1 Chinese 洪: from a word meaning ‘water’ or ‘flood’. During the time of the emperors Yao and Shun in the 23rd century bc , there was a clan known as the Gonggongshi. They took the name Gong as a surname, but in order to escape their enemies, needed to change the character for their surname; by the addition of a component meaning ‘water’, the name was changed to Hong. Another legend provides a more colorful account: the Gonggongshi were a warrior people, and were able to bring about a flood. However, the emperor Yu succeeded in establishing flood control, and he banished the Gonggongshi. Descendants, in order to commemorate the ability of their ancestors to cause floods, changed their name from Gong to the word for ‘flood’, Hong.2 Chinese 康: Cantonese variant of Kang 1.3 Chinese 项: variant of Xiang 2.
Dictionary of American Family Names © Patrick Hanks 2003, 2006.