Last name origins & meanings:
- Chinese: from a southern pronunciation of the name
of the state of Han (in present-day Shaanxi province), which existed
during the early stages of the Western Zhou dynasty (1122–771
bc). This was the fief of a younger brother of Cheng Wang,
second king of the Zhou dynasty (see Han). When the state of
Han was later annexed by the state of Jin, the members of the royal
family scattered. Those descendants who settled further south, in the
area of the Yangtze and Huai rivers, found that the character for Han
was pronounced He in this area, and so changed their name to a
character more widely pronounced He.
- Chinese: during the Eastern Han dynasty (25–220 ad),
members of the Qing clan needed to change their surname, as Qing was
the name of the emperor’s father and so they were not permitted to use
this name. They decided on he, which like qing means
‘celebrate’. In modern Chinese these two characters have been
compounded into one word, qinghe, which also means ‘celebrate’.
- Chinese: from a word meaning ‘and’ in modern
Chinese, which was part of the title Xihe ‘astrologer’. Members
of the He clan held this hereditary position and adopted their surname
from the title.
Comments for He