I can trace my family name (Chance) back to the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Were any records kept (do they survive?) of French nobility around or before this time? Or is it a known dead end for research?

The earliest documented person was Chauncey de Chauncey, born around 1035 in or near Canchy, Departement de la Somme, Picardie, France (that may be the name today).

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    Worth noting that the invaders were the Normans, a colony of Vikings from Norway and Denmark who had settled in what is now northern France, but were quite distinct from the people or ruling nobility of "France proper" (ie the remains of the Frankish / Carolingian empire).
    – IanF1
    May 7, 2018 at 14:59
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    Out of interest, what form did the surname Chance take in the earliest records you found?
    – IanF1
    May 7, 2018 at 15:11
  • I would say that the same sources that were available for the genealogy of nobles in 1100 would be available, to a lesser degree, in 1000.
    – MAGolding
    May 7, 2018 at 18:12
  • Do the Capetians count, or are you only interested in non-royal families? Also, there apparently is a wiki entry on the topic: fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/… May 7, 2018 at 18:24
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    It's necessary to remind people that everyone is descended from Charlemagne.
    – Spencer
    May 7, 2018 at 23:05

1 Answer 1


The clue provided by Denis de Bernardy in a comment answers this question. Yes, the Grand Armorial de France of Henri Jougla de Morenas documents several noble families that predate 1066. As justCal points out, the volumes of this works are indexed on the French Wikipedia.


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