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Kim Family History

Kim Name Meaning

Korean: there is one Chinese character for the surname Kim. Kim is the most common Korean surname, comprising about 20 percent of the Korean population. According to some sources, there are over 600 different Kim clans, but only about 100 have been documented. Kims can be found in virtually every part of Korea. The two largest Kim clans, the Kim family of Kimhae and the Kim family of Kyongju, are descended from semi-mythological characters who lived two thousand years ago. According to legend, the Kimhae Kim family founder, Kim Suro, came in answer to a prayer offered by the nine elders of the ancient Karak Kingdom. In 42 ad, these elders met together to pray for a king. In answer to their prayer, they were sent a golden box containing six golden eggs. From the first egg emerged King Su-ro, Karak’s first king. The other five eggs became the five kings of Karak’s neighboring kingdom, Kaya. The founder of the Kim family of Kyongju, Kim Al-ji, had similar origins. In 65 ad the king of Shilla, T’alhae, heard a strange sound from a forest near the Shilla capital, Kyongju. On investigation he found a crowing white rooster standing next to a golden egg. From this egg emerged Al-ji, founder of the Kyongju Kim family and subsequent king of the Shilla Kingdom. Because Al-ji emerged from a golden egg, King T’alhae bestowed upon the child the surname Kim, which means ‘gold’. It is estimated that about half of the one hundred or so Kim clans of modern Korea are descended from the Kyongju Kim clan. Swiss German: unexplained.

Source: Dictionary of American Family Names ©2013, Oxford University Press


Similar surnames: Im, Kil, Ki, Kye, Rim, Kam, Yum, Lim, Kibe, Kihm

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Where is the Kim family from?

You can see how Kim families moved over time by selecting different census years. The Kim family name was found in the USA, the UK, Canada, and Scotland between 1840 and 1920. The most Kim families were found in the USA in 1920. In 1840 there was 1 Kim family living in Illinois. This was about 25% of all the recorded Kim's in the USA. Illinois and 3 other states had the highest population of Kim families in 1840.
Use census records and voter lists to see where families with the Kim surname lived. Within census records, you can often find information like name of household members, ages, birthplaces, residences, and occupations.

What did your Kim ancestors do for a living?

In 1940, Laborer and Laundress were the top reported jobs for men and women in the US named Kim. 27% of Kim men worked as a Laborer and 7% of Kim women worked as a Laundress. Some less common occupations for Americans named Kim were Cook and Maid.

View Census data for Kim | 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
    27%
  • Proprietor
    7%
  • Farmer
    5%
  • Cook
    5%

Top Female Occupations in 1940

  • Laundress
    7%
  • Packer
    6%
  • Proprietor
    6%
  • Maid
    5%
Black & white image of two construction labourers

What Kim family records will you find?

Census Records

There are 22,000 census records available for the last name Kim. Like a window into their day-to-day life, Kim census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

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Passenger Lists

There are 43,000 immigration records available for the last name Kim. 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 9,000 military records available for the last name Kim. For the veterans among your Kim ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

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What is the average Kim lifespan?

Between 1948 and 2004, in the United States, Kim life expectancy was at its lowest point in 1959, and highest in 1971. The average life expectancy for Kim in 1948 was 40, and 72 in 2004.

View Social Security Death Index (SSDI) for Kim

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