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Ma Family History

Ma Name Meaning

Chinese: Mandarin or Cantonese form of the surname 馬 which means ‘horse’: (i) from the first element of Mafu (馬服) the name of a fief (located in Handan in Hebei province) or an honorific title that was granted to Zhao She a prince of the state of Zhao during the Warring States period (475–221 BC). The name Mafu (馬服) was later acquired as a surname and shortened to Ma (馬). (ii) from the adopted name of Xi-Li Ji'en (習禮吉恩) an official in the Jin dynasty (1115–1234 AD) who changed his original name to Ma Qingxiang (馬慶祥) when he moved from Central Asia to Lintao (in present-day Gansu province). (iii) from the adopted name of Yue Naihe (月乃和) a commander-in-chief in the late Jin dynasty who changed his original name to Ma Zu Chang (馬祖常). (iv) this surname is also borne by Muslims of the Hui ethnic group located mainly in northwestern China. Chinese: Mandarin or Cantonese form of the surname 麻 which denotes a herbaceous plant such as hemp or flax: (i) from the placename Ma (麻) the name of a fief (located in Macheng in Hubei province) that was granted to an official of the state of Chu during the Spring and Autumn period (770–476 BC). (ii) from the first element of the personal name of Ma Ying (麻婴) an official in the state of Qi (located mainly in present-day Shandong province) during the Spring and Autumn period (770–476 BC). Korean: written 마 in Chinese characters 馬 meaning ‘horse’. There are actually two Chinese characters for the surname Ma only one of which is frequent enough to be treated here. Two clans use the character 馬: the Mokch’ŏn clan and the Changhŭng clan. The character is borne by the descendants of Ma Ryŏ (馬 黎) who migrated to Korea from China during the Han Commanderies period (1st century BC) and attended King On Cho when he left Koguryŏ to found the Paekche Kingdom in 18 BC and by the descendants of Ryŏ's brother Ma Shin (馬 信) who stayed behind in Koguryŏ. The Ma family disappears from the historical record after these events but reappears during the reign of the Koryŏ king Chŏngjo (reigned 1776–1800 AD) when a high court official Ma Sun-hŭng (馬 順興) was enfeoffed with Mokch’ŏn County in Ch’ungch’ŏng South Province. Mokch’ŏn became the clan seat of the Ma Family. Another clan seat appeared eleven generations later when Ma Ch’ŏn-mok (馬 天牧) was enfeoffed with Changhŭng County. Compare Mah Burmese: from a form of address for a young woman akin to English ‘miss’ used as part of the female name proper. — Note: Since Burmese do not have hereditary surnames this name was registered as such only after immigration of its bearers to the US. Cambodian: written ម៉ា probably of Chinese origin but unexplained etymology (compare above). It corresponds to the Khmer word borrowed from dialects of southern China (particularly Teochew Hokkien and Hakka) meaning ‘grandmother’. Vietnamese (): from the Chinese surname 馬 see 1 above. It is also found among the Cham people in southern Vietnam.

Source: Dictionary of American Family Names ©2013, Oxford University Press


Similar surnames: Na, Ba, Ha, Sa, Mao, Mo, Mu, Yi, Man, Lu

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Where is the Ma family from?

You can see how Ma families moved over time by selecting different census years. The Ma family name was found in the USA, the UK, Canada, and Scotland between 1841 and 1920. The most Ma families were found in USA in 1920. In 1911 there were 38 Ma families living in British Columbia. This was about 73% of all the recorded Ma's in Canada. British Columbia had the highest population of Ma families in 1911.
Use census records and voter lists to see where families with the Ma surname lived. Within census records, you can often find information like name of household members, ages, birthplaces, residences, and occupations.

What did your Ma ancestors do for a living?

In 1921, Labourer was the top reported job for people in the Canada named Ma. 26% of Ma men worked as a Labourer. .

View Census Data for Ma | Data not to scale

*We display top occupations by gender to maintain their historical accuracy during times when men and women often performed different jobs.

Top Male Occupations In 1921

  • Labourer
    26%
  • Laundryman
    23%
  • Cook
    18%
  • Farmer
    15%
Black & white image of two construction labourers

What Ma family records will you find?

Census Records

There are 87,000 census records available for the last name Ma. Like a window into their day-to-day life, Ma census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

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Passenger Lists

There are 35,000 immigration records available for the last name Ma. Passenger lists are your ticket to knowing when your ancestors arrived in Canada, and how they made the journey - from the ship name to ports of arrival and departure.

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Draft Cards

There are 87,000 military records available for the last name Ma. For the veterans among your Ma ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

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What is the average Ma lifespan?

Between 1953 and 2004, in the United States, Ma life expectancy was at its lowest point in 1974, and highest in 1962. The average life expectancy for Ma in 1953 was 46, and 77 in 2004.

View Social Security Death Index (SSDI) for Ma

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