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

Origins Available: English, French

Where did the English Chance family come from? What is the English Chance family crest and coat of arms? When did the Chance family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Chance family history?

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
  • John Barnes Chance (1932-1972), American composer
  • Britton Chance (b. 1913), American biophysicist
  • Mr. William George Chance (d. 1914), British Staff Steward from United Kingdom who worked aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking on May 29th 1914


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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. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  2. Thirsk, Joan. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
  3. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  4. Virkus, Frederick A. Ed. Immigrant Ancestors A List of 2,500 Immigrants to America Before 1750. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1964. Print.
  5. 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).
  6. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  7. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  8. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  9. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  10. Dunkling, Leslie. Dictionary of Surnames. Toronto: Collins, 1998. Print. (ISBN 0004720598).
  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 13 October 2015 at 16:49.

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