Family name origins & meanings
- Korean : there are two Chinese characters for this surname, covering sixteen clans. The smaller clan is the only clan to use one of the two Chinese characters, and it has only one or two households. The remaining clans all descend from a common ancestor, Song Chu-ŭn, who seems to have migrated from Tang China to Korea sometime during the Shilla period. Sixty percent of the Songs live in southern Korea.
- Korean (Sŏng) : there are two Chinese characters for the surname Sŏng, but one of them is registered for just a single household. Only the common Sŏng clan, the Ch’angnyŏng clan, is treated here. This was founded by Sŏng In-bo just prior to the establishment of the Koryŏ kingdom in 918. According to legend, Sŏng In-bo died in Seoul. His son set out to transport his father’s body back to Ch’angnyŏng, but, the weather being poor, he decided to stop for the night and finish the journey in the morning. When he awoke, he discovered that his father’s body was missing. Upon investigation, he found that a tiger had dragged the body to a secluded grave site in the mountains near Ch’angnyŏng. It was there that the son buried his father and established his home. Many of the members of the Sŏng clan today live in the Ch’angnyŏng area of Kyŏngsang province.
- Chinese : from a place name, the state of Song. After the Zhou overthrew the corrupt king of the Shang dynasty, Zhou Xin, in 1122 bc, the new Zhou dynasty granted the state of Song to the overthrown king’s half-brother, Wei Ziqi. His descendants eventually adopted the place name Song as their surname. This name was that of the Song dynasty, (960–1279), and in more recent times was borne by the powerful Soong siblings: T.V. Soong, once one of the richest men in the world; Soong Ch’ing-ling, wife of Sun Yat-Sen; and Soong Mei-ling, wife of Chiang Kai-shek.