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

Lin Family History

Lin Name Meaning

Chinese: Mandarin form of the surname 林 meaning ‘woods forest’: (i) from the placename Chang Lin (長林) where Jian son of Bi Gan took refuge after his father was killed by Zhou last king of the Shang dynasty (1600–1046 BC). After the Shang dynasty was overthrown he was endowed with the surname Lin (林) by King Wu of Zhou (c. 1087–1043 BC). (ii) from the first element of the personal name Lin Kai (林開) son of King Ping of Zhou (died 720 BC). (iii) from the personal name of Lin Fang (林放) an official in the state of Lu also a student of Confucius (551–479 BC) during the Spring and Autumn period (770–476 BC). (iv) adopted by the Qiu Lin (丘林) family as a surname during the Northern Wei dynasty (386–534 AD). (v) from the personal name of Lin Fu (林父) personal name of an official in the state of Wey during the Spring and Autumn period (770–476 BC) whose original surname was Sun. (vi) from the placename Lin (林) the name of a fief granted to an official in the state of Ju during the Spring and Autumn period (770–476 BC). Chinese: Mandarin form of the surname 藺 meaning ‘rush (a type of plant)’ in ancient Chinese: from the placename Lin (藺) the name of a fief (located in Shaanxi province or in Shanxi province) granted to Kang who lived during the Spring and Autumn period (770–476 BC). He was descended from the Han family in the state of Jin but later went to the state of Zhao to seek an official post. Chinese: Cantonese form of the surnames 連 and 練 see Lian 2 and Chinese: variant Romanization of the surname 凌 see Ling Burmese: from a personal name usually forming part of a compound name from lin ‘bright clear’. Compare Lyn — Note: Since Burmese do not have hereditary surnames this name was registered as such only after immigration of its bearers to the US. Cambodian: written លិន of Chinese origin but unexplained etymology (probably corresponding to one of the surnames above). Compare Lyn 7: Scottish and English: variant of Lynn and possibly also Flynn .

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


Similar surnames: Li, Jin, Ling, Yin, Lien, Lim, Xin, Lu, Lyn, Liu

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 Lin family from?

You can see how Lin families moved over time by selecting different census years. The Lin family name was found in the USA, the UK, Canada, and Scotland between 1840 and 1920. The most Lin families were found in USA in 1880. In 1840 there were 2 Lin families living in Ohio. This was about 40% of all the recorded Lin's in USA. Ohio and 1 other state had the highest population of Lin families in 1840.
Use census records and voter lists to see where families with the Lin surname lived. Within census records, you can often find information like name of household members, ages, birthplaces, residences, and occupations.

What did your Lin ancestors do for a living?

In 1940, Cook and House Work were the top reported jobs for men and women in the USA named Lin. 14% of Lin men worked as a Cook and 50% of Lin women worked as a House Work. Some less common occupations for Americans named Lin were Salesman and Teacher. .

View Census Data for Lin | 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%
  • Waiter
    12%
  • Laborer
    11%
  • Salesman
    6%

Top Female Occupations In 1940

  • House Work
    50%
  • Teacher
    50%
Black & white image of two construction labourers

What Lin family records will you find?

Census Records

There are 33,000 census records available for the last name Lin. Like a window into their day-to-day life, Lin census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

Search US census records for Lin

Passenger Lists

There are 23,000 immigration records available for the last name Lin. 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 Lin immigration records

Draft Cards

There are 34,000 military records available for the last name Lin. For the veterans among your Lin ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

View all Lin military records

You've only scratched the surface of Lin family history

Discover More

What is the average Lin lifespan?

Between 1963 and 2004, in the United States, Lin life expectancy was at its lowest point in 1965, and highest in 1971. The average life expectancy for Lin in 1963 was 67, and 67 in 2004.

View Social Security Death Index (SSDI) for Lin

Discover the unique achievements of ancestors in the Lin family tree

Explore Your Tree

Browse profiles of historical people with the Lin last name

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