IT is estimated that there are about 1.4 million people surnamed Ge in China, making it the 126th most common name in the country.
There are two early branches of Ge families originated from the primitive age. An offspring of the Yellow Emperor was granted the land of Ge, and thus taking it as his family name.
There was also a tribe named Ge in ancient times, the descendants of which also surnamed themselves Ge.
Then, there have been minorities shifting their surnames into Ge throughout Chinese history. A branch of Xianbei was recorded to rename themselves Ge in the rein of Emperor Xiaowen of Northern Wei Dynasty (386-534). And there are also Ges in minorities like E-lun, Manchu, Mongolian, Yugu and Tujia, the source of which cannot be traced.
The Ge family is thought to have originated primarily in Henan Province.
Traces were found in Sichuan Province by Western Zhou Dynasty (c.11th century-770 BC), and Anhui Province by Qin Dynasty (221-206BC). Frequent wars after Tang Dynasty (618-907) saw a great number of Ges migrating southwards. Today, there are Ge families in most regions in China, Jiangsu and Zhejiang having the most Ges.
One renowned Ge is Taoist Ge Xuan in the Three Kingdoms Period (220-280), credited as one of the four great Taoist masters in China. One of his offspring Ge Hong in Eastern Jin Dynasty (317-420) also had great Taoist renown. His book “Baopu Zi” was cherished as a Taoist classic.