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

Ready to discover your family story?

Simply start with yourself and we'll do the searching for you.


Yu Ethnicity Estimate

What are the common regions with the Yu name?

These results combine data from everyone in the AncestryDNA® database with the last name Yu. The Ancestry® ethnicity regions shown are top five most common on average for these people.

Explore the full experience here
  • China


  • Korea & Northern China


  • England & Wales


  • Philippines


  • Ireland & Scotland


Your own DNA-based ethnicity estimate will differ from what you see here. To get your personalized ethnicity estimate, order an AncestryDNA® kit.order an AncestryDNA® kit.

Order a DNA Kit Today

Yu Family Origin

Where is the Yu family from?

Yu Family Occupations

What did your Yu ancestors do for a living?

In 1881, the most common Yu occupation in Canada was Laborer. 100% of Yu's were Laborers.

View Census data for Yu | Data not to scale

  • Laborer


Census records can tell you a lot of little known facts about your Yu ancestors, such as occupation. Occupation can tell you about your ancestor's social and economic status.

Yu Historical Records

What Yu family records will you find?

Census Record

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 1881 Canadian census records for Yu

Passenger List

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 Card

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.

Yu Life Expectancy

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

An unusually short lifespan might indicate that your Yu ancestors lived in harsh conditions. A short lifespan might also indicate health problems that were once prevalent in your family. The SSDI is a searchable database of more than 70 million names. You can find birthdates, death dates, addresses and more.

Famous Yu Family Ancestors

Discover the unique achievements of ancestors in your family tree

Famous ancestors img
Look up another name