Lu: a noble name from history's past

IT is estimated that there are about 1.5 million people surnamed Lu in China, ranking it the 115th in terms of population. The number of Lu accounts to about 0.12 percent of Chinese society.
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IT is estimated that there are about 1.5 million people surnamed Lu in China, ranking it the 115th in terms of population. The number of Lu accounts to about 0.12 percent of Chinese society.

There are generally three major sources of Lu as a family name. A major branch is derived from the Jis as royal family in the Zhou Dynasty (11th century-256 BC). A branch of the family was granted the Lu Kingdom, which was conquered by Chu Dynasty in 256 BC during the Warring States Period (475-221 BC). Some of the royal descendants, as well as some residents, chose Lu as their surname to commemorate the kingdom.

Another big source of the Lu name in China is from a minority group called Wu Huan who once dwelled in north China during the Eastern Jin Dynasty (AD 317-420). A lot of the Wu Huan people chose Lu as their surname in Chinese. The Lu moniker also exists in minorities like Man, Wa, Yi, Bai, Miao, Tujia, Buyi and Korean in China.

The Lu Kingdom was located in part of today’s Shandong, Jiangsu and Anhui Provinces, where the Lu family originated. Lu gradually moved to Shaanxi Province during the Qin (221-206 BC) and Han Dynasties (206 BC-AD 220). There was a Lu family with its members holding high positions in the royal court through generations, and became an influential clan named “Fufeng Lu Clan”.

Some Lus started to migrate to Xincai Region of Henan Province where another influential clan named “Xincai Lu Clan” was formed. And the family of famous general Lu Su (AD 172-217) also contributed to prosperous Lu clan in Anhui Province at the end of Han Dynasty. Here was a big southward migration of the Lu family in the Jin Dynasty and traces were widely found in south of the Yangtze River by Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907).

Lu was also part of a government-ordered migration during 1370 and 1417 in Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), guiding people to deserted land to restore agriculture and economy after wars. It was called “Big Locust Immigration” as the migrants were expected to collect promised fees and complete related paperwork at the big locust of Hongtong County in Shanxi Province. Many were led to Shandong, Henan, and Hunan Provinces and Beijing and Tianjin in the process.

The population of Lus is widely scattered in China today, while those in Shandong and Anhui Provinces accounts to about 40 percent of the total.

Celebrities in the Lu family include Lu Gong, a prime minister in Eastern Han Dynasty (AD 25-220) and Lu Su, a general at the end of Eastern Han Dynasty.

Legend goes that Lu Gong was such a great administrator that there were three weird phenomenons in the region he ruled — no insects entering, wild birds become domestic, and even children had a merciful heart. There was a clan of Lus named itself “The Three-weird Clan” as commemoration to the official.

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