Meaning and Origin of: Pak

Family name origins & meanings

  • Korean : there is only one Chinese character for this surname, which is the third most common in Korea, and can be found in every part of the peninsula. The Pak clans claim no founding ancestors from foreign lands. Although some sources indicate that there are 270 Pak clans, only 44 of these can be documented. All Pak clans spring from one common semi-mythological ancestor named Pak Hyŏkkŏse. Before the establishment of the Shilla Kingdom, the southern tip of the peninsula is said to have been ruled by six elders who led the six tribes which inhabited that part of the country. In answer to their prayer for a leader, Pak Hyŏkkŏse arrived at the foot of a distant mountain in 69 bc inside a golden gourd-shaped egg. When the egg was opened, Pak Hyŏkkŏse emerged and, after taking a wife (who was born on the back of a dragon), established and ruled the new Shilla kingdom. Supposedly, the surname Pak denoted either the gourd-shaped egg in which the youth was found or the light which is said to have radiated from the boy’s head (the word pak in Korean can mean ‘gourd’ or ‘to shine brightly’).
  • Dutch : probably an occupational name for a rider or driver of pack animals (see Packman).