The surname Shen is one of the 50 commonest surnames in China with its influence most felt in the Jiangsu and Zhejiang region. The surname Shen originated from the surname Ying, with its ancestor called Shishen, son of Emperor Ku who in turn was a descendant of the Yellow Emperor.
The Shishen clan later lived together with the Shaohao clan and was transformed by the eastern nationalities. It was therefore a Ying surname. Later they established a state Shen. When King Zhao of Zhou Dynasty went on a southern expedition the Ying-surnamed state Shen was exterminated and its descendants took the name of the state as their surname.
During the Xia Dynasty people established a state Shen of the Si surname. By the early Zhou the state Jiang conquered the Si-surnamed state Shen and its people migrated south to Shenlu of the Chu region and their descendants also changed their surname to Shen. In the early Western Zhou Dynasty the tenth son of King Wen was conferred in Shen (today's north Pingyu in Henan). In 506 AD the Ji-surnamed state Shen was annexed by state Cai and its posterity were then called with the surname Shen.
The Shen-surnamed are now inhabiting mainly in Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Henan etc.
By People's Daily Online