History of your Surname
Get access to Kang family records.Start a free trial

Kang Family History

Kang Name Meaning

Chinese: Mandarin form of the surname 康 meaning ‘healthy’ in Chinese: (i) from the first element of Kang Shu (康叔) the posthumous title of one of the sons of the virtuous King Wen of Zhou (1152–1056 BC). Kang Shu was the first king of the state of Wey (衛) (which is located mainly around present-day Hebi and Xinxiang in Henan province). (ii) from the first element of Kang Ju (康居) the name of a state in Central Asia during the Western Han dynasty (206 BC–25 AD). People from this state adopted 康 as their surname. (iii) from Kang (康) the Chinese name of the state of Samarkand in Central Asia. Immigrants from Samarkand in China acquired 康 the Chinese name of their state as their surname known as one of the 'Nine Sogdian Surnames’. (iv) adopted in place of another Chinese surname 匡 (see Kuang ). Some people with the surname 匡 changed their surname to 康 during the reign of Zhao Kuangyin (赵匡胤) known as Emperor Taizu of Song (927–976 AD) the first emperor of the Northern Song dynasty (960–1127 AD) because 匡 happened to be part of the personal name of the emperor which was taboo in ancient China. Chinese: Mandarin form of the surname 亢 meaning ‘high’ or ‘haughty’ in Chinese: (i) from the first element of the placename Kang Fu (亢父) the name of a vassal state (in present-day Jining in Shandong province) in the state of Qi during the Spring and Autumn period (770–476 BC). (ii) adopted in place of another Chinese surname 伉 (Kang in Mandarin pinyin) also sharing the same origin of another two Chinese surnames 抗 (Kang in Mandarin pinyin) and 杭 (pronounced the same as 抗 in ancient Chinese Hang in today's Mandarin pinyin) which can be traced back to San Kang (三伉/抗/杭) a noble official in the state of Wey (衛) during the Spring and Autumn Period (770–476 BC). Chinese: Cantonese form of the surname 耿 see Geng Chinese: Teochew Hokkien or Taiwanese form of the surname 江 see Jiang This pronunciation is found in eastern Guangdong province Fujian province and Taiwan from where some people migrated to Malaysia Singapore and other parts of Southeast Asia. Chinese: variant Romanization of the surname 簡 see Jian Chinese: alternative Mandarin form of the surname 剛 see Gang 6.7: Korean: written 강 in Chinese characters 姜 康 剛 and 强. There are actually five Chinese characters for the surname Kang. Some records indicate that there are as many as one hundred separate Kang clans but only four have actually been documented. There is one Chinese character for each clan. The fifth character is an alternate character for the smallest of the Kang clans and is the result of a scribal error which was introduced in 1908. That segment of the smaller Kang clan which was labeled with the alternate character still uses it and recognizes it as the character for their surname. (i) The largest clan the Kang family of Chinju (it uses the Chinese character 姜) first appears in the historical record in AD 597. It is said to be descended from Kang I-shik (姜 以式) a military official in the ancient Koguryŏ kingdom. Kang I-shik valiantly defended the Koguryŏ kingdom against invasions from China. Subsequently his descendant Kang Chin (姜 縉) was enfeoffed with Chinju in Kyŏngsang South Province. Chinju henceforth became the clan seat for the Kang family. Many members of the largest Kang clan still live in the area of Chinju of Kyŏngsang Province. (ii) The Chinese character 康 is borne by the descendants of Kang Ho-kyŏng (康 虎景). His 14th-generation descendant Kang Chi-yŏn (康 之淵) attended the Koryŏ king Kojong when he fled to Kanghwa Island during the Mongol invasions. Kang Chi-yŏn was subsequently enfeoffed with Shinch’ŏn in Hwanghae Province. There are two other clans of this Kang family but both descend from Kang Chi-yŏn. (iii) The two smaller Kang clans have only a few households in all of Korea. Compare Gang 6.8: Cambodian: written កាំង of Chinese origin but unexplained etymology (probably corresponding to one of the surnames above).9: Cambodian: written កង corresponding to the Khmer word meaning e.g. ‘round bracelet’. Compare Kong 9.10: Southeast Asian (Hmong): variant of Khang 1; in Chinese characters it is written 康 (see 1 above).

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

Similar surnames: Wang, Yang, Tang, Pang, Kong, Fang, Sang, Kan, Zang, Hang

Search for a relative to learn more about your family history.

Hint: Try searching for a relative alive in 1940.

Black & white image of a young woman scientist

Where is the Kang family from?

You can see how Kang families moved over time by selecting different census years. The Kang family name was found in the USA, the UK, Canada, and Scotland between 1871 and 1920. The most Kang families were found in USA in 1920. In 1880 there were 12 Kang families living in California. This was about 31% of all the recorded Kang's in USA. California had the highest population of Kang families in 1880.
Use census records and voter lists to see where families with the Kang surname lived. Within census records, you can often find information like name of household members, ages, birthplaces, residences, and occupations.

What did your Kang ancestors do for a living?

In 1940, Laborer and Housewife were the top reported jobs for men and women in the USA named Kang. 30% of Kang men worked as a Laborer and 14% of Kang women worked as a Housewife. Some less common occupations for Americans named Kang were Farmer and Typist. .

View Census Data for Kang | 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
  • Proprietor
  • Manager
  • Farmer

Top Female Occupations In 1940

  • Housewife
  • Teacher
  • Winder
  • Typist
Black & white image of two construction labourers

What Kang family records will you find?

Census Records

There are 3,000 census records available for the last name Kang. Like a window into their day-to-day life, Kang census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

Search US census records for Kang

Passenger Lists

There are 6,000 immigration records available for the last name Kang. 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.

View all Kang immigration records

Draft Cards

There are 1,000 military records available for the last name Kang. For the veterans among your Kang ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

View all Kang military records

You've only scratched the surface of Kang family history

Discover More

What is the average Kang lifespan?

Between 1963 and 2004, in the United States, Kang life expectancy was at its lowest point in 1975, and highest in 1963. The average life expectancy for Kang in 1963 was 90, and 73 in 2004.

View Social Security Death Index (SSDI) for Kang

Discover the unique achievements of ancestors in the Kang family tree

Explore Your Tree

Browse profiles of historical people with the Kang last name

Search for another surname
Enter last name/surname
Start a 14-Day Free Trial