Explore the Family Name Wan

The meaning of Wan

1. Chinese: Mandarin form of the surname 萬, which means ‘ten thousand’ literally or ‘very great number’ figuratively: (i) from the personal name of Bi Wan (畢萬), an official in the state of Jin (located in present-day Shanxi province). He was said to be a descendant of Bi Gong Gao (known as Duke of Bi), the 15th son of the virtuous King Wen of Zhou (reined 1152–1056 BC). Bi Wan was later granted the fiefdom of Wei (魏), which in 403 BC became the state of Wei (located in present-day Shanxi, Shaanxi, Henan and Hebei provinces). Some of his descendants adopted Wei (魏) as their surname, while others inherited 萬 (Wan), his personal name, as their surname. (ii) from the personal name Wan (萬), style name of Rui Bo (芮伯, the Earl of Rui), an official of the Western Zhou dynasty (1046–771 BC), who was granted the fief Rui (located in Ruicheng in Shaanxi province). Some of his descendants inherited Rui (芮), the name of the fief, as their surname, while others inherited 萬 (Wan), his style name, as their surname. (iii) from the placename Wan (萬), the name of a fief (located in Juxian in Shandong province) granted during the Spring and Autumn period (770–476 BC) to an official in the ancient state of Chu. (iv) from the first element of the name of the Wan Si (萬俟) family, who lived in the downstream areas of the Yellow River during the Northern Qi dynasty (550–577 AD). (v) from the second element of the name of the Tu Wan (吐萬) family, who are members of the Xianbei ethnic group in northern China. 2. Chinese: Mandarin form of the surname 完, meaning ‘complete’ in Chinese: (i) said to be borne by the descendants of Huan Zhui, a grandson of the Duke Huan of Song (ruler of the state of Song, died 651 BC). (ii) from Wan (完), the name of Qu Wan (屈完), an official in the state of Chu during the Spring and Autumn period (770–476 BC). (iii) shortened form of the compound surname Wan-Yan (完顔), a surname from minority ethnic groups such as Juchen ethnic group in ancient northern China. 3. Chinese: Mandarin form of the surname 宛, meaning ‘tortuous’ in Chinese: (i) said to be traced back to Wan Hua (宛華) and Wan Qu (宛朐), two legendary figures prior to the Xia dynasty (2070–1600 BC). (ii) from the placename Wan (宛), the name of a fief (located in present-day Henan province) in the state of Chu during the Spring and Autumn period (770–476 BC). Also this surname had been recorded in the state of Qi, Jin and Zheng during the Spring and Autumn period (770–476 BC). 4. Chinese: Cantonese form of the surname 尹, see Yin 2. 5. Chinese: Cantonese form of the surname 溫, see Wen 1. 6. Chinese: Cantonese form of the surnames 雲 and 惲, see Yun 2 and 5. 7. Chinese: Cantonese form of the surname 宦, see Huan 1. 8. Chinese: variant Romanization of the surname 袁, see Yuan 1. 9. Chinese: variant Romanization of the surname 阮, see Ruan 3. 10. Vietnamese: possibly a variant of Van. 11. Scottish: variant of Wann. Some characteristic forenames: Chinese Hong, Yi, Qi, Qiang, Wai, Yiu, Yuk, Chien-Min, Fang, Hin, Jichun, Li, Man, Chung, Min, Yiping, Pak, Sik, Sung Man. Vietnamese Tin, Bang, Da, Hien, Hoi, Lan, Minh Quang, Sau, Tich, Tung, Yaping, Yuet.

Dictionary of American Family Names, 2nd edition, © Oxford University Press, 2022.

How common is the last name Wan in the United States?

Based on the Decennial U.S. Census data, the popularity of the surname 'Wan' has increased significantly over a decade. In 2000, it ranked at 6747, but by 2010, it had climbed to 5911, marking a 12.39% increase. The number of individuals bearing this surname also surged from 4605 in 2000 to 5831 in 2010, reflecting a 26.62% rise. When considering the proportion per 100k people, the data shows an increase from 1.71 in 2000 to 1.98 in 2010, highlighting an upward trend of 15.79%.

Proportion per 100k1.711.9815.79%

Race and Ethnicity of people with the last name Wan

Turning our attention to the ethnic identity associated with the surname 'Wan', the Decennial U.S. Census data reveals that the majority of individuals with this surname identify as Asian/Pacific Islander. In 2000, the percentage stood at 87.47%, which slightly rose to 89.97% by 2010, showing a change of 2.86%. Those identifying as two or more races saw a slight increase of 4.91%, going from 2.65% in 2000 to 2.78% in 2010. The percentage of those identifying as White decreased significantly from 6.80% to 4.08%, a 40.00% drop. There was a negligible presence of the Hispanic community in 2010 at 1.23%, which was not recorded in 2000. The Black community experienced a slight decrease from 1.95% in 2000 to 1.84% in 2010, marking a 5.64% reduction. Lastly, in 2010, 0.10% identified as American Indian and Alaskan Native, which was not recorded in 2000.

Asian/Pacific Islander87.47%89.97%2.86%
Two or More Races2.65%2.78%4.91%
American Indian and Alaskan Native0%0.1%0%

Wan ancestry composition

23andMe computes an ancestry breakdown for each customer. People may have ancestry from just one population or they may have ancestry from several populations. The most commonly-observed ancestry found in people with the surname Wan is Chinese, which comprises 82.0% of all ancestry found in people with the surname. The next two most common ancestries are Chinese Dai (4.1%) and Vietnamese (2.3%). Additional ancestries include British & Irish, French & German, Filipino & Austronesian, Manchurian & Mongolian, and Korean.

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Chinese Dai4.1%

Possible origins of the surname Wan

Your DNA provides clues about where your recent ancestors may have lived. Having many distant relatives in the same location suggests that you may all share common ancestry there. Locations with many distant relatives can also be places where people have migrated recently, such as large cities. If a large number of individuals who share your surname have distant relatives in a specific area, it could indicate a connection between your surname and that location, stemming from either recent ancestral ties or migration.

Based on 23andMe data, people with last name Wan have recent ancestry locations all within China.

RECENT ANCESTRY LocationPercentage
Guangdong, China59.60%
Fujian, China59.20%
Shandong, China57.40%
Zhejiang, China57.40%
Shanghai, China57.40%

What Wan haplogroups can tell you

Haplogroups are genetic population groups that share a common ancestor on either your paternal or maternal line. These paternal and maternal haplogroups shed light on your genetic ancestry and help tell the story of your family.

The top paternal haplogroup of people with the surname Wan is O-F11, which is predominantly found among people with East Asian & Indigenous American ancestry. Haplogroup O-F11 is descended from haplogroup O-M1359. Other common haplogroups include O-M159 and N-L665, which are predominantly found among people with East Asian & Indigenous American and East Asian & Indigenous American ancestry. Other surnames with similar common haplogroups are: Chu, Ong, Chao, Luo, Dong, Cao, Chang, Xie, Wang, Fan.

The most common maternal haplogroups of people with Wan surname are: D4, F1a1, M7b. These most commonly trace back to individuals of East Asian & Indigenous American and European ancestry.

wanPaternal Haplogroup Origins O-M1359
Paternal Haplo Image

Your paternal lineage may be linked to many of the Massim groups of Papua New Guinea

Haplogroup O2a is prevalent among Massim ethnic groups, including the populations of Airara, Nomanby, the eastern tip of the mainland, the Trobriand Islands, Gawa, Woodlark, the Laughland Islands, and western Calvados. While Papua New Guinea has been inhabited for over 50,000 years, the Massim may have arrived in the last 2,000 years. Today, these populations remain connected through a traditional island trading system called the Kula Ring. Under this exchange system, residents ensure that goods that are only available on some islands, but that are vitally needed in other islands, are shared among the island populations. Only Massim men participate in the Kula exchange system, and it is common for men to be away from home for months at a time when trading with men from other islands.

Your maternal lineage may be linked to the ancient people of the Indian subcontinent

While Haplogroup M is widespread throughout South and East Asia, it is more diverse on the Indian sub-continent than anywhere else in the world. The high degree of diversity of M in India is likely tied to its ancient arrival here nearly 50,000 years ago. In addition to M2, which is found throughout the subcontinent, there are dozens of haplogroups branching off of M that exist in India. These branches are often connected to specific regions, tribes, or ethnic groups. For example, haplogroup M18 is found among the Oraon peoples of eastern India and Bangladesh, while haplogroup M41 is common among the Pardhan speakers of eastern India, and haplogroup M31a can be found on the Andaman Islands, just off the southeast coast of India.

Maternal Haplo Image

What do people with the surname Wan have in common?

Spoiler alert: it's complicated. People with the same last name are usually no more genetically similar than a randomly sampled group of people from the same population. That said, people with the same surname are more likely to have similar ancestries than randomly sampled individuals. The reason is the tendency of people with similar cultural or geographical backgrounds to preferentially mate with one another. That's why people who share a surname may be more likely to share traits and tendencies in common than people within the general population. Check out the percentages below to see the prevalences of tastes, habits, and traits of people with your surname compared with prevalences among 23andMe users.



Chocolate Ice Cream

Prefers chocolate flavored ice cream over other flavors.

"Wan" Surname 34.1%

23andMe Users 41.3%



Cheek Dimples

Small indentations that appear on the cheeks when a person smiles.

"Wan" Surname 34.3%

23andMe Users 37.6%



Sugary Drink

Drinks one or more sugary drinks per day.

"Wan" Surname 13.7%

23andMe Users 21.1%




A severe headache characterized by intense pain, sensitivity to light and sound, and often accompanied by nausea and vomiting.

"Wan" Surname 9.2%

23andMe Users 16.4%

Are health conditions linked to the last name Wan?

The short answer is that, if there is an association between surname and health, it's usually more about your ancestry than your name. Individuals with a given surname are no more genetically similar than the general population but often have similar ancestries. The populations of people associated with those shared ancestries often have sets of genetic variations, also known as alleles, in common. Some of those alleles are associated with a greater likelihood of developing certain diseases.

Disease variant frequency by ancestry

Disease allele frequencies in populations associated with the surname Wan are shown below. Important Note: not everyone with a disease allele will develop these health condition

Late-Onset Alzheimer's Disease

ε4 variant

Alzheimer's disease is characterized by memory loss, cognitive decline, and personality changes. Late-onset Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of Alzheimer's disease, developing after age 65. Many factors, including genetics, can influence a person's chances of developing the condition. The 23andMe Health + Ancestry DNA test includes the most common genetic variant associated with late-onset Alzheimer's disease: the ε4 variant in the APOE gene. Learn more about Late-Onset Alzheimer's Disease

Chinese 18.2%

23andMe Users 25.5%