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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016

Origins Available: English, French


The name Chance was carried to England in the enormous movement of people that followed the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Chance family lived in Essex. They were originally from Chansay, Normandy, and it is to their tenure of residence in this area that their name refers.

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Endless spelling variations are a prevailing characteristic of Norman surnames. Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules, and the introduction of Norman French added an unfamiliar ingredient to the English linguistic stew. French and Latin, the languages of the court, also influenced spellings. Finally, Medieval scribes generally spelled words according to how they sounded, so one person was often referred to by different spellings in different documents. The name has been spelled Chance, Chancey, Chaunceur, Channsy, Channsey, Chauncey, Chancy and many more.

First found in Essex where they held a family seat from very early times and were granted lands by Duke William of Normandy, their liege Lord, for their distinguished assistance at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 A.D.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Chance research. Another 153 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 1150, 1592, 1672, 1654, 1632, 1712, 1632 and 1719 are included under the topic Early Chance History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 99 words (7 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Chance Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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To escape the political and religious persecution within England at the time, many English families left for the various British colonies abroad. The voyage was extremely difficult, though, and the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving. But for those who made it, the trip was most often worth it. Many of the families who arrived went on to make valuable contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families reveals a number of immigrants bearing the name Chance or a variant listed above:

Chance Settlers in United States in the 17th Century


  • Elizabeth Chance, who arrived in Maryland in 1668
  • William Chance, who landed in Maryland in 1668

Chance Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • John Chance arrived in New York in 1710
  • Thos Chance, who arrived in Virginia in 1715
  • Will Chance settled in Georgia in 1735
  • Jane Chance who settled in Grenada in 1774

Chance Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Thomas Chance, aged 28, landed in Wilmington, Del in 1856

Chance Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • William Chance arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "katherine Stewart Forbes" in 1839
  • Louisa Ann Chance arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "katherine Stewart Forbes" in 1839
  • William Chance, aged 30, arrived in South Australia in 1853 aboard the ship "Mary Green"

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  • Wilmer Dean Chance (1941-2015), American Major League Baseball pitcher who played from 1961 to 1971
  • James Chance (b. 1953), born James Siegfried, American saxophonist, keyboard player, songwriter and singer
  • Greyson Michael Chance (b. 1997), American pop rock singer and pianist
  • Frank Leroy Chance (1876-1924), American Major League Baseball player
  • Merritt O. Chance, American Republican politician, Postmaster at Washington, District of Columbia, 1915-23
  • Joseph Bell Chance, American politician, Delegate to Texas Convention of 1833 from District of Washington, 1833
  • Homer Lee Chance, American politician, Member of Georgia State House of Representatives from Twiggs County, 1943-48
  • Genie Chance, American Democrat politician, Member of Alaska State House of Representatives 7th District, 1973-74
  • Frank Chance, American Democrat politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Ohio 8th District, 1880
  • N. W. Chance, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Minnesota, 1888

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  • Chance Family, England to America, 1668 to 1972, in Forty Eight States by Hilda Nancy Ersula Snowberger Chance.
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  1. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  2. Ingram, Rev. James. Translator Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 1823. Print.
  3. Humble, Richard. The Fall of Saxon England. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-987-8).
  4. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  5. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  6. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds. Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  7. Virkus, Frederick A. Ed. Immigrant Ancestors A List of 2,500 Immigrants to America Before 1750. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1964. Print.
  8. Burke, Sir Bernard. Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry: Including American Families with British Ancestry. (2 Volumes). London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  9. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  10. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  11. ...

The Chance Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Chance Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 22 April 2016 at 11:56.

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