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Origin and popularity of the name YAN

Origin

Yan : 1: Chinese: Mandarin form of the surname 嚴 meaning ‘solemnity’ in Chinese: this surname evolved from another Chinese surname 莊 (Zhuang in Mandarin pinyin see Zhuang). People with the surname 莊 changed it to 嚴 (both Chinese characters mean ‘solemnity’) during the reign of Liu Zhuang (劉莊) also known as Emperor Ming of Han (28–75 AD) because the surname 莊 happened to be the personal name of the emperor which was taboo in ancient China. Later some descendants kept the surname 嚴 whereas others changed back to the original surname 莊.2: Chinese: Mandarin form of the surname 閻 meaning ‘hell’ in ancient Chinese: (i) from the placename Yan (閻) the name of a fief (located in Xihua in Henan province) said to have been granted to Zhongyi by King Wu of Zhou (c. 1087–1043 BC). But it is also said that King Kang of Zhou (reigned c. 1020–996 BC) granted the fiefdom of Yan to his youngest son. (ii) from the placename Yan (閻) the name of a fief (located around the town of Yanjing in Shanxi province) granted to Yi the prince of the state of Jin (located in present-day Shanxi province) during the Spring and Autumn period (770–476 BC).3: Chinese: Mandarin form of the surname 閆 which probably evolved from the surname 閻 (see 2 above).4: Chinese: Mandarin form of the surname 顏 meaning ‘face’ in ancient Chinese: (i) from the personal name of Yan (顏) style name of Duke Wu of Zhu also known as Zhu Yan Gong (Duke Yan of Zhu) or Yan Gong (Duke Yan) the 7th ruler of the state of Zhu (located in present-day Shandong province) during the Western Zhou dynasty (1046–771 BC). (ii) from the placename Yan (顏) the name of a fief (located in Shandong province) granted to Bo Qin son of the first king of the state of Lu (located in present-day Shandong province) during the Western Zhou dynasty (1046–771 BC).5: Chinese: Mandarin form of the surname 晏 meaning ‘late’ or ‘feast’ in ancient Chinese: (i) it is said that this surname is traced back to Yan An (晏安) the fifth son of Lu Zhong said to have been a descendant of the legendary king Zhuanxu (traditional dates: 2514–2437 BC). (ii) it is said that this surname can also be traced back to Yan Long (晏龍) an official during the reign of the legendary Emperor Yao (c. 24th century BC). (iii) the surname is also traced back to Yan Ruo (晏弱) a noble in the state of Qi (located mainly in present-day Shandong province) during the Spring and Autumn period (770–476 BC).6: Chinese: Mandarin form of the surname 言 meaning ‘words speech’ in Chinese: (i) in some cases the surname is borne by descendants of the royal families of the state of Han (located mainly in present-day Shaanxi and Henan provinces) who were descendants of Huan Shu of Quwo(802–731 BC). (ii) in other families the surname is traced back to Yan Yan (言偃) a student of Confucius (551–479 BC).7: Chinese: Mandarin form of the surname 燕 meaning ‘swallow’ in Chinese: (i) from Yan (燕) the name of an ancient state (located in Henan province) dating back to the Shang dynasty (1600–1046 BC) known as the South Yan. (ii) from Yan (燕) the name of a state (located in present-day Hebei and Liaoning provinces) known as ‘North Yan’. This was originally granted to Shao Gong Shi (Duke of Shao) brother of King Wu of Zhou (c. 1087–1043 BC). After the state was annexed by the state of Qin (located originally in present-day W Shaanxi province) in 222 BC people adopted the name of the state 燕 as their surname. (iii) a surname from the Xianbei ethnic group in northern China.8: Chinese: Mandarin form of the surname 鄢: (i) from Yan (鄢) the name of a small state (located in Yanling in Henan province) which was annexed by the state of Zheng during the Spring and Autumn period (770–476 BC). (ii) from Yan (鄢) the name of another small state (located in Hubei province) during the Warring States period (475–221 BC).9: Chinese: Mandarin form of the surname 彦 meaning ‘talented people’ in Chinese said to be borne by the descendants of Jiang Ziya or Jiang Tai Gong (c. 11th century BC) an official during the Western Zhou dynasty (1046–771 BC). It was also said to be borne by the descendants of an official in the state of Qi during the Spring and Autumn period (770–476 BC).10: Chinese: Mandarin form of the surname 延 meaning ‘extend’ in Chinese: (i) said to be from the personal name Yan (延) the name of the third son of Feng Feng an official during the reign of the legendary emperor Huang Di the ‘Yellow Emperor’ (c. 27th century BC). (ii) from the placename Yan Ling (延陵) the name of a fief (located in Jiangsu province) granted to Zha prince of the state of Wu during the Spring and Autumn Period (770–476 BC). (iii) adopted as a surname by the Ke Di Yan (可地延) family from the Xianbei ethnic group in northern China during the Northern Wei dynasty (386–534 AD). (iv) a surname from other minority ethnic groups in China.11: Chinese: Mandarin form of the surname 岩 meaning ‘rock’in Chinese.12: Chinese: Cantonese form of the surname 甄 see Zhen.13: Chinese: Cantonese form of the surnames 殷 and 印 see Yin 1 and 3.14: Chinese: Cantonese form of the surname 忻 see Xin 3.15: Chinese: variant Romanization of the surname 袁 see Yuan 1.16: Chinese: variant Romanization of the surname 楊 see Yang 1.17: Burmese: from the male personal name Yan (originally forming part of a compound name) of unexplained etymology. — Note: Since Burmese do not have hereditary surnames this name was registered as such only after immigration of its bearers to the US.18: Cambodian: written យ៉ាន or យ៉ន of Chinese origin from 嚴 meaning ‘solemnity’ (see 1 above).19: Americanized form of North German Sorbian Czech Slovak or Polish (and perhaps also Slovenian or Danish) Jan or Ján ‘John’.20: In some cases possibly also Breton (mainly Finistère): variant of Yann ‘John’.

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Source : DAFN2 : Dictionary of American Family Names 2nd edition, ©2022 by Patrick Hanks and Oxford University Press

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Last name frequency

Geographic distribution of the 2,494 individuals with the name YAN on Geneanet.

 

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    jperina
    (115 individuals)
    niquip
    (111 individuals)
    nrass
    (99 individuals)
    lecalvez
    (86 individuals)

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