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

Yang Family History

Yang Name Meaning

Chinese: Mandarin form of the surname 楊 meaning ‘poplar’ in Chinese: (i) from the placename Yang (楊 also written as 揚) the name of a state (located in Hongdong in present-day Shanxi province) originally granted to Shang Fu also known as Yang Hou (楊侯 ‘Marquis of Yang’) son of King Xuan of Zhou (reigned 827–782 BC). The state was annexed by the state of Jin during the Spring and Autumn period (770–476 BC). Later some descendants from the state adopted 楊 as the surname while others adopted 揚 (another written form) as the surname. (ii) from Yang Hou (楊侯) (‘Marquis of Yang’) a title given to Bo Qiao son of the Duke Wu of Jin (known as Duke Wu of Quwo 754–677 BC). (iii) from the Mo Hu Lu (莫胡盧) and Yu Chi (尉遲) families members of the Xianbei ethnic group who changed their original surnames to Yang (楊) during the Northern Wei dynasty (386–534 AD). (iv) traced back to certain other minority ethnic groups in ancient northern and southern China. Chinese: Mandarin form of the surname 陽 referring to ‘yang’ in Chinese philosophy: (i) from Yang (陽) the name of an ancient state (located in present-day Shandong province). After it was annexed by the state of Qi (located in present-day Shandong province) in about 676 BC people from the state adopted 陽 the name of the state as their surname. (ii) from the placename Yang Fan (陽樊) the name of a fief (located in Jiyuan in Henan province) granted to the youngest son of King Jing of Zhou (died 520 BC). (iii) from Yang (陽) the name of a fief (located in Shishou in Hubei province) granted to Gai (died 519 BC) a prince and an official in the state of Chu during the Spring and Autumn period (770–476 BC). Chinese: Mandarin form of the surname 羊 meaning ‘goat’ in Chinese: (i) from Yang Ren (羊人) the name of an official post during the Western Zhou dynasty (1046–771 BC) in charge of sacrifices. (ii) shortened form of the compound surname Yang-She (羊舌) which was originally the name of a fief (located in present-day Hebei province) granted to an official in the state of Jin (located in present-day Shanxi province) called Tu the great-grandson of the Duke Wu of Jin (ruler of the state of Jin reigned 716–677 BC). Tu's descendants adopted the placename Yang She (羊舌) as their surname and later shortened it to 羊. Chinese: Mandarin form of the surname 養 meaning ‘feed’ in Chinese: habitational name from the placename Yang (養) the name of a fief (located in Shenqiu in Henan province) in the state of Chu granted to Yan Yu and Zhu Yong former princes of the state of Wu (located mainly in present-day Jiangsu and Anhui provinces). Chinese: Mandarin form of the surname 仰 meaning ‘face upward’ in Chinese: (i) from the personal name of Yang (卬) style name of a prince of the state of Qin (located in present-day western Shaanxi province) son of King Hui of Qin (ruler of the state of Qin died 311 BC). 卬 was changed to 仰 and Yang's descendants inherited it as their surname. (ii) from the personal name of Yang Yan (仰延) a musician who lived during the reign of the legendary Emperor Shun (c. 23rd century BC). Chinese: Mandarin form of the surname 揚 meaning ‘waving’ in Chinese see 1(i).7: Southeast Asian (Hmong): from the name of the Yang clan of the Hmong people in Laos China and Vietnam; in Chinese characters it is written 楊 (see 1 above). Compare Ya 8: Southeast Asian (Iu Mien): from the name of the Yang clan of the Iu Mien people from Laos.9: Korean: there are four Chinese characters used for the Yang surname but only two are common enough to consider here; they have between them eight clans. The founding ancestor of the Ch’ŏngju Yang clan was Chinese and stayed in Korea after escorting Koryŏ King Kongmin's future queen to Korea. The first historical ancestor of the Cheju Yang clan was a Shilla figure named Yang T’ang but according to legend his distant ancestor was one of three men who ascended from a cave on the north side of Cheju Island's Halla Mountain. These three men were the founders of the Yang Pu and Ko clans. The legendary founder of the Yang clan was named Yang Ŭl-la. Some days after their emergence a box washed up on the shore of the island. In the box were three women horses cows and agricultural seed. From these beginnings the three established Cheju's T’amnaguk kingdom and ruled peacefully for 900 years. Later descendants of the three men settled throughout Korea although 40 percent of the Yang clan still live on Cheju island and in Chŏlla province.

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

Similar surnames: Wang, Pang, Yan, Kang, Tang, Ying, Yong, Fang, Xiang, Long

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 Yang family from?

You can see how Yang families moved over time by selecting different census years. The Yang family name was found in the USA, the UK, Canada, and Scotland between 1840 and 1920. The most Yang families were found in USA in 1920. In 1891 there were 21 Yang families living in Lancashire. This was about 75% of all the recorded Yang's in United Kingdom. Lancashire had the highest population of Yang families in 1891.
Use census records and voter lists to see where families with the Yang surname lived. Within census records, you can often find information like name of household members, ages, birthplaces, residences, and occupations.

What did your Yang ancestors do for a living?

In 1940, Farmer and Teacher were the top reported jobs for men and women in the USA named Yang. 24% of Yang men worked as a Farmer and 36% of Yang women worked as a Teacher. Some less common occupations for Americans named Yang were Cook and Nurse. .

View Census Data for Yang | 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.

United States shown, England data unavailable

Top Male Occupations In 1940

  • Farmer
  • Waiter
  • Laborer
  • Cook

Top Female Occupations In 1940

  • Teacher
  • Secretary
  • Housekeeper
  • Nurse
Black & white image of two construction labourers

What Yang family records will you find?

Census Records

There are 4,000 census records available for the last name Yang. Like a window into their day-to-day life, Yang census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

Search Australian census records for Yang

Passenger Lists

There are 11,000 immigration records available for the last name Yang. Passenger lists are your ticket to knowing when your ancestors arrived in Australia, and how they made the journey - from the ship name to ports of arrival and departure.

View all Yang immigration records

Draft Cards

There are 3,000 military records available for the last name Yang. For the veterans among your Yang ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

View all Yang military records

You've only scratched the surface of Yang family history

Discover More

What is the average Yang lifespan?

Between 1959 and 2004, in the United States, Yang life expectancy was at its lowest point in 1970, and highest in 1963. The average life expectancy for Yang in 1959 was 54, and 68 in 2004.

View Social Security Death Index (SSDI) for Yang

Discover the unique achievements of ancestors in the Yang family tree

Explore Your Tree

Browse profiles of historical people with the Yang last name

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