1 Chinese 顾: from the place name Gu. Records of the this surname go back to the Xia dynasty ( 2205–1766 bc ), when there existed a state called Gu. Much later, during the Spring and Autumn period ( 722–481 bc ), there existed another state of Gu. Eventually, some descendants of the ruling class of both these areas adopted the place name as their surname.2 Chinese 谷: from a word meaning ‘valley’. During the Zhou dynasty ( 1122–221 bc ) there existed in the state of Qin a certain Viscount Fei Zi, a descendant of the legendary emperor Zhuan Xu of the 26th century bc . Viscount Fei Zi was granted the area Qin Valley, and his descendants later adopted the word gu ‘valley’, as their surname.3 Chinese 古: from the name of the grandfather of the virtuous duke Wen Wang ( 1231–1135 bc ), known as Gu Gong Tan Fu. The character for Gu, which also means ‘ancient’, was adopted by some of his descendants as a surname.
Dictionary of American Family Names © Patrick Hanks 2003, 2006.