Kim Name Meaning

Korean: there is one Chinese character for the surname Kim. Kim is the most common Korean surname, comprising about 20 percent of the Korean population. According to some sources, there are over 600 different Kim clans, but only about 100 have been documented. Kims can be found in virtually every part of Korea. The two largest Kim clans, the Kim family of Kimhae and the Kim family of Kyongju, are descended from semi-mythological characters who lived two thousand years ago. According to legend, the Kimhae Kim family founder, Kim Suro, came in answer to a prayer offered by the nine elders of the ancient Karak Kingdom. In 42 ad, these elders met together to pray for a king. In answer to their prayer, they were sent a golden box containing six golden eggs. From the first egg emerged King Su-ro, Karak’s first king. The other five eggs became the five kings of Karak’s neighboring kingdom, Kaya. The founder of the Kim family of Kyongju, Kim Al-ji, had similar origins. In 65 ad the king of Shilla, T’alhae, heard a strange sound from a forest near the Shilla capital, Kyongju. On investigation he found a crowing white rooster standing next to a golden egg. From this egg emerged Al-ji, founder of the Kyongju Kim family and subsequent king of the Shilla Kingdom. Because Al-ji emerged from a golden egg, King T’alhae bestowed upon the child the surname Kim, which means ‘gold’. It is estimated that about half of the one hundred or so Kim clans of modern Korea are descended from the Kyongju Kim clan. Swiss German: unexplained.

Source: Dictionary of American Family Names ©2013, Oxford University Press

Similar surnames: Im, Kil, Ki, Kye, Rim, Kam, Yum, Lim, Kibe, Kihm

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Kim Family Origin

Where is the Kim family from?

Kim Family Occupations

What did your Kim ancestors do for a living?

In 1881, a less common occupation for the Kim family was Stone Dyker. The most common Kim occupation in the UK was Dressmaker. 25% of Kim's were Dressmakers. Dressmaker, Gardner Dom Servant and Mercantile Clerk Metal were the top 3 reported jobs worked by Kim.

View Census data for Kim | Data not to scale

  • Dressmaker

  • Gardner Dom Servant

  • Mercantile Clerk Metal

  • Stone Dyker


Census records can tell you a lot of little known facts about your Kim ancestors, such as occupation. Occupation can tell you about your ancestor's social and economic status.

Kim Historical Records

What Kim family records will you find?

Census Record

There are 22,000 census records available for the last name Kim. Like a window into their day-to-day life, Kim census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

Search 1891 UK census records for Kim

Passenger List

There are 43,000 immigration records available for the last name Kim. Passenger lists are your ticket to knowing when your ancestors arrived in the UK, and how they made the journey - from the ship name to ports of arrival and departure.

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Draft Card

There are 9,000 military records available for the last name Kim. For the veterans among your Kim ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

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Kim Life Expectancy

What is the average Kim lifespan?

Between 1948 and 2004, in the United States, Kim life expectancy was at its lowest point in 1959, and highest in 1971. The average life expectancy for Kim in 1948 was 40, and 72 in 2004.

View Social Security Death Index (SSDI) for Kim

An unusually short lifespan might indicate that your Kim ancestors lived in harsh conditions. A short lifespan might also indicate health problems that were once prevalent in your family. The SSDI is a searchable database of more than 70 million names. You can find birthdates, death dates, addresses and more.

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