Koihime Musou Girls and Related Korean Clans, Part VII: Uhm (엄/嚴)

Most dominant: Yeongwol Uhm Clan (Yeongwol County, Gangwon Province)

Uhm (엄/嚴), sometimes romanized Eom or Ŏm is a common Korean Surname which means 'strict and rigid' in Sino-Korean Language, similar to Yán in Chinese Pinyin. Uhm Clan traced its origins from Zhejiang Province, PROC. During Spring and Autumn period, a monarch called Xiong Lu in the State of Chu in today's central China's Hubei Province was awarded with the title of King Zhuang of the Chu posthumously, and from then on, his descendants began to surname themselves Zhuang.

In Eastern Han Dynasty, Emperor Ming had a given name Zhuang. So he ordered the ordinary Zhuang-surnamed people to change their surnames to Yan in order to avoid the taboo of his personal name. This move contributes another part of surname Zhuang. Some people with surname Yan shifted back to surname Zhuang during Northern and Southern Dynasties. Thus Yan and Zhuang came from the same family tree.

According to historical records, Yan people originated from Tianshui in today's Gansu Province, Fengyi and Huayin in Shaanxi Province, northwest China. Later they moved southward, bringing surname Yan to the south.

Back in Korea, there are 144,425 people who bear the surname of Uhm, based on the 2015 Korean Republic Census - provided by Statistics Korea (통계청/統計廳/Tonggyecheong/KOSTAT). Hence, this clan is placed at 50th place in Korean Surnames List. The Yeongwol Lineage (영월 엄씨/寧越嚴氏), a lineage which is originated from Yeongwol County, Gangwon Province is the most dominant among Uhm Clan where this lineage consists of 139,681 people. 

Yeongwol Uhm Clan was founded by Uhm Im-ui (엄임의/嚴林義) a scholar who hailed from Chinese Tang Dynasty, lived during the reign of King Gyeongdeok Kim Heon-young - the 35th Monarch of Silla Kingdom. He granted a dukedom, known as Lord of Naeseong (내성군/奈城君), where Naeseong is an old name for Yeongwol County

Uhm Im-ui had three sons and these sons represented the branch clans (파/派) of Yeongwol Uhm Clan. Only the eldest son, Uhm Tae-in stayed in Yeongwol while his two younger brothers traveled to Korean Capital of Seoul-Hanyang and Hamgyeong Province respectively. The branch clans are shown below in chronological order:
  • First Son - Uhm Tae-in (엄태인/嚴太仁) = Duke of Gun-gi Branch (군기공파/軍器公派)
  • Second Son - Uhm Deok-in (엄덕인/嚴德仁) = Duke of Bog-ya Branch (복야공파/僕射公派)
  • Third Son - Uhm Cheo-in (엄처인/嚴處仁) = Duke of Mun-gwa Branch (문과공파/文科公派)

In addition, the clanhouses of Yeongwol Uhm Clan are detected in several areas such as:
  • Heungseo-ri, Jigok-myeon, Hamju County, Southern Hamgyeong Province, DPRK
  • Hasong-ri and Pagoe-ri, Yeongwol-eup, Yeongwol County, Gangwon Province, ROK
  • MunGok-ri, Buk-myeon, Yeongwol County, Gangwon Province, ROK
  • Buksang-ri and Jojeon-ri, Nam-myeon, Yeongwol County, Gangwon Province, ROK
  • Jinan-dong, Hwaseong City, Gyeonggi Province, ROK
  • Nogok-ri, Docheok-myeon, Gwangju-Gyeonggi, ROK
  • Seongbuk-dong, Seoul Seongbuk-gu, ROK

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