The names Korean family members are given are often selected by the whole family and are related to current events, or something the family experienced during the family history. Like many Asian countries, names Korean children are given aren't in the order of English names. The last name, or family name goes first, and then the given name comes second. The family names Korean people have are important, the family name is what it is all about in Korea, and even more so in small communities.
It's said that the names Korean families have are used again and again. There are only about two hundred and fifty family names, so the names are basically recycled. Many believe that the reason there is only two hundred and fifty family names is because they are all related somehow, but as time has gone on it's been proven this probably isn't the case. Luckily, the Korean people are good at keeping their family trees straight, so people can figure out exactly whom they are related to and where they came from. Knowing the names Korean families have and where they've come from can be important when two young people meet and fall in love. Because there are only two hundred and fifty family names, it is possible that the two will have the same last name so it would be necessary to make sure that they aren't from the same family.
The whole family, as stated above, usually chooses Korean baby names. The mother and the father and the grandparents usually have the most input. If a significant event doesn't help in the naming the child, a name is often picked for its meaning. Unlike English names, many names Korean parents choose are chosen not for the name, but for it's meaning which makes it that much more special. Because the names are picked for the meaning, they are usually much more original and unique than many English names. Because there are only so many family or last names available, it makes sense that families would want to choose first or given names that are a bit more unique.
Because there are only a limited number of family names, there are common Korean names that just about everyone knows. The names Korean people use are often changed when they come to the United States, yet it's usually changed slightly for pronunciation or translation reasons. Yet, even with the changes there are a very limited number of names. Some of the most common Korean names are Kim, Lee, and Park. While these spellings are usually the changes variations, they mean the same things in Korean.
The names Korean families have are often quite interesting if you trace the heritage back to the beginning. Each family chose their own name, and for centuries now those same names have been used again and again. It's quite awesome to see a culture that is so proud of its roots that it doesn't change things over time. Other cultures give in and make changes to fit in, to change things up, yet the names Korean people have are able to stand firm for years. It's simply amazing, and something all cultures should look to for some inspiration.