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Lachance - LaChance
La Chance

To "C" or not to "C" on a chalkboard

Not only have I tried to determine exactly how the name "Lachance" is to be spelled (as it was originally), with or without an uppercase "C", but I've always been curious about the "space" between the "La" and the "Chance" that is often found in the spelling of the name in the United States. Sometimes it is there, sometimes it is not. I have always written my name as one complete word, but I have NOT always used a lowercase "c". I do now!

Some of my research has led me to various original documents. For instance, my grandfather Antoine (Tony) signed his immigration application "La"c"hance", no uppercase "C".  In Sept 2001, I obtained a copy of my father’s birth certificate. On here I found the name spelled "La"c"hance".  Documentation reveals that it somehow got changed in Military records upon his enlistment in the Marine Corps.

Perhaps a response I received from
Larry Coderre of Canada may help to further explain the dilemma .
"In reply to your question about spelling:   In the early parish registers I have seen a large number of the people could not sign their names. By the 1880's and 90's some, but not all, could. As a result, the spelling of a name was left up to the priest, census taker or immigration officer. Often the same priest in the same parish would spell the same name differently from one entry to the next. In the Ottawa-Hull phone book there are just under two hundred (200) Lachances listed. Only those which are spelled entirely in capitals have a capital C. Hull is in the province of Québec and Ottawa (in Ontario) has a large French population. Incidently there are no Desjardins spelled with a capital J either although my wife, Lucille, says that she has seen the name spelled Des Jardins. I AM ONLY GUESSING but perhaps the capital C and the capital J was first used by an American immigration officer".
Writing for these pages is sometimes fun and other times just a reminder that the world changes with time.  In the not so distant, yet now historic, past, every household had these things delivered right to their door every year or more often.  Sometimes we would rip out the pages when we couldn’t find a notepad, or use them to hold the door open, sometimes we'd draw pictures all over them and even put them under our kid's butts so they can reach the dinner table! Certainly, back in the day, somebody probably used the pages as toilet paper. Yet, somehow, we even managed to use them as telephone books…what a concept. Even more amazing, if we wanted to get in touch with someone, or find the Maytag man (huh?) we’d even grab this thing and page through it to find a phone number!
What is most amazing is that some who are reading this don't know where the phrase "galaxy far, far away" came from or even what a telephone was, let alone a telephone book.  To think, today they are sold on E-Bay, sometimes for well over $100.  If I'd only known!
a scattered stack of telephone books
Getting back to the original dilemma - Jean-Marc Lachance of Canada also wrote:
"Lachance or LaChance?  Almost of the French speaking people use Lachance but it is frequent that the people living in US write LaChance. I suppose that it is a deformation introduced by the people living in the US. In English Chance means luck.  All we know is that in the first Act concerning Antoine Pepin (dit Lachance) in New France, in January 1655, he is called Pepin dit Lachance, but we don't know why. He was 18 years old and the Act is about a concession, by Louis d'Ailleboust, concerning pieces of land located in Sillery near Québec and also in Lauzon, in front of Québec, on the South shore of St-Laurence River."
The answer is ALL of them are correct!   
Whatever way you are writing your name IS the CORRECT way to write YOUR name!  If you ask me which way is the "original" way, then I'd have to say, based on the spellings in the parish registers from the 1600's, the name is all one word with NO Capital "C".
My Personal Choice

As for me, even though my birth certificate has the name spelled, "the American way"...I have decided that for me, personally, it is "correct" or, as it was "originally", with a small "c".   While visiting Québec during the summer of 2001 I decided to take a look at the local (Québec City) telephone book. Not only are there four full pages of Lachances listed, but not a single one has an uppercase "c". Guess this is just my own way of going back to my roots.

Spelling our name with a space between the La and the Chance will cause problems with sorting data files on computers.  Somebody in the US Passport Office decided to do just that on my passport even though the application, clearly, did not have a space.  I have experienced, first hand, questions from customs officials about the discrepancy.  In addition, when  you go to the ticket counter at the airport or the driver's license office or even your doctor, if you have a space in the name, and they go to look it up, if the user does not actually input the space there's a good chance your name won't be found.  Ahhhh technology...isn't it great!

For this website, there are NO spaces to make it easier to find our name.
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