The History of the Surname as
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1. The Chinese surname LIAO (廖)
The word 'Liao' is designated a surname.
The surname Liao originated in an area referred to during the Han Dynasty (漢朝 206 B.C. to 220 A.D.) as the Ru Yang Prefecture (汝陽郡). The present day location of Ru Yang Prefecture is in an area about 60 kilometers southeast of Ru Nan county 汝南縣 in Henan province (河南省).
Zhou King Wu (周武王) destroyed the Shang Dynasty (商朝 1783 B.C. to 1122 B.C.) and established the Zhou Dynasty (周朝 1134 B.C. to 250 B..C). Zhou King Wu claiming that he was the "Tian Zi" (天子 Son of Heaven) and he had the "Tian Ming" (天命 Mandate of Heaven) to destroy the preceding wicked Shang Dynasty. Zhou King Wu also claimed he was the mediator between man and nature. As a result of this proclaimation all the future Kings and Emperors (the title Emperor was first in used in 221 B.C. by Qin Shi Huang Di 秦始皇帝) called themselves the "Son of Heaven" and that they possessed the "Mandate of Heaven" to do so. Zhou King Wu also proclaimed that the rules of inheritance should be from father to son and not from brother to brother as the preceding Shang Dynasty.
Zhou King Wu now controlled a vast country. The primitive communications at that time made it impossible to govern such a big country efficiently from a centralised authority. Instead Zhou King Wu gave the authority to relatives, officials, generals and aristocrats to rule on his behalf. Zhou King Wu created five titles to honour his relatives and followers:
(1) Gong (公) or the Duke;
Zhou King Wu had many brothers and they had all assisted him in overthrowing
the preceding Dynasty. One of them was Ji Liao (姬廖) whom Zhou King Wu
employed as a high-ranking official. Zhou King Wu bestowed upon Ji Liao
the title of Bo. Ji Liao came to be known as Liao Bo (廖伯). After Zhou
King Wu died in 1116BC his son Zhou King Cheng (周成王) succeeded him.
Liao Bo continued to serve in the Zhou Court and helped the new King to
govern the fledging
by CHUNG Yoon-Ngan ( 鄭 永
元 ) E-mail: email@example.com
This page appears by courtesy of the author given on 20 May 2000.
2. The Family Clan Record of Liao
The family clan of Liao was originated from Shu An who was a descendant of Kao Yang Shih and was the son of King Wen and also the brother of King Wu. He was granted the vassal state of Liao by the king (Chou dynasty 1122-255 B.C.). Later on he adopted the name of his state as his surname. During the Ch'un Chiu period (722-481 B.C.), Po Kao changed the Chinese character 飂 to 廖. Thus from him started the direct lineafe of the Liao family clan.
When it came to Duke Hui who belonged to the 11th generation, the Emperor
of the Ch'in dynasty (246-207 B.C.) was extremely tyrannical. His atrocious
oppression of his subjects also extended to his officials. So Duke Hui
preferred to live a scluded life in the north-west side of River Huang
Duke Chang belonged to the 32nd generation. During the Chin dynasty in the 2nd year of the Hsien Ling era (280-275 B.C.) Wu Ti's reign, Duke Chang was bestowed the title of General because of his military achievements. From Lo Yang, he moved south of River Yangtse. This was the beginning of the Liao family clan in Nanking. Then he married a girl by the surname of Lan who gave him two sons, Yuan Hsien and Ts'ung Hsien. Yuan Hsien was given the title of General and he resided in Lo Yang. Ts'ung Hsien, the younger son instead moved from Lo Yang to Sung Yang county in Yung Chia prefecture in Chekiang province. Five generations passed. Duke Ch'eng Hsi became the Governor of Yangchou. Owing to the troubles caused by the Five Barbarians, he moved south of River Yangtze in the 9th year of the Tai Yuan era (384 A.D.).
After another five generations, came Duke Ch'i K'o who had three sons, Yen Pang, Yen Ling and Yen Ch'un. Pang became the governor of H'ing Ho and was given the prefecture of Ch'ing Ho and was given the prefecture of Ch'ing Ho as a vassal state. Yen Ling became the Governor of Wu Wei and was given the prefecture of Wu Wei as a vassal state. Yen Ch'um become the Governor of Tai Yuan and was given the prefecture of Tai Yuan as a vassal state. That was how the Liao family clan branched out into three prefectures.
Duke Yen Ling, also named Nien-wu Lang, became the Governor of Wu Wei. He married a girl by the surname of Teng and had a son, called Ch'ung Te.
During the Chen Kuan era (627-649 A.D.) in the Tang dynasty (618-906 A.D.) in the Tang dynasty (618-906 A.D.), Ch'ung Te also named Hsueh Wu Lang, was successful in the Ming Ch'ing Examination and was appointed the Prefect of Ch'ien Hua county. After completing his service, he settled down down in Ch'ien Hua which was later known as Ning Tu. Ch'ung Te was the first ancestor of Liao in Kangsi province. He had three sons, the eldest, Kuang Lu became a court official in the year of Ting Wei, during the Ching Lung era (707-710 A.D.) in the Tang dynasty. He became the Regional Commandant of T'ing Chou. The second son, Kuang Yao was also a court official during the Tang dynasty. He was given the title of Vice-Minister of War. The third son, Kuang Ching, born in the 6th year of Wu Hou's reign, became the Inspector of Hsuan Chou. He married a girl by the surname of Sun and had three sons. The eldest was Ch'iung Hsuan also name Ta I was given an appointment by the Emperor in the T'ien Pao era (742-756 A.D.), Tang dynasty. While he was travelling to take up his appointment, he died on the way. Owing to Huang Ch'au's rebellion (874-888 A.D.), Ch'iung Hsuan's only son, Ssu-shih-i Lang moved to reside in Shih Pi district in Ting Hua subprefecture in Fujien province. After some time, Fukien province also faced a military destruction and no records were preserved during that time. So there was a gap in the records of events for three generations. Records were found again when Duke Hua moved to Hanchow for the second time.
Duke Hua, also named Shih Fan and Wu Lang, was appointed Assistant Administrator
for Hu Huang (i.e. Hunan and Hupei provinces). Owing to the political troubles
between the Sung and the Yuan dynasties (13th century), he moved to Yen
Ping prefecture in Fujien province and then to Yung Ting county in Ting
Chou prefecture. He became the first ancestor of Liao in Hang Yung and
Yung Ting counties, He married a girl by the surname of Feng and had a
son called Chang. Chang had three sons, the eldest was Duke Ch'e, the second
Duke Cheng and the third Duke Min. The descendants of these three families
scattered all over the provinces of Fujien, Kwangtung and Kangsi. Forty
years ago, these descendants jointly produced a genealogical
According to the old record kept by the Tung Lin branch of the Liao
family clan in Hsiang Yuan in Ch'ing county in Fujien province, the first
ancestor of Liao was Duke Ch'ing, also named Shih Tan. He was the fifth
child in the family and came from Honan province. During the declining
years of the Tang dynasty, in Chao Tsung's reign (889-904 A.D.), he followed
the prince of Fujien Wang Shen-shih into Fujien province. He was first
appointment Deputy General and Regional Commandant. Later on, he was appointed
General and Exchange Intendant. In the 1st year of K'ai P'ing era (907
A.D.), during the Later Liang Period of the Five Dynasties, he resided
The family clan of Liao has a long history spanding over 2000 years, from the 1st ancestor in the Ch'un period 481 B.C. to the present day. Originated in the Central Region of China, these people multiplied and spread south to the provinces of Kangsi, Fukien and Kwangtung. They flourished and scattered about like branches and leaves. Many of them have migrated to overseas.
According to our 4000-year-old Chinese family and clan tradition, the clan record is regarded as a communal jewel among small and big clans alike. Without a family clan record, there will be no order of seniority of inferiority in the family clan and no way of tracing relationships.
Translated into English by,