Wang Family History
Wang Name Meaning
Chinese : from a character meaning ‘prince’. There are numerous unrelated Wang clans, descendants of various princes of the Shang (1766–1122 bc) and Zhou (1122–221 bc) dynasties, including in particular descendants of the Shang dynasty prince Bi Gan and descendants of Bi Gonggao, 15th son of the virtuous duke Wen Wang, who was granted the state of Wei (a different state of Wei than that granted the eighth son; compare Sun). Chinese : from the name of a state or area called Wang. From ancient times through the Xia (2205–1766 bc) and Shang (1766–1122 bc) dynasties there existed a state of Wang. Later, during the Spring and Autumn period (722–481 bc), there also existed an area named Wang in the state of Lu. Some descendants of the ruling class of both areas took the place name Wang as their surname. Korean: there is one Chinese character for the surname Wang. Some sources indicate that there are fifteen Wang clans, but only two can be identified: the Kaesong Wang clan and the Chenam Wang clan. The Kaesong Wang clan, which originated in China, ruled the Korean peninsula for almost five hundred years as the ruling dynasty of the Koryo period (918–1392). There are some indications that the Kaesong Wang clan was present in the ancient Choson Kingdom (?194 bc). When the Chonju Yi clan seized power in 1392 and established the Choson kingdom, many of the members of the Kaesong Wang clan changed their names and went into hiding to avoid being persecuted by the new ruling dynasty. The Chenam Wang clan is also of Chinese origin. The Chenam Wang clan is much smaller than the Kaesong Wang clan. German and Dutch: from Middle German wang, Middle Dutch waenge, literally ‘cheek’, but also in southern German having the transferred sense ‘grassy slope’ or ‘field of grass’. It was thus either a topographic name for someone who lived by a meadow or a descriptive nickname for someone with noticeable cheeks (for example, round or rosy). Jewish (Ashkenazic): either a borrowing of the German name (see 4), or else a regional name for a Jew from Hungary (compare Russian Vengria ‘Hungary’). Scandinavian: variant spelling of Vang 1.
Source: Dictionary of American Family Names ©2013, Oxford University Press