Soo Yuen

The Soo Yuen Benevolent Association was founded almost two centuries ago as a mutual support organization for the Fong, Kwong, and Louie families, which share a common origin. Even now, many years later, the purpose of the association is identical. Soo Yuen branches all around the world have aided their communities and the Chinese diaspora by providing crucial services such as scholarships, aid, and free meals. The San Francisco Soo Yuen Benevolent Association is committed to doing the same.

The Story of Fong, Kwong, and Louie

Since antiquity, a person was given a family based on his/her birth; otherwise the person’s place of birth determined the family name. In any case, a person’s family name can always be traced. Therefore, our common family names – Louie, Fong and Kong – how these came about and how they branched from one name to three - can also be clearly ascertained.

Because of the long time span, there are many gaps, and available documents and books of genealogy, indeed, are scattered over numerous locations through the Chinese provinces and countires. Nevertheless, we as a collective family have always maintained the view that we are from the same ancestry.

By examining these ancient documents as well as Chinese historical records, we discovered that during the time of the First Emperor of China, Huang Di, a member of his cabinet was a man named Louie Goan. His renown was the equal of the two other members of the inner court, Yu Fu and Chi Bo, who are known for starting Chinese medicine. This is the origin of the Louie surname. This fact is supported by the genealogy records of the Fong family for Pu-tien County, Fujien Province. It states: the Fong surname started as Louie who was the son of Emperor Yu-wang, the 8th generational grandson of the spiritual farmer. This man has assisted Huang Di and subdued the barbarian Chi-you, and was given feudal land in a place called Fong Shan, thereby starting the Fong surname. This is similar to a man named Shun Zhu-Liang who became the Lord of Yeh, and many of his progenies took on the surname Yeh.

Other relevant sources include books from the Jun dynasty, which record that of Huang Di’s 25 sons, all retained the Emperor’s surname except two - Chi Yang and Yee Gu, who had adopted their own surnames. Ching Yang was a nephew related to the Fong-Louie family, and a note states that Fong-Louie came from Sai Ling. It points out that the Yellow Emperor had married a woman from the Sai Ling family, called Louie Jo, and Ching Yang was one of her sons. Louie Jo’s surname, though written differently in Chinese, is the same sound as our surname Louie, creating the multiple-character surname, Louie-Fong.

In examination of popular literature throughout the ages, all Louie surnames are noted as being from Louie-Fong origins, while all Fong surnames are similarly noted as progenies of the Fong-Louie lineage. There are clear evidences that Louie and Fong, though different, are from the same source.

Today, the genealogy book of the Fongs in the Dan-quei district of Nan Hai County still states that they are of the Fong-Louie lineage, and it cautions future generations to always bear this fact in mind.

The Fong lineage attained prominence during the Tang dynasty, under Emperor Hsi Tsung. A Fong Yun Fu attained the rank of Chief of Staff in the military, and he spearheaded the defeat of the rebel Huang Chao. He was promoted to Court Minister, and had seven sons: Yan Kang, Yan Nian, Yan Fan, Yan Yuan, Yan Ying, Yan Hwei, and Yan Tao. The fifth son, Yan Ying, had three sons of his own. The eldest, known as Yee Ping, had four sons: Yee, Rang, Chang, and Chun; all were prominent members of the Court. The fourth son Chun passed the imperial examination and attained first rank status. He was appointed governor of the capital city by Emperor Gao Tsung of the Song dynasty. The Emperor also bestowed upon him a princess, and gave him the title of Lord of Hsun City. Further, the Emperor bestowed upon him a new surname, Kwong. He continued to advance in the imperial court system, and ultimately attained the position of Royal Mentor of the Crown Prince.

During the time of Emperor Ning Tsung, barbarian forces at the northern border were at war, and Kwong advised the Emperor that the most prudent course of action would be to entertain one force, the Jin, and to attack the other one, the Yuen. This sound advice was somehow not recieved well by the Emperor, probably due to meddling by certain evil factions in the court which took advantage of the situation to incriminate him on false charges.

He fled and took his family south, thereby starting the Kwong lineage in the southern Chinese provinces. The Kwong family genealogy states: our Kwong name came from the Fongs.

These historical records conclusively prove that the Louie-Fong-Kwong triple surnames are from the same source, and that they had branched off into three over the ages.

During the time of Emperor Dao Quang of the Ching dynasty, the Soo Yuen Family Schoolhouse was established in 1846, in the city of Sui-kow. It is called Soo Yuen because the word Soo means “tracing back”, while the word Yuen means “the source”. It had a deep and subtle meaning which all Louie-Fong-Kwong progenies should clearly understand. Respect towards this unique origin, and putting forth effort to create harmony within the three branches should always be foremost in our mind. If we do so, we shall prosper.

– Fong Bing Yiu, 1922