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Cao Family History

Cao Surname Meaning

Chinese: Mandarin form of the surname 曹 meaning ‘government department’ in ancient Chinese: (i) from the first element of the personal name of Cao An (曹安) the founder of the state of Zhu (located in Zouxian in Shandong province). After the state was annexed by the state of Chu during the Spring and Autumn period (770–476 BC) Cao (曹) was adopted as a surname. (ii) from Cao (曹) the name of a state (located in Dingtao in Shandong province) granted to Zhenduo the 13th son of the virtuous King Wen of Zhou (1152–1056 BC). After the state was annexed by the state of Song Cao (曹) was adopted as a surname. (iii) from one of the 'Nine Sogdian Surnames’ also known as ‘nine surnames of Zhaowu’ because their ancestors came from Zhaowu an ancient city in present-day Gansu province in northwestern China. During the Sui and Tang dynasties (581–987 AD) there were nine Sogdian states in Central Asia one of which was called Cao (曹) in Chinese. Between 649 and 655 AD these states submitted to Emperor Gaozong of Tang (628–683 AD). At this time descendants of people from the state of Cao (曹) acquired the surname Cao (曹). Chinese: Mandarin form of the surname 操 meaning ‘conduct behavior’ in ancient Chinese: possibly from names of official posts. Vietnamese: from the Chinese surname 高 see Gao Portuguese (Cão) and Galician: equivalent of Spanish Cano .

Source: Dictionary of American Family Names 2nd edition, 2022


Similar surnames: Mao, Cai, Bao, Chao, Tao, Cho, Gao, Lao, Hao, Ao

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Where is the Cao family from?

You can see how Cao families moved over time by selecting different census years. The Cao family name was found in the USA, the UK, Canada, and Scotland between 1840 and 1920. The most Cao families were found in USA in 1920. In 1840 there was 1 Cao family living in Rhode Island. This was 100% of all the recorded Cao's in USA. Rhode Island had the highest population of Cao families in 1840.
Use census records and voter lists to see where families with the Cao surname lived. Within census records, you can often find information like name of household members, ages, birthplaces, residences, and occupations.

What did your Cao ancestors do for a living?

In 1940, Laborer was the top reported job for people in the USA named Cao. 100% of Cao men worked as a Laborer. .

View Census Data for Cao | 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 1940

  • Laborer
    100%
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What Cao family records will you find?

Census Records

There are 1,000 census records available for the last name Cao. Like a window into their day-to-day life, Cao census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

Search US census records for Cao

Passenger Lists

There are 2,000 immigration records available for the last name Cao. Passenger lists are your ticket to knowing when your ancestors arrived in the USA, and how they made the journey - from the ship name to ports of arrival and departure.

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Draft Cards

There are 2,000 military records available for the last name Cao. For the veterans among your Cao ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

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What is the average Cao lifespan?

Between 1966 and 2004, in the United States, Cao life expectancy was at its lowest point in 1989, and highest in 1978. The average life expectancy for Cao in 1966 was 80, and 77 in 2004.

View Social Security Death Index (SSDI) for Cao

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