Koreans did not use surnames at first but Chinese-based family names became common among the upper and middle classes under the Go-Ryu dynasty. Until the C18th, only about half the population had surnames. There are only about 300 or 400 family names used in Korea of which Lee, Kim and Park are particularly common, accounting for almost half the population. People with the same surname are divided into branches often identified by a placename (about 280 in the Kim family and around 5 in most others) which could not intermarry until recently when the Korean Supreme Court made a ruling that people from the same clan or bon can marry outside Korea. Women do not take their husband's surname.
This collection of names was compiled by Kate Monk and is ©1997, Kate Monk.
Copies may be made for personal use only.
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