NGUYEN Name Meaning and Origin

Getty / Jacques LOIC

Nguyen is of Chinese origin, from the Chinese ruan, a plucked string instrument. Nguyen was the family name of a major Vietnamese royal dynasty. It is said that during the Tran Dynasty in the 11th to 13th centuries, many members of the Ly family of the prior dynasty changed their name to Nguyen to avoid persecution.

Surname Origin: Chinese

Alternate Surname Spellings: NYGUYEN, RUAN, YUEN, YUAN

Fun Facts About the Nguyen Surname:

By some estimates, approximately 40 percent of Vietnamese people have the surname Nguyen, making it the most common Vietnamese family name.

Nguyen is, surprisingly, the 7th most common family name in Australia, the 54th most popular in France and the 57th most popular surname in America.

During the Tran Dynasty in the 11th to 13th centuries, many of the families of the prior dynasty courtesans - the Lys - changed their name to Nguyen to avoid persecution.

Famous People with the Surname NGUYEN:

  • Damien Nguyen - American actor
  • Scotty Nguyen - professional poker player

Genealogy Resources for the Surname NGUYEN:

100 Most Common U.S. Surnames & Their Meanings
Smith, Johnson, Williams, Jones, Brown... Are you one of the millions of Americans sporting one of these top 100 common last names from the 2000 census?

The Nguyen DNA Project
A DNA family project open to all individuals named Nguyen, of any spelling

The Genealogy of the Nguyen Dynasty
Traces the family history of the Tran Dinh branch of the Vietnamese Imperial Family.

Nguyen Family Genealogy Forum
Search this popular genealogy forum for the Nguyen surname to find others who might be researching your ancestors, or post your own Nuyen query.

FamilySearch - NGUYEN Genealogy
Find records, queries, and lineage-linked family trees posted for the Nguyen surname and its variations.

Cousin Connect - NGUYEN Genealogy Queries
Read or post genealogy queries for the surname Nguyen, and sign up for free notification when new Nguyen queries are added. - NGUYEN Genealogy & Family History
Free databases and genealogy links for the last name Nguyen.

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References: Surname Meanings & Origins

Cottle, Basil. Penguin Dictionary of Surnames. Baltimore, MD: Penguin Books, 1967.

Menk, Lars. A Dictionary of German Jewish Surnames. Avotaynu, 2005.

Beider, Alexander. A Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from Galicia. Avotaynu, 2004.

Hanks, Patrick and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford University Press, 1989.

Hanks, Patrick. Dictionary of American Family Names. Oxford University Press, 2003.

Smith, Elsdon C. American Surnames. Genealogical Publishing Company, 1997.

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