Wikipedia:Today's featured article/December 12, 2005

The Yuan character

Yuan is a common Chinese surname, ranked 33rd in China by population. It originated from a noble family of the ancient state of Chen, in what is now eastern Henan province. From the Han Dynasty onwards, the name has been associated with two aristocratic clans, that of Ru'nan and Chen. Historically, the name has been fast growing among Han Chinese, and has also been taken up by a number of non-Chinese ethnic groups. The surname is now held by more than 6.5 million people worldwide. Although growth has tapered off in the past six centuries, the Yuan name is still relatively widespread throughout China, as well as among overseas Chinese, with heaviest per capita concentrations in the Yangtze Delta region of central coastal China. Because that area has historically exhibited high clan consciousness, there exist a large number of Yuan genealogies, most of which are now held in public institutions. Renewed interest in ancestry among Yuan clansmen has largely been encouraged by the PRC government.

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