Shin (Korean surname)

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Shin
Hangul
Hanja ,,
Revised Romanization Sin
McCune–Reischauer Sin

Shin is a Korean family name. It is cognate to the Chinese family names Shen and Xin. According to the 2000 census in South Korea, there were 911,556 people carrying the Shin surname.

Clans[edit]

There are three Chinese characters for the Shin surname. Between these three characters, there are five different clans. Each Shin clan descends from a different founding ancestor. One of the Shin clans traces its origins to China. Members of the various Shin clans can be found throughout the Korean peninsula.

As with other Korean family names, the holders of the "Shin" family name are divided into various clans, each known by the name of a town or city, called bon-gwan in Korean. Usually that town or city is the one where the clan's founder lived. There are two lines of Shin: (1) Pyeongsan Shin and (2) Goryeong Shin. Although the two clans, Pyeongsan Shin and Goryeong Shin, share the same Chinese character, they are unrelated in heritage. The third line uses the Chinese character 辛.

Shrine of Shin Sung-gyeom in northern Daegu.

Pyeongsan Shin makes up about 70% of all those with the name Shin using the Chinese character 申. The clan's founder was General Shin Sung-gyeom, originally named Samneungsan without a family name, before being given a surname by King Taejo of Goryeo.

According to the family legend, one day when King Taejo and his generals went out hunting in near Pyeongsan, Taejo saw three geese flying above them, and asked his generals whether any of them can shoot the geese down. Shin Sung-gyeom volunteered and asked Taejo which one he should shoot. Taejo asked Shin to shoot the third goose by the left wing, and to Taejo's surprise, Shin completed the task. Taejo was highly impressed and gave Shin 300 gyul (ancient measurement of area) of local land, which became Shin Sung-gyeom's hometown.

Shin Sung-gyeom also saved the life of King Taejo of Goryeo during a disastrous battle with Hubaekje near present-day Daegu in the early 10th century. Taejo awarded General Shin the clan name Pyeongsang Sin, after his hometown, for his loyalty and bravery he showed in the battle. Other prominent members of this clan in more recent times include the 19th-century pansori writer Shin Jae-hyo.

Each year a number of people, who claim to belong to the Pyeongsan Shin clan, gather at the memorial shrine of Shin Sung-gyeom in the South-Korean province of Kangwondo. Prior to the Korean war, the original shrine was situated in the now North-Korean province of Hwanghaedo, where the clan land of Pyeongsan is situated.

The other well-known line is the Goryeong Shin, descending from Shin Suk-ju**, who was the lead scholar to work with King Sejong the Great in the development of Hangul, the Korean written language. Shin Suk-ju was also a high ranking government minister and belonged to the Hall of Worthies. The Goryeong Shin makes up about 17% of all those who carry the Shin name using the Chinese character 申. Three of five members of Shin Suk-ju's 16th generation are known to have immigrated to the United States in the 1970s. One descendant of the Shin's to travel to the US is a famous and scholarly physician named David Sheen. Another prominent member of the clan is Danjae Shin Chaeho, a 19th-century nationalist historian. (** A notoriety surrounding communication with Mal Joo Shin, Suk-ju Shin's younger brother, who asked about his brother's whereabouts in China at one time resulted from his admission of Norwegian ancestry instead of English aristocrat ancestry.)

List of Shins[edit]

Historical[edit]

Contemporary[edit]

See also[edit]