Show ContentsLance History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Lance is an ancient name whose history on English soil dates back to the wave of emigration that followed the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. The name comes from the Germanic personal name Lanzo, which was initially a short form of numerous compound names with the first portion land, which means land or territory. The name became popular among the Normans because of its association with the Old French word lance, which means spear. After the Norman Conquest, the Old English naming system gradually dissolved. Old English names became less common and were replaced by popular continental European names. The Normans imported a vast number of Norman French personal names, which largely replaced traditional Old English personal names among the upper and middle classes

Early Origins of the Lance family

The surname Lance was first found in Norfolk, where they held a family seat from the Middle Ages.

However, we did find a solitary early listing of the family in Penarth, Cornwall. "Penarth or Penair, which in the days of Hals belonged to the family of Launce, was by them sold to the Boscawens." [1]

Early History of the Lance family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Lance research. Another 140 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1196, 1237, 1273, 1516, 1663, 1662 and 1802 are included under the topic Early Lance History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Lance Spelling Variations

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 Lance, Laence, Lence, Lancie and others.

Early Notables of the Lance family (pre 1700)

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

Lance Ranking

In the United States, the name Lance is the 2,622nd most popular surname with an estimated 12,435 people with that name. [2] However, in France, the name Lance is ranked the 5,376th most popular surname with an estimated 1,000 - 1,500 people with that name. [3]

United States Lance migration to the United States +

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 Lance or a variant listed above:

Lance Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Gowin Lance, who sailed to Virginia in 1638
Lance Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Philip Lance, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1749
Lance Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • James Lance, who arrived in New York, NY in 1811 [4]
  • James Lance, who arrived in New York in 1820
  • John Lance, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1820
  • James Lance, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1846
  • John Lance, who settled in Philadelphia in 1852
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Lance migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Lance Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • William Thomas Lance was a printer in Montreal in 1891

Australia Lance migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Lance Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Richard Lance, aged 18, who arrived in South Australia in 1857 aboard the ship "Royal Albert"

Contemporary Notables of the name Lance (post 1700) +

  • D Jeffrey Lance, American lawyer who served in the state administration of Missouri
  • Peter Lance, American five-time News & Documentary Emmy Award winning journalist and author, recipient of a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award
  • Major Lance (1939-1994), American R&B singer
  • Leonard J. Lance (b. 1952), American politician, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from New Jersey (2009-)
  • Thomas Bertram "Bert" Lance (1931-2013), American businessman, 23rd Director of the Office of Management and Budget (1977)
  • Leslie E. Lance, American Republican politician, Candidate in primary for Michigan State House of Representatives 106th District, 1974
  • Leonard A. Lance, American Democratic Party politician, Candidate for New York State Assembly from Jefferson County, 1919
  • Leonard Lance (b. 1952), American Republican politician, Member of New Jersey State Senate 23rd District, 2002-; U.S. Representative from New Jersey 7th District, 2009-
  • Dowe Jefferson Lance (1916-2002), American politician, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri, 1961-62
  • Donald Lance Jr., American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Ohio, 1996
  • ... (Another 9 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

  1. Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print
  2. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  4. 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) on Facebook