Light research into my surname, 駱

Recently, I started to think about my surname. We’ve all heard heard that some English surnames like Miller, Smith, Hunter, come from the occupation an ancestor had. And given my surname 駱 means camel, might there be an interesting story to that?

The Pinyin for 駱 is luo which might be mixed up with the far more common 羅 surname. In Cantonese, the pronunciation is lok which might be mixed up with more common 樂 surname.

Cantonese speakers with surname 駱 might Romanize (spell) the name as Lok or Loc. (I can’t say I have seen or am fond of the aesthetic of the latter.) Alternate Romanization that looks very Westernized is Locke (e.g., Gary Locke). Less common is the way my father’s branch of the family spells it – Lock.

There is some pride in having one of the big surnames. My mother’s surname is 周 she would tell me how it makes it onto the top 10 or top 50 list and she would sneer how uncommon mine is. I never understood it because had I an English surname, I wouldn’t like have a common surname like Smith or Jones.

It is not new to me the definition of 駱 as camel, singly or strung together with 駝, as in 駱駝.

It is also not new to me the pretty cool definition of 駱 as “white horse with black mane” because it seems to describe to me/us, our physical appearance, at least the paler ones of us, haha.

So maybe there is an interesting story related to a special horse with black manes in my deep ancestry…?

  1. A wise man called Jiang Ziya (姜子牙) is the descendent of mythical sovereign Shen Nong Shi (神農氏) who taught people how to farm, domesticate animals and use medical herbs. Jiang helped Ji Fa (姬發) establish the Zhou Dynasty (1134 – 256 B.C.) and was apppointed by Ji to rule a district called Yingqiu (營邱), present day Linzi county (臨淄縣) in Shandong province (山東省), which was renamed the State of Qi (齊國). Jiang was the first rule of Qi, also referred to as Grand Duke of Qi ((齊太公)).
    a. According to another source, the time range can be narrowed down to the Dong Zhou (東周) Dynasty (770 – 221 B.C.)
    b. Jiang Ziya is also known as Jiang Shang (姜尚) and some other names as Chinese will change their names throughout life. (Beats me why.)
  2.  Jiang named his son Jiang Luo (姜駱). Jiang Luo’s descendents for some reason adopted his first name as their surname. Thus it is said that “the name Luo came from the surname Jiang”. Thus it is also said the surname is about 2,800 years old.
  3. Another origin is that the Luo Ba Shi tribe of the Bei Wei Dynasty later changed their name to Luo.
  4. The “home town” of Lok is North West of Nei Huang in Henan Province.

Where is that in China exactly?

 

Finally, here is the couplet of surname Luo that I found.
I sent it to my father and he said it was gibberish. Then I told him it was as poem and it didn’t become any more clear because he didn’t know there were proper names in there.
My interpretation: Originally named Jiang Shang, Looking out from Nei Huang. Alternatively, it could be saying “hoping to leave Nei Huang” (Lok’s hometown)

源自姜姓,
望出內黃.

Sources:

  • Yutopian Online http://www.yutopian.com/names/15/15luo191.html
  • Asiawind http://www.asiawind.com/bb/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=1853
  • Sheik http://www.cantonese.sheik.co.uk/dictionary/characters/3665/
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