Korean: there are two Chinese characters for this surname. The founding ancestors of all Korean Im clans were originally from China. Some sources indicate that there are 216 clans that use the most common character, but only two—the Naju Im family and the P’ŏngt’aek Im family—have actually been documented. The founding ancestor of the P’yŏngt’aek Im family, Im P’algŭp, immigrated to Korea from China during the Tang Dynasty and settled in the P’yŏngt’aek area. The Naju Im clan is said to be descended from the P’ŏngt’aek Im clan. Members of the Im clans which use this more common character are found throughout the peninsula. Although some sources indicate that there are 120 clans that use the other Im character, only two of these are documented: the Im clan of Changhùng and the Im clan of P’ungch’ŏn. The founders of these two clans are also from China. The founders of both the Changhùng Im clan and the P’ungch’ŏn Im clan came to Korea during the Koryŏperiod ( ad 918–1392 ), the latter while escorting a princess bride to the Koryŏ court. About fifty percent of the Ims bearing the less common character as a surname live in South Ch’ungch’ŏng province.
Dictionary of American Family Names © Patrick Hanks 2003, 2006.