residence, from Marquessate of Zheng in the, The (personal) name of the Yellow Emperor, This page was last edited on 26 October 2020, at 20:53. Most commonly occurring Chinese family names have only one character; however, about 20 double-character family names have survived into modern times. In China, you will run into the same surnames again and again, so it helps to become familiar with the most common ones. Get in touch! Many early last names contain the character for woman. The next 15 common surnames, which together account for about 10 percent of Chinese people in the world: Fang/Fong 方, Cui 崔, Cheng 程、Pan 潘, Cao 曹, Feng 馮/冯, Wang 汪, Cai 蔡, Yuan 袁, Lu 盧/卢, Tang 唐, Qian 錢/钱, Du 杜, Peng 彭, Lu 陸/陆. The younger generation from Singapore predominantly have their surnames in dialect and names in pinyin. The largest Chinese diaspora community in the world are the Chinese Thais (or Sino-Thais), who make up 12–14% of the total Thai population. The Western concept of first name and last name creates confusion when used with Chinese names. As a result of the importance of surnames, rules and traditions regarding family and marriage grew increasingly complex. According to the story, the founder of the clan was adopted and took the surname Liao, but in honor of his ancestors, he demanded that he be buried with the surname Chen. Together they account for close to 300 million people and are easily the most common surnames in the world. To cite this article click here for a list of acceptable citing formats.The history of earlier contributions by wikipedians is accessible to researchers here: The history of this article since it was imported to New World Encyclopedia: Note: Some restrictions may apply to use of individual images which are separately licensed. Chinese last names are typically passed down from father to children, although they may not have started that way. However the second round in 1977, which has long been abolished, merged 萧 and 肖 into 肖. Most Hong Kong women retain their own surnames after marriage, but they may choose to be known as Mrs. (husband's surname). "old hundred surnames"), and bǎi xìng (百姓, lit. The three most common surnames in Mainland China, Li, Wang and Zhang account for almost 300 million people and are easily the most common surnames in the world. In some places, there are additional taboos against marriage between people of the same surname because they are considered to be closely related. Bǎi jiā xìng (百家姓) is also used to call the list of one hundred most common surnames. Of the thousands of surnames which have been identified from historical texts prior to the Han Dynasty, most have either been lost or simplified. eval(ez_write_tag([[728,90],'newworldencyclopedia_org-large-mobile-banner-1','ezslot_3',167,'0','0'])); Throughout most of Chinese history, surnames have served sociological functions. The "female" radical seems to appear during the Zhou period next to Shang sinograms indicating an ethnic group or a tribe. Chinese women typically retain their maiden names after marriage. Sometimes titles granted to ancestors were also taken as surnames. ), only the royal family and the aristocratic elite in China used surnames. Seniority within the family: In ancient usage, the characters of, Occupation: These could arise from official positions, such as Sima (司马/司馬), originally "Minister of War; or from more lowly occupations, such as Tao (陶), meaning "potter" or Wu (巫), meaning "shaman.". In a different study (1987), which combined data from Taiwan and mainland China (sample size of 570,000 persons), the top 19 names covered 55.6 percent, and the top 100 names covered 87 percent of the sample. As with the concentration of family names in a specific province, this can be explained statistically, by a person with an uncommon name moving to an unsettled area and leaving his family name to large number of people. Chinese family names are patrilineal, passed from father to children. As a result, his descendants use the surname Liao while alive and the surname Chen after death. "old hundred surnames"), and bǎi xìng (百姓, lit. Some are originally from non-Chinese tribes that lived in ancient China, while others were created by joining two one-character family names.

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