My family names in United States

by Forrest Sheng Bao

Few days ago, I wanna check the ancestry of a friend. So I came across a website called

Yes, her ancestries may come from German as I guessed.

1. German, Dutch, Danish, and Jewish (Ashkenazic): regional name for someone from the territory of Hesse (German Hessen).
2. South German: from a short form of the personal name Matthäus (see Matthew).
3. German and Dutch: from the Germanic personal name Hesso

Wow, Eine Deutsch frau (A German women) ! "Deutsche Frauen, deutsche Treue, Deutscher Wein und deutscher Sang".

I also checked family names of several friends, English, Scottish, Irish, Polish, Jewish, etc. I also found that two friends who I thought maybe Chinese are actually Vietnamese. Wow, America, an immigration land.

The more funny thing was I could even find my family names on that website. And it's really correct, with perfect explanation to their Chinese meanings. Ok, let's have a look at it.

My dad's family name, also my family name is Bao:

Chinese: there are three different surnames that are Romanized in pinyin as Bao. Other Romanizations include Bau, Pao, and Pau.
Chinese 鲍: this character also means ‘abalone’, but the name comes from an old place name. The area of Bao was granted to a chief counselor of the state of Qi during the Spring and Autumn period (722–481 bc). His son took the place name as his surname and was called Bao Shuya. Bao Shuya was famous for his lofty moral character and was skilled at delegating authority, eventually becoming the first ‘Chief King’ of the Spring and Autumn period.

Wow, my family tree can be traced back to 481 BC. That's awesome.

My mom's family name is Zhang:

Chinese 张: the origin of this name goes back 4500 years to a grandson of the legendary emperor Huang Di (2697–2595 bc), surnamed Hui. Hui invented bows and arrows, and was put in charge of their production. In honor of his deeds, he was given as surname the character pronounced Zhang, which is composed of the symbols for ‘bow’ and ‘long’, meaning to ‘stretch open a bow’. Zhang has now become one of the most common names in China.

Exactly! The Chinese character consists of the symbols for 'bow' and 'long'. And this 'Zhang' is referred as 'bow-long-Zhang'.

Oh my gosh. Our Chinese names really have lots of meaning and long history.

I also found a book, "The Bao Family in History", about my family name in Amazon. I shall read it tell my son or even my grandson how the Bao family immigrate to US.

The Bao Name in History

Ok, let me translate those descriptions into Chinese for those who are interested in:

鲍, 这个字的意思是‘鲍鱼’,但是这个名字来自一个古老地方的名字。这个叫做‘鲍’的地方被赠与春秋时期(公元前722-481)齐国的一个首席执 政官。 他的儿子用这个地名作为他的姓,他被叫做‘鲍叔牙’。鲍叔牙因为他的崇高品行而著名,而且很擅长委派权力,实质上成为春秋时期的第一王。

张, 这个名字可以溯源到4500年前的传说帝王黄帝的一个孙子,姓 Hui (我搞不清是那个中国字)。 Hui 发明了弓和矛,并且负责生产他们。为了表彰他的贡献,他被赐姓‘张’,是由'弓'和‘长’这两个字组成的,意为‘用劲拉开一个弓’。 ‘张’ 是中国最常用的名字之一。

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