History of your Surname
Get access to Shi family records.Start a free trial

Shi Family History

Shi Name Meaning

Chinese:: Mandarin form of the surname 石 meaning ‘stone’ in Chinese: (i) from the first element of the personal name Shi Que (石碏) a highly esteemed official in the state of Wey during the Spring and Autumn period (770–476 BC). (ii) from one of the 'Nine Sogdian Surnames’ also known as ‘nine surnames of Zhaowu’ because their ancestors came from Zhaowu an ancient city in present-day Gansu province in northwestern China. During the Sui and Tang dynasties (581–987 AD) there were nine Sogdian states in Central Asia one of which was called Shi (石) in Chinese. Between 649 and 655 AD these states submitted to Emperor Gaozong of Tang (628 - 683 AD). The natives and their descendants from the state of Shi (石) in China acquired the surname Shi (石). (iii) from the second element of the personal name Zi Shi (子石) style name of a prince of the state of Zheng and another prince of the state of Song during the Spring and Autumn period (770–476 BC). (iv) from the second element of the personal name Bo Shi (伯石) style name of an official in the state of Jin during the Spring and Autumn period (770–476 BC). (v) adopted as a surname by the Wu Shi Lan (烏石蘭) family from the Xianbei ethnic group in northern China during the Northern Wei dynasty (386–534 AD). (vi) adopted in place of several other surnames including Zhang (張) Ran (冉) and Lou (婁). Mandarin form of the surname 史 meaning ‘history’ or ‘official historiographer’ in Chinese: (i) said to be borne by descendants of Cang Jie the official historiographer during the reign of the legendary Huang Di the ‘Yellow Emperor’ (c. 27th century BC). Cang Jie is said to have been the inventor of Chinese characters. (ii) from Shi (史) post name of an official in charge of recording historical events during the Western Zhou dynasty (1046–771 BC). The surname was subsequently adopted as a surname by descendants of official historiographers in many states during the Spring and Autumn period (770–476 BC). (iii) from one of the 'Nine Sogdian Surnames’ also known as ‘nine surnames of Zhaowu’ because their ancestors came from Zhaowu an ancient city in present-day Gansu province in northwestern China. During the Sui and Tang dynasties (581–987 AD) there were nine Sogdian states in Central Asia one of which was called Shi (史) in Chinese. Between 649 and 655 AD these states submitted to Emperor Gaozong of Tang (628 - 683 AD). (iv) adopted as a surname by the A Shi Na (阿史那) family members of a Turkic tribe during the Tang dynasty (618–907 AD). (v) borne by descendants of Shi Ji Xian(史繼先) who was endowed with the surname Shi (史) by Emperor Suzong of Tang (reigned 756–762 AD). Mandarin form of the surname 施 meaning ‘give grant’ or ‘execute’ in Chinese: (i) from Shi (施) the name of an ancient state (probably located in Shandong or Hubei province) which existed during the Xia dynasty (2070–1600 BC). (ii) borne by the descendants of the Shang dynasty (1600–1046 BC). The Shi family was one of the seven clans of the Shang dynasty that were sent to the state of Wey after the annihilation of the Shang dynasty. (iii) from the first element of the personal name Shi Fu (施父) style name of Wei son of the Duke Hui of Lu (ruler of the state of Lu reigned 768–723 BC) Shi Fu was said to be good at music and later became a talented official in the state of Lu. Mandarin form of the surname 師 meaning ‘teacher musician’ or ‘leaders’ in ancient Chinese: (i) from Shi (師) the ancient appellation of official musicians whose descendants acquired Shi (師) as their surname. (ii) from the first element of the post name Shi Yin (師尹) an official post during the Western Zhou dynasty (1046–771 BC). (iii) adopted in place of the surname 尹 by Shi An Shi (師安石) an official who lived during the Jin dynasty (1115–1234 AD). Mandarin form of the surname 時 meaning ‘time hour’ in Chinese: (i) from the placename Shi (時) the name of a fief (probably located in present-day Henan province) granted to Lai an official in the state of Song during the Spring and Autumn period (770–476 BC) a descendant of one of the royal families of the Shang dynasty (1600–1046 BC). (ii) from Shi (時) the name of an ancient state (located in Shandong province) which was annexed by the state of Chu. (iii) from the personal name Shi (時) style name of Shen Shu Shi (申叔時) an official who lived in the state of Chu at some time during the Spring and Autumn period (770–476 BC). Mandarin form of the surname 釋 a simplified Chinese form referring to Siddhartha Gautama or Gautama Buddha the founder of Buddhism. This surname is mainly borne by the people who were introduced to or converted to Buddhism.7: Mandarin form of the surname 侍 meaning ‘serve’ in Chinese: (i) from part of the official post names Shi Zhong (侍中) and Chang Shi (常侍) official posts in charge of providing service for the emperors during the Han dynasty (206 BC–220 AD). (ii) shortened form of the Chinese compound surname Shi-Qi (侍其).8: variant Romanization of the surname 司 see Si 9: variant Romanization of the surname 佘 see She

Source: Dictionary of American Family Names 2nd edition, 2022


Similar surnames: Sui, Qi, Shan, Shu, Chi, Si, Bai, Cho, Sha, Che

Search for a relative to learn more about your family history.

Hint: Try searching for a relative alive in 1940.

Black & white image of a young woman scientist

Where is the Shi family from?

You can see how Shi families moved over time by selecting different census years. The Shi family name was found in the USA, the UK, and Canada between 1840 and 1920. The most Shi families were found in USA in 1880. In 1911 there was 1 Shi family living in Alberta. This was 100% of all the recorded Shi's in Canada. Alberta had the highest population of Shi families in 1911.
Use census records and voter lists to see where families with the Shi surname lived. Within census records, you can often find information like name of household members, ages, birthplaces, residences, and occupations.

What did your Shi ancestors do for a living?

In 1940, Housewife was the top reported job for people in the USA named Shi. 100% of Shi women worked as a Housewife. .

View Census Data for Shi | 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.

United States shown, Canada data unavailable

Top Female Occupations In 1940

  • Housewife
    100%
Black & white image of two construction labourers

What Shi family records will you find?

Census Records

There are 4,000 census records available for the last name Shi. Like a window into their day-to-day life, Shi census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

Search Canadian census records for Shi

Passenger Lists

There are 1,000 immigration records available for the last name Shi. 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.

View all Shi immigration records

Draft Cards

There are 6,000 military records available for the last name Shi. For the veterans among your Shi ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

View all Shi military records

You've only scratched the surface of Shi family history

Discover More

What is the average Shi lifespan?

Between 1961 and 2004, in the United States, Shi life expectancy was at its lowest point in 1998, and highest in 1972. The average life expectancy for Shi in 1961 was 70, and 84 in 2004.

View Social Security Death Index (SSDI) for Shi

Discover the unique achievements of ancestors in the Shi family tree

Explore Your Tree

Browse profiles of historical people with the Shi last name

Search for another surname
Enter last name/surname
Start a 14-Day Free Trial