Explore the Family Name Wen

The meaning of Wen

Chinese: 1. Mandarin form of the surname 溫, meaning ‘warm’ in Chinese: (i) from Wen (溫), the name of an ancient state during the Western Zhou dynasty (1046–771 BC). During the Spring and Autumn period (770–476 BC) this state was annexed by the state of Di and the prince of Wen fled to the state of Wey (located around present-day Hebi and Xinxiang in Henan province). His descendants acquired 溫, the name of their original state, as their surname. (ii) from the placename Wen (溫), the name of a fief granted to Wen Ji (溫季), an official in the state of Jin (located mainly in present-day Shanxi province) during the Spring and Autumn period (770–476 BC). (iii) from the Chi Wen (叱溫), Wen Pen (溫盆), and Wen Gu (溫孤) families of the Xianbei ethnic group in northern China. (iv) from the personal name of Wen Sheng (溫昇), who went into exile and changed his original surname, Liu (劉), to Wen 溫 after his father, Liu Yicong (劉易從), an official in the Tang dynasty (618–907 AD), suffered persecution and death. 2. Mandarin form of the surname 文, meaning ‘literary, writing’ or ‘culture’ in Chinese: (i) from Wen (文), the posthumous title of King Wen of Zhou (1152–1056 BC), father of King Wu of Zhou (c.1187–1043 BC), who established the Western Zhou dynasty (1046–771 BC). (ii) adopted in place of another Chinese surname, Jing (敬, see Jing 5). The latter was part of the name of two royal personages, Emperor Gaozu of Later Jin (called Shi Jingtang, 石敬瑭, 892–942 AD) and Emperor Yizu of Song (called Zhao Jing, 趙敬). The latter was the grandfather of Zhao Kuang Ying, who established the Northern Song dynasty (927–76 AD). Since it was taboo in ancient China to bear the name of a member of the imperial family, people with the surname 敬 (Jing) had to change it to 文 (Wen). (iii) from Wen (文), personal name of Tian Wen, also called Meng Chang Jun (Lord Meng Chang), a famous prince of the state of Qi, known as one of ‘the four princes’ during the Warring States period (475–221 BC). (iv) from the personal name Wen Zi (文子), a general who lived in the state of Wey during the Spring and Autumn period (770–476 BC). (v) from the personal name Wen Shu (文叔), also known as Xu Wen Shu (許文叔), founder of the state of Xu (located in present-day Henan province) during the Western Zhou dynasty (1046–771 BC). 3. Mandarin form of the surname 聞, meaning ‘well-known, famous’ in written Chinese: shortened form of the compound surname Wen-Ren (聞人), the title of Shao Zheng Mao, a scholar who lived in the state of Lu during the Spring and Autumn period (770–476 BC), who strongly opposed Confucius’ ideas and who was murdered when Confucius worked as prime minister in the state of Lu. The descendants of Shao Zheng Mao inherited his title, 聞人, as their surname. After the Northern Song dynasty (960–1127 AD), some people shortened the surname to 聞. Some characteristic forenames: Chinese Chi, Han, Cheng, Jin, Li, Yen, Yong, Chen, Chih-Hung, Chin, Hong, Jian, Jung, Long, Huan, Hung, Hung Chi, Ly, Quan.

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

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

Based on the Decennial U.S. Census data, the surname Wen has gained popularity in the United States over the years. In 2000, Wen was the 8331st most common surname, but by 2010, it had risen to the 5878th spot, marking a 29.44% change in rank. The count of people with this surname also increased from 3655 in 2000 to 5870 in 2010, representing a significant increase of 60.6%. Accordingly, the proportion of individuals named Wen per 100k population rose by 47.41%, from 1.35 in 2000 to 1.99 in 2010.

Proportion per 100k1.351.9947.41%

Race and Ethnicity of people with the last name Wen

In terms of ethnicity, the majority of individuals bearing the surname Wen are of Asian/Pacific Islander descent, according to the Decennial U.S. Census data. This demographic represented 92.56% in 2000 and increased slightly to 95.04% in 2010. The percentage of those identifying with two or more races decreased over the decade from 1.97% to 1.33%. Similarly, the percentage of individuals identified as White dropped from 4.38% to 2.56%. In 2000, there were no Hispanics reported with the Wen surname, but the 2010 census data shows a slight increase to 0.56%. The percentage of Black individuals decreased to zero in 2010, down from 0.66% in 2000. There were no changes in the American Indian and Alaskan Native category.

Asian/Pacific Islander92.56%95.04%2.68%
Two or More Races1.97%1.33%-32.49%
American Indian and Alaskan Native0%0%0%

Wen 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 Wen is Chinese, which comprises 83.5% of all ancestry found in people with the surname. The next two most common ancestries are Korean (4.2%) and Chinese Dai (3.4%). Additional ancestries include Manchurian & Mongolian, British & Irish, French & German, Vietnamese, and Ashkenazi Jewish.

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Chinese Dai3.4%

Possible origins of the surname Wen

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 Wen have recent ancestry locations all within China.

RECENT ANCESTRY LocationPercentage
Guangdong, China54.90%
Fujian, China54.30%
Shanghai, China53.80%
Shandong, China53.80%
Zhejiang, China53.30%

What Wen 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 Wen is O-F46, which is predominantly found among people with East Asian & Indigenous American ancestry. Haplogroup O-F46 is descended from haplogroup O-M1359. Other common haplogroups include O-F8 and O-F11, which are predominantly found among people with East Asian & Indigenous American and East Asian & Indigenous American ancestry. Other surnames with similar common haplogroups are: Chou, Luo, Wan, Dong, Wong, Ong, Wei, Su, Yao, Chu.

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

wenPaternal 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 Han

Members of haplogroup D are found in both northern and southern Han Chinese populations at low to moderate frequencies. The Han people, who all share the same language and similar cultural practices, are the largest ethnic group in the world, with about 1.2 billion people. Historical evidence shows that Han people are descendants of the ancient Huaxia tribes that come from northern China, and Han language and culture only expanded into southern China in the last 2,000 years. The spread of Han people and culture from northern to southern China was likely driven by warfare and famine in the north.

Maternal Haplo Image

What do people with the surname Wen 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.

"Wen" Surname 23.7%

23andMe Users 41.3%



Cheek Dimples

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

"Wen" Surname 45.5%

23andMe Users 37.6%



Sugary Drink

Drinks one or more sugary drinks per day.

"Wen" Surname 19.6%

23andMe Users 21.1%




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

"Wen" Surname 6.2%

23andMe Users 16.4%

Are health conditions linked to the last name Wen?

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 Wen 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%