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

Yu Family History

Yu Name Meaning

Korean: there are four Chinese characters for the surname Yu. Some sources indicate the existence of as many as 230 clans, but only about twenty can be positively documented. Several of the clans are of Chinese origin. The largest Yu clan, the Munhwa Yu, was founded by a man named Ch’a Tal. Ch’a’s fifth great-grandfather had been involved in an attempt to overthrow the Shilla king. To avoid prosecution, the ancestor fled to Munhwa and changed his surname, first to that of his maternal grandmother, Yang, and then to Yu. Many years later, Ch’a Tal assisted Wang Kon to establish the Koryo Kingdom. Ch’a was recognized for his support and was rewarded accordingly. Ch’a’s eldest son began again to use the Ch’a surname, but his younger son continued to use Yu. The Munhwa Yu clan, along with the Andong Kwon clan, possesses one of the oldest extant clan genealogies in Korea. Chinese : in the Spring and Autumn period (722–481 bc) there lived in the state of Qin a high counselor called You Yu, whose descendants took part of their forebear’s ‘style name’, Yu, as their surname. Chinese : from the name of a territory granted by Wu Wang, the first king (1122–1116 bc) of the Zhou dynasty, to his second son. Some of his descendants adopted a simplified version of the character for Yu as their surname. Chinese : during the time of the legendary emperor Huang Di (2697–2595 bc), there lived an extraordinary doctor who could cure all manner of diseases. Because of his great abilities, he was called Yu, which meant ‘to heal’. His descendants adopted a modified form of this character as their surname. Chinese : from the name of either of two ancient states called Yu, one located in present-day Henan province and the other in Shanxi province.

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


Similar surnames: Lu, Wu, Ku, Fu, Xu, Hu, Gu, You, Yun, Qu

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 Yu family from?

You can see how Yu families moved over time by selecting different census years. The Yu family name was found in the USA, and Canada between 1880 and 1920. The most Yu families were found in the USA in 1920. In 1911 there were 6 Yu families living in British Columbia. This was about 86% of all the recorded Yu's in Canada. British Columbia had the highest population of Yu families in 1911.
Use census records and voter lists to see where families with the Yu surname lived. Within census records, you can often find information like name of household members, ages, birthplaces, residences, and occupations.

What did your Yu ancestors do for a living?

In 1921, Laundryman was the top reported job for people in the CA named Yu. 43% of Yu men worked as a Laundryman.

View Census data for Yu | 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

  • Laundryman
    43%
  • Laborer
    29%
  • Labourer
    29%
Black & white image of two construction labourers

What Yu family records will you find?

Census Records

There are 2,000 census records available for the last name Yu. Like a window into their day-to-day life, Yu census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

Search Canadian census records for Yu

Passenger Lists

There are 20,000 immigration records available for the last name Yu. 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 Yu immigration records

Draft Cards

There are 11,000 military records available for the last name Yu. For the veterans among your Yu ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

View all Yu military records

You've only scratched the surface of Yu family history.

Discover More

What is the average Yu lifespan?

Between 1963 and 2004, in the United States, Yu life expectancy was at its lowest point in 1969, and highest in 2000. The average life expectancy for Yu in 1963 was 75, and 74 in 2004.

View Social Security Death Index (SSDI) for Yu

Discover the unique achievements of ancestors in the Yu family tree

Explore Your Tree
Search for another surname
Start a 14-Day Free Trial