Chinese: Mandarin form of the surname 甘 meaning ‘sweet pleasant’ in Chinese: (i) from the personal name of Gan Pan (甘盤) a high official during the reign of King Wu Ding (died 1192 BC) in the Shang dynasty. (ii) from Gan (甘) the name of an ancient state (located in present-day Shaanxi province) during the Xia dynasty (2070–1600 BC). (iii) from Gan (甘) the name of a fief (located in present-day Luoyang in Henan province) granted to Dai who was known as Gan Zhao Gong (甘昭公 Duke Zhao of Gan) son of King Xiang of Zhou (died 619 BC). Chinese: Mandarin form of the surname 干 meaning ‘shield’ in ancient Chinese: (i) from the personal name of Gan Chou (干犨) an official in the state of Song (located in present-day Shangqiu in Henan province) during the Spring and Autumn period (770–476 BC). (ii) from the placename Gan (邗) the name of a fief (located in present-day Yangzhou in Jiangsu province) that was granted to the son of King Wu of Zhou (c. 1087–1043 BC). When the placename was adopted as a surname people simplified the Chinese character 邗 to 干 which has the same pronunciation. (iii) from the placename Gan Sui (干隧) (located in present-day Wuxian in Jiangsu province). (iv) from the He Gan (紇干) family of the Xianbei ethnic group in northern China who changed their original surname to 干 during the Northern Wei dynasty (386–534 AD). (v) from the compound surname Gan-Lei (干類) said to be originally the name of an ancient state (unknown location) prior to the Xia dynasty (2070–1600 BC). Chinese: alternative Cantonese form of the surname 簡 see Jian Chinese: variant Romanization of the surname 嚴 and 顏 possibly based on their Hokkien pronunciations see Yan 1 and Filipino: of Chinese origin variant Romanization of the surname 嚴 (see 4 above). Irish: from Mag Gana see McGann .
Source: Dictionary of American Family Names 2nd edition, 2022