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CHANCE Family History

This most interesting surname is of Old French origin, introduced into England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The derivation is from a nickname for one who had good fortune or luck, or perhaps to someone who survived an accident by some remarkable piece of luck, from the Old French "cheance", Middle English "chea(u)nce", fortune, luck, accident. The name may also have been given to an inveterate gambler. The surname, first recorded in the early 13th Century (see below) is also found as "Chaunce" in the modern idiom. The creation of surnames from nicknames was a common practice in the Middle Ages and many modern-day surnames derive from medieval nicknames referring to personal characteristics...

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