Chess History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms 

The name Chess is part of the ancient legacy of the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name was taken on by someone who worked as a cheese-maker or seller of cheese. The surname Chess is derived from the Old English word cese and the West Saxon word cyse, which both mean cheese. Occupational names frequently refer to the principal object associated with the activity of the original bearer, such as tools or products. These types of occupational surnames are called metonymic surnames. The surname Chess belongs to this class of names.

Early Origins of the Chess family

The surname Chess was first found in Norfolk, where they held a family seat from ancient times.

Important Dates for the Chess family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Chess research. Another 196 words (14 lines of text) covering the years 1273, 1279, 1279, 1332, 1366, 1379, 1597, 1500 and 1808 are included under the topic Early Chess History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Chess Spelling Variations

Before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago, spelling variations of names were a common occurrence. Elements of Latin, French and other languages became incorporated into English through the Middle Ages, and name spellings changed even among the literate. The variations of the surname Chess include Cheese, Chese, Chuse, Chouse, Cheser, Chesse and others.

Early Notables of the Chess family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Chess Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Chess migration to the United States

A great wave of immigration to the New World was the result of the enormous political and religious disarray that struck England at that time. Families left for the New World in extremely large numbers. The long journey was the end of many immigrants and many more arrived sick and starving. Still, those who made it were rewarded with an opportunity far greater than they had known at home in England. These emigrant families went on to make significant contributions to these emerging colonies in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers carried this name or one of its variants:

Chess Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • David Chess, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1807 [1]
  • John Chess, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1808 [1]
  • William Chess, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1808 [1]

Contemporary Notables of the name Chess (post 1700)

  • Philip "Phil" Chess (1921-2016), born Fiszel Czyż, Polish-born, American record producer and company executive, co-founder with his brother of Chess Records

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  1. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
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