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Re: history about my surname

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Posted by Marie Kwok ( on October 17, 2006 at 10:50:31:

In Reply to: Re: history about my surname posted by Jim on February 15, 2002 at 05:08:51:


My husband's family name is Kwok(Cantonese), which is the same as Guo(in standard Mandarin pinyin phonetics) or Kuo(in Wade-Giles Mandarin transliteration.

His family is from Singapore, although he grew up in Hong Kong, and we live in Toronto, Canada now.

About some history of the surname, like other surnames with the "city" radical on one side of the Chinese character, like Chen and Cheng, they are place names. Guo, Chen, and Cheng were all minor principalities during the Chou dynasties, fiefs given to royal relatives. Guo was the fief given a younger brother of the 3rd king/emperor of the Chou dynasty. The fief was in north eastern China. Most Guos are probably descendents of this prince or descendants of slaves of the family, as slaves sometimes take the surname of the family.

The character "guo" referred to the outer curtain of city wall, when a city had a double city wall. If a city had just one layer of city wall, the city wall was called "cheng", and the character "cheng" is part of the modern Chinese word for "city" nowadays. I wonder if the people at the fief of "Guo" were the first to build an extra outer curtain of defense, and so the outer city wall was named after the place.

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