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Yi Family History

Yi Name Meaning

Korean: written 이 in Chinese characters 李 meaning ‘plum’. There are actually three Chinese characters for the surname Yi but two of the three are quite rare and one of these is not found outside North Korea. This is the second most common surname in Korea comprising c. 16 percent of the total population. It is found in every part of the country. Although some sources indicate that there are as many as 546 different Yi clans only c. 100 have been documented. The founder of the oldest clan the Kyŏngju Yi was named Yi Al-p’yŏng (李 謁平) and lived in AD 3 He was one of the six original governors of pre-Shilla Korea. Aside from a few other Yi families that originated from the Kyŏngju Yi clan most of the other 100 or so clans were formed at the end of the Koryŏ or beginning of the Chosŏn periods. Some Korean Yi families trace their origins back to China. The founder of the Chosŏn Kingdom or Yi Dynasty Yi Sŏng-gye (李 成桂) was a member of the Yi clan from Chŏnju. This clan ruled the Korean peninsula from 1392 to 1910. Compare Lee 10 Ri 2 and Yee 6. Chinese: Mandarin and Cantonese form of the surname 伊 meaning ‘he or she’ in ancient Chinese: (i) from the personal name Yi Yin (伊尹) a famous official who made great contributions to the establishment of the Shang dynasty (1600 –1046 BC). It is said that he lived along a river named Yi Shui (伊水) (located in Henan province) and thus acquired the surname Yi (伊). (ii) adopted as a surname by the Yi Lou (伊婁) family from the Xianbei ethnic group in northern China during the Northern Wei dynasty (386–534 AD). Chinese: Mandarin form of the surname 易 meaning ‘amiable’ or ‘easy’ in Chinese: (i) possibly from Yi (易) the name of a river (located in Hebei province). (ii) from the first element of the personal name Yi Ya (易牙) also known as Yong Wu an official in the state of Qi during the Spring and Autumn period (770–476 BC) who was famous for his good cooking. (iii) from the first element of the placename Yi Zhou (易州) (located in Yixian in Hebei province). Chinese: Mandarin and Cantonese form of the surname 衣 (meaning ‘clothes’ in Chinese) or possibly a mispronounced form of the Chinese surname 殷. See Yin Chinese: Mandarin form of the surname 弋 meaning ‘small wooden piles’ in Chinese: from the placename Yi (弋) the name of a fief (located in present-day Henan province) granted to descendants of the first king of the Xia dynasty (2070–1600 BC). Chinese: Mandarin form of the surname 蟻 literally meaning ‘ants’ in Chinese: (i) said to be from another surname 蛾 (homophonous to 蟻 in ancient Chinese meaning ‘moth’) which may be derived from E/Yi Xi (蛾析) the personal name of an official in the state of Jin during the Spring and Autumn period (770–476 BC). (ii) possibly a surname from the aboriginals in southern Fujian.7: Chinese: Mandarin form of the surname 益 meaning ‘benefit’ in Chinese: (i) possibly traced back to Bo Yi (伯益) said to be the author of Shan Hai Jing (or Classic of Mountains and Seas). (ii) from the placename Yi Du (益都) the name of a county (located in Shandong province). (iii) from the placename Yi Zhou (益州) the name of a town (located in Chengdu in Sichuan province).8: Chinese: Mandarin form of the surname 義 meaning ‘justice’ in Chinese: (i) said to be traced back to Yi Bo (義伯) an official during the Shang dynasty (1600–1046 BC) who wrote an essay entitled Dian Bao co-authored with Zhong Bo. (ii) from the first element of Yi Qu (義渠) the name of an ancient state (located in present-day Gansu province) established by a nomadic ethnic group in northwestern China annexed by the state of Qin in 272 BC.9: Chinese: Mandarin form of the surname 羿 meaning ‘(of bird) going up to the sky with unfolded wings’: from the personal name Yi (羿) or Hou Yi (後羿) the name of a legendary archer prior to the Xia dynasty (2070–1600 BC) or name of the leader of the clan of Youqiong (possibly located in present-day Henan province) during the Xia dynasty (2070–1600 BC).10: Chinese: Mandarin form of the surname 儀 meaning ‘ceremony’ in Chinese: (i) said to be traced back to Yi Di (儀狄) an official during the reign of the legendary Emperor Shun (c. 23rd century BC). (ii) borne by the descendants of an official in the state of Wey (衛) during the Spring and Autumn period (770–476 BC) who was said to be granted with a fief named Yi (儀). (iii) said to be derived from a post-name Si-Yi (司儀) (akin to the master of ceremonies) in the Zhou dynasty (1046–256 BC). (iv) said to be borne by the descendants of Zhu Yi Fu (邾儀父) the tenth king of the state of Zhu during the Spring and Autumn period (770–476 BC). (v) said to be adopted in place of another surname of Chen (陳) by some people.1 Chinese: Mandarin form of the surname 乙 meaning ‘second’ in Chinese: (i) from Tian Yi (天乙) style name of Tang the first king of the Shang dynasty (1600 –1046 BC). (ii) adopted as a surname by the Yi Fu (乙弗) family in the Xianbei ethnic group in northern China during the Northern Wei dynasty (386–534 AD). (iii) borne by descendants of Gesi Qiyi an official in the state of Balhae (located in present-day northeastern China) who was endowed with the surname Yi (乙) by Emperor Mingzong of Later Tang (867–933 AD).1 Chinese: Mandarin form of the surname 裔 meaning ‘descendants’ in Chinese: unexplained possibly traced back to Yi Kuan (裔款) who lived in the state of Qi during the Spring and Autumn period (770–476 BC).1 Chinese: Hokkien or Hakka form of the Chinese surnames 余 see Yu

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


Similar surnames: Yu, Ki, Ji, Im, Li, Chi, Qi, Yin, In, Lu

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Where is the Yi family from?

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

What did your Yi ancestors do for a living?

In 1921, Laborer was the top reported job for people in the Canada named Yi. 100% of Yi men worked as a Laborer. .

View Census Data for Yi | 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

  • Laborer
    100%
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What Yi family records will you find?

Census Records

There are 1,000 census records available for the last name Yi. Like a window into their day-to-day life, Yi 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 5,000 immigration records available for the last name Yi. 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 2,000 military records available for the last name Yi. For the veterans among your Yi ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

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What is the average Yi lifespan?

Between 1973 and 2004, in the United States, Yi life expectancy was at its lowest point in 1974, and highest in 1973. The average life expectancy for Yi in 1973 was 80, and 75 in 2004.

View Social Security Death Index (SSDI) for Yi

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