Yes, sorry! “Chinese characters” is just too long to type sometimes.
I’m not quite sure what you mean by this. Hanyu Da Zidian is a large printed Chinese-only dictionary in which you would typically look a graph (i.e., Chinese character) up by bushou (aka radical). There is also a stroke count index in the back. The pronunciation info in my version (which has been converted to the more complex traditional characters) is in bopomofo; I imagine that in the original simplified PRC edition, the pron. info is in pinyin. This big tome contains many obsolete characters, and also mentions oodles that are surnames (noting that they are 姓, and perhaps giving a textual source). Many of these surnames are so rare or obsolete that I assume you’ll find yours in this book. If you are at a beginning level in Chinese, this book would be way too difficult, btw (I don’t know your level). At beginning to intermediate levels, a Chinese-English dictionary like the ABC, Far Eastern, etc. would be more appropriate, but while these contain uncommon surnames, they may not contain the ubelievably rare and obsolete ones.
I’m not very familiar with the CEDICT and the Unihan database, but I’m sure some of the other posters here can tell you how those rank in comparison to some of the good printed dictionaries we’re familiar with. Chances are that the only reason you’ve got characters that ‘aren’t in the dictionary’ is that you haven’t been turned on to the right dictionaries yet. I seem to remember the two you mention being deficient but don’t recall the details. We have good threads on that topic, and I’d suggest redirecting this part of the conversation to those threads – but the temporary lack of a search function means we’ll have to sift through the Learning Chinese list by hand to find them, and I’ve got to run right now. In the meantime check out this:
and perhaps direct the dictionary question there; this will help keep our threads organized.
Also, another poster once mentioned this Wiki list of surnames, which, while not complete, might be of some interest to you:
There is some other info online in this area too, e.g.,
On surnames, there is an interesting statistic cited here: [quote]The Chinese inhabitants of Taiwan include those with single surnames and those with double-barrelled surnames, and there are total of 1,027 surnames in all, over 800/o of which are quite rare. [/quote]
And try this too: