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Lai Family History

Lai Name Meaning

Chinese : from the name of a state called Lai (in present-day Henan province), which existed during the Spring and Autumn period (722–481 bc). Descendants of the ruling class of this state adopted its name as their surname. Chinese : Cantonese variant of Li 2. Vietnamese: unexplained. Polish: dialect variant of the personal name Lew ‘lion’ (see Lew 2).

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


Similar surnames: Li, Dai, Cai, Bai, Hai, Lao, Lau, Lam, Kai, Lei

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

Hint: Try searching for a relative alive in 1940.

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Where is the Lai family from?

You can see how Lai families moved over time by selecting different census years. The Lai family name was found in the USA, and Canada between 1880 and 1920. The most Lai families were found in the USA in 1920. In 1880 there were 46 Lai families living in California. This was about 81% of all the recorded Lai's in the USA. California had the highest population of Lai families in 1880.
Use census records and voter lists to see where families with the Lai surname lived. Within census records, you can often find information like name of household members, ages, birthplaces, residences, and occupations.

What did your Lai ancestors do for a living?

In 1940, Cook and Seamstress were the top reported jobs for men and women in the US named Lai. 14% of Lai men worked as a Cook and 34% of Lai women worked as a Seamstress. Some less common occupations for Americans named Lai were Ironer and Housekeeper.

View Census data for Lai | 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

  • Cook
    14%
  • Laborer
    12%
  • Proprietor
    9%
  • Ironer
    6%

Top Female Occupations in 1940

  • Seamstress
    34%
  • Waitress
    23%
  • Packer
    12%
  • Housekeeper
    12%
Black & white image of two construction labourers

What Lai family records will you find?

Census Records

There are 8,000 census records available for the last name Lai. Like a window into their day-to-day life, Lai census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

Search US census records for Lai

Passenger Lists

There are 24,000 immigration records available for the last name Lai. 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 Lai immigration records

Draft Cards

There are 8,000 military records available for the last name Lai. For the veterans among your Lai ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

View all Lai military records

You've only scratched the surface of Lai family history.

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What is the average Lai lifespan?

Between 1961 and 2004, in the United States, Lai life expectancy was at its lowest point in 1968, and highest in 1977. The average life expectancy for Lai in 1961 was 63, and 71 in 2004.

View Social Security Death Index (SSDI) for Lai

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