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Yu Family History

Yu Name Meaning

Chinese: Mandarin and Cantonese form of the surname 余 (or rarely written as 餘) meaning ‘I’ in ancient Chinese: (i) from the second element of the personal name You Yu (由余) the name of a prime minister in the state of Qin during the Spring and Autumn period (770–476 BC). (ii) from Yu (余) the name of a small state during the Spring and Autumn period (770–476 BC). (iii) said to be borne by descendants of Xia Yu the first king of the Xia dynasty (2070–1600 BC). Chinese: Mandarin and Cantonese form of the surname 于 (meaning ‘go’ in ancient Chinese) or 於 (often simplified as 于 in Mainland China meaning ‘depend on’ in ancient Chinese): (i) simplified form of the Chinese character 邘 the name of an ancient state (located in Qinyang in Henan province) which was granted to Yu Shu (邘叔) the third son of King Wen of Zhou (1152–1056 BC). After it was annexed by the state of Zheng during the Spring and Autumn period (770–476 BC) the Chinese character 邘 (pronounced Yu) was simplified to (于) and adopted as a surname. (ii) adopted as a surname by the Wan Niu Yu (萬忸于) family from the Xianbei ethnic group in northern China during the Northern Wei dynasty (386–534 AD). (iii) adopted in place of the Chinese compound surname Chun-Yu (淳于) because the first element of the surname Chun happened to share the same pronunciation with the personal name of the emperor Li Chun also known as Emperor Xianzong of Tang (778–820 AD) which was taboo in ancient China. (iv) said to be traced back to Yu Ze (於則) who said to be the inventor of shoes an official the legendary Huang Di the ‘Yellow Emperor’ (c. 27th century BC). (v) from the second element of the placename Shang Yu (商於) in the state of Chu during the Spring and Autumn period (770–476 BC). Chinese: Mandarin and Cantonese form of the surname 俞 meaning ‘assent consent’ in ancient Chinese: (i) said to be traced back to Yu Fu (俞跗) a famous doctor during the reign of the legendary Huang Di the ‘Yellow Emperor’ (c. 27th century BC). (ii) said to be traced back to the noble families in the state of Zheng and Chu during the Spring and Autumn period (770–476 BC). Chinese: Mandarin and Cantonese form of the surname 虞 referring to a kind of beast in ancient Chinese: from Yu (虞) the name of two ancient states. One is known as Dong Yu or Eastern Yu (located in Yucheng in Henan province) said to have been granted by Xia Yu the first king of the Xia dynasty (2070–1600 BC) to the son of the legendary Emperor Shun (c. 23rd century BC). The other is known as Xi Yu or Western Yu (located in Pinglu in Shanxi province) which was annexed by the state of Jin in 655 BC. Chinese: Mandarin and Cantonese form of the surname 庾 meaning ‘open-air granaries’ in Chinese: (i) from the second element of Zhang Yu (掌庾) literally meaning ‘in charge of open-air granaries’ the name of an official post during the reign of the legendary Emperor Yao (c. 24th century BC). (ii) from the first element of Yu Lin (庾廩) meaning ‘granaries’ the name of an official post during the Western Zhou dynasty (1046–771 BC). (iii) from Yu (庾) the name of an ancient state during the Spring and Autumn period (770–476 BC). Chinese: Mandarin and Cantonese form of the surname 喻 meaning ‘explain’ or ‘analogy’ in Chinese: (i) adopted in place of another Chinese surname Yu (諭) after the Eastern Jin dynasty (316–420 AD). (ii) adopted in place of another Chinese surname pronounced Yu (渝) during the reign of Emperor Jing of Han (188–141 BC) because the Chinese character happened to be identical to the personal name of the wife of the emperor. It was taboo in ancient China to bear a name that was the same as that of a member of a royal or imperial family. (iii) from the name of Yu Chu (喻樗) who was granted the surname Yu (喻) during the Southern Song dynasty (1127–1279 AD).7: Chinese: Mandarin and Cantonese form of the surname 禹: (i) from the personal name Yu (禹) the name of the first king of the Xia dynasty (2070–1600 BC). (ii) simplified form of Chinese (鄅) the name of a small state (located in present-day Shandong province). After this state was annexed during the late Spring and Autumn period (770–476 BC) the Chinese character Yu (鄅) was simplified to Yu (禹) and adopted as a surname.8: Chinese: Mandarin and Cantonese form of the surname 宇 meaning ‘house’ or ‘world’ in ancient Chinese: (i) borne by descendants of Shen Bo (the Earl of Shen) king of the state of Shen and uncle of King Xuan of Zhou (reigned 827–782 BC). (ii) shortened form of the compound surname Yu-Wen (宇文) a surname traced back to the Hun ethnic group in ancient northern China. (iii) traced back to the Tangut ethnic group in ancient northwestern China.9: Chinese: Mandarin form of the surname 郁 or 鬱 (often simplified to 郁 in Mainland China) meaning ‘luxuriant’ in Chinese: (i) from the placename Yu (郁) the name of an ancient state which later became a fief in the state of Wu (located in present-day Zhejiang and Jiangsu province). (ii) possibly from the first element of Yu Li (郁立) the name of a state (located in Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region) during the Western Han dynasty (206 BC–25 AD). (iii) possibly from the first element of the placenames Yu Yi (郁夷) (located in Shaanxi province) Yu Zhi (郁秩) (located in Shandong province) or Yu Zhi (郁致) (located in ancient northwestern China). (iv) said to be traced back to Yu Hua (鬱華) teacher of Xia Yu the first king of Xia dynasty (2070–1600 BC). (v) possibly evolving from another Chinese surname Yu (蔚).10: Chinese: Mandarin form of the surname 魚 meaning ‘fish’ in Chinese: (i) from the second element of Zi Yu (子魚) style name of a prince of the state of Song during the Spring and Autumn period (770–476 BC). (ii) possibly from Yu (魚) the name of an ancient state (located in Sichuan province). (iii) traced back to some minority ethnic groups in southern China.1 Chinese: Mandarin form of the surname 玉 meaning ‘jade’ in Chinese: (i) borne by descendants of Gong Yu Dai (公玉帶) a person who lived during the reign of Emperor Wu of Han (156–87 BC) whose surname Gong Yu (公玉) was later shortened to Yu (玉). (ii) possibly from Yu Yin (玉尹 literally meaning ‘jade official’) title of an official in charge of the imperial jade seal in the state of Chu during the Spring and Autumn period (770–476 BC).1 Chinese: Mandarin form of the surname 尉 (also pronounced as Wei in Mandarin see Wei ): (i) borne by the descendants of Yu Zhi (尉止) an official in the state of Zheng during the Spring and Autumn period (770–476 BC). (ii) shortened form of the compound surname Yu-Chi (尉遲) a surname from the Xianbei ethnic group.1 Chinese: Mandarin form of the surname 蔚: (i) from the placename (蔚) the name of a fief (located in present-day Shanxi province) during the Northern Wei dynasty (386–534 AD) and the Northern Zhou dynasty (557– 581 AD). (ii) possibly another written form of the Chinese surname Yu (尉).1 Chinese: Mandarin form of the surname 遇 meaning ‘encounter’ in Chinese: (i) from the placename Yu (遇) the name of a fief (located in present-day Shandong province) said to be granted to descendants of the legendary emperor Huang Di the ‘Yellow Emperor’ (c. 27th century BC). (ii) a surname from the Tangut ethnic group in ancient northwestern China.1 Chinese: Cantonese form of the surnames 茹 and 汝 see Ru 1 and 1 Chinese: alternative Mandarin form of the surnames 游 尤 由 and 有. Also Teochew or Hokkien form of the Chinese surnames 游 and 尤. See You 1-17: Chinese: variant Romanization of the surname 楊 see Yang 18: Chinese: variant Romanization of the surname 姚 based on its Cantonese pronunciation see Yao 19: Chinese: variant Romanization of the surname 饒 based on its Cantonese pronunciation see Rao 20: Korean: written 유 and 류 in Chinese characters 柳 meaning ‘willow’ 庾 meaning ‘stack of grain’ 劉 and 兪. 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. (i) The character 柳 is used by the largest Yu clan the Munhwa Yu founded by a man named Yu Ch’a Tal (柳車達). 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 Yu Ch’a Tal assisted Wang Kŏn to establish the Koryŏ 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 Kwŏn clan possesses one of the oldest extant clan genealogies in Korea. (ii) The character 庾 is borne by the descendants of Yu Kŏm-p’il (庾 黔弼) a general who fought during the founding of the Koryŏ kingdom in the early 10th century. He was enfeoffed with P’yŏngsan in Hwanghae province. Yu Kŏm-p’il’s fifth-generation descendant established the Musong Yu clan. (iii) The character 劉 is borne by the descendants of Yu Sŭng-bi (劉 承備) whose descendants established the Kangnŭng Yu clan in the 11th century. (iv) The character 兪 is borne by the descendants of Yu Sam-chae (兪 三宰) a Shilla official whose descendants settled in the Kigye area of Kyŏngsang North province. Compare Ryu Yoo 2 and You 8.

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


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

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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 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 Canada 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%
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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