photos of direect relatives of Larry Lachance
Large oak tree Logo
What's in a Name Banner
Lucky Horseshoe with rabbits foot and Pepin dit Lachance name
At least 20 different surnames are associated with the name Pépin and, as a minimum, 10 different surnames are associated with the name Lachance!
image of a rose from Romeo and Juliet
And from this we learn
It matters what someone IS,
NOT what someone is called.
So join the army (of Lachances) and be all you can be!
image of where the Lachance name did not come from
Pet Shop Boys asked by PETA to change their name
I’m not sure about the “smell as sweet" part, barring a generous dousing with petunia juice, but I do know - A Lachance is a Lachance is a … Lashus or a Pépin or a Sanche or a Luck or…(huh?)
Did Somebody Ask Us To Consider Changing Our Name?
So, "Believe It or Not", PETA apparently did not like the name "Pet Shop Boys" and asked them to consider changing it!  OUR name does come from somebody, somewhere, either  making a choice or being told to choose. Sometimes they were asked, other times not. 
That choice may have been the decision of one of our own, or it could have been a representative of the church, a misspelling on a document or even a customs official who couldn’t speak French and wrote down the name as he heard it.  Adding to the difficulty of finding our ancestors is the fact that in Québec, the name started as Pépin. Then there is the name Caillot dit Lachance (a completely unrelated family most often from Missouri). And one more to throw a wrench in your search, the descendants of Alexandre Sanche born in 1734 in Spain!  Many of his descendants today are known as Lachance.
PEPIN - Barolette, Barolille, Cardonnet, De la Fond, Descardonnets, DuCardonnet, Lachance, (see below) Lashanse, Lachaussée, Lafond, Laforce, Laforge, Papin, Peppan, Phipin, Piper, Pippin, Refort, Senet, and  Tranchemontagne
LACHANCE - Lashon, Lashua, Lashus, Lewis, Pépin, (see above) Pépen, Sanche, Luck, Lashanse, Locke, Lucky
What's in a Name?
Happy farmers name their cows. Why? Because research out of Newcastle University shows cows with names produce more milk than those without.

In January 2009 - a study suggests that unpopular names may be linked to juvenile delinquency.

In June 2004, the Supreme Court handed down a decision in the case of Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial District Court of Nevada that says, when a police officer suspecting you of a crime stops you in the street and asks your name, you can be prosecuted for refusing to answer.
Obviously, there's a lot in a name!
So what's the story of ours?
Lachance I Am by Dr. Seuss
The Pépin Name says the name is French (Pépin) and English: from the Old French personal name Pepis, oblique case Pepin (introduced to Britain by the Normans).

Of uncertain origin, it was borne by several Frankish kings, most notably Pepin le Bref, father of Charlemagne, and remained popular throughout the early Middle Ages. Reaney and Wilson suggest that late-formed examples of the English surname may alternatively be from Old French pepin, pipin ‘seed of a fruit’, and thus a metonymic occupational name for a gardener or grower of fruit trees.
The Lachance Name
French: secondary surname for Pepin, from la chance ‘luck’, hence a nickname for a lucky person (or ironically, an unlucky one).
And So The Search Begins!
The Shipwreck of Don Juan - Eugene Delacroix - Painting
The Shipwreck of Don Juan - Eugene Delacroix - 1840
Location: Louvre, Paris, France
A Story I Heard (at the time) I Thought Believable
Sometime in the late 1970's I heard a story about how Antoine Pépin came to be known as "Lachance" (the lucky one).

As it was told to me, and the story was sketchy at best, Antoine Pépin was said to have arrived off the coast of Île d'Orléans during a violent storm. The ship allegedly wrecked before making landfall.

As the group from the ship made their way on shore they were greeted, and subsequently slaughtered, by the native population.

Antoine escaped and was, from that day forward, known as Pépin "called the lucky one" Lachance.
Pepin Name In History Book Cover
"The Pépin Name in History"
no longer available?
The Pépin Name in History
The book pictured above WAS available at Amazon. It was a part of the “Our Name in History” series. It was described as "a collection of fascinating facts and statistics, alongside short historical commentary, created to tell the story of previous generations who have shared this name".  (Larry's note: "It was NOT fascinating").

This book is was $29.95 (in February 2009), and of course, I ordered the book to add it to my library.  As of June 2018, it appears it is only listed at Ancestry UK and is possibly "out of print".

LARRY OPINES: My copy of this book arrived February 11th, 2009. It does have interesting facts, but these facts can be found anywhere.  If you get a wild hair and decide you might want a copy, my advice would be, don't waste your money!
The Source For The Most Likely Explanation (my opinion of course)
Léo & Louise (Guertin) Plamandon
Léo and Louise (Guertin) Plamandon in front of Christmas tree
To the memory of
Léo Plamandon - 02 DEC 1944 - 16JUL 2011
Alfred Philéas Lachance would pass on what he was told by his father down to the next two generations.

In January 2009, Louise Guertin, the granddaughter of Alfred Philéas, sent me an email with the longhand version of the story that Alfred had passed on to his children and grandchildren as had been passed to him by his father, Alexis Pépin dit Lachance who was born in 1843.

My thanks to Louise for passing this story on and keeping it alive. And, my thanks to Louise for all of the help with her line of the family.

After reading the story, and recalling what I had heard more than 30 years ago, I'd like to believe...
...this is the "real story"
Alfred Philéas Lachance
Photo - Alfred Phileas Lachance
This photo of Alfred, was graciously sent to me by Louise. 
Alfred - the son of
Alexis Lachance and Octavie Forand
Alfred Philéas was the son of Alexis Lachance (born 21 APR 1843) and Octavie Forand, (2 SEP 1843).  Alexis married Octavie in Webster, MA, 06 JUN 1862. Alfred would be the 5th great-grandson of Antoine, our ancestor.

Alfred Philéas (pictured here) was born 17 MAY 1878 at Saint-Alphonse (de Shefford), Québec, Canada and died in Gardner Massachusetts in 1971.

She also sent me her own photo (as noted), taken with her husband Leo.  Both photos were received in February 2009.
And Now..."The Rest of the Story"
What exactly IS the "rest of the story?"  Based on my own experience, there is no doubt that there exists a common thread of "Indian" (meaning Native or indigenous population) involvement.  It appears to be the central theme of both the story I heard in the mid-1970's and this story handed down to Alfred Lachance and related here.
Any time a story gets passed down from generation to generation, the next time the story is told,  some of the details change and a slightly different version is passed on to the next. Here we are, now 350 years plus later, trying to interpret a story that may be nothing like what really happened.  BUT, while the REAL events that inspired the story to be passed on may be very different, it is commonly believed that they must contain"some grain of truth".
For me, perhaps because it more fits what I believe had the possibility of actually happening based on historical facts, this story makes perfectly good sense.  Alfred heard this story more than 200 years after it occurred!  Certainly it has changed!  At least this time, it's in writing so the words shouldn't be changing over the next 200 years!   That is, of course, if someone keeps this website going in some form or fashion over the next 200 years..
Photo - Primative Animal Trap
A Primitive Animal Trap
Whether fish, bird, squirrel, beaver or moose, we would assume that in the days before farming alone could sustain ones existence, our ancestors had to rely on hunting and trapping to feed themselves and their families for survival.
So our story begins when it seems that Antoine Pépin had positioned his animal traps too close to the traps of a particular Indian so the Indian attacked and stabbed Antoine fourteen times and left him for dead.   Amazingly,  Antoine was able to crawl to the hut of an old Indian woman, who nursed him back to health.
Sometime later, the Indian and Antoine met at the Trading Post where they recognized each other and a fight ensued.  Antoine killed the Indian.  The angry members of the tribe set out to find Antoine and when they caught up with him, he surrendered and was brought before the chief.
After relating this story to the Chief, and showing him his scars, the Chief released him. Thus, when Antoine returned to his home and village, he became known as...
Antoine PÉPIN DIT LACHANCE (which translates to)
Pépin called the lucky one
coureur de bois telling a story to a group
A pioneer negotiates with the local population
The Story of
Antoine Pépin dit Lachance
image of story for PDF download link
Download a PDF copy today
A Little Extra Information | The Origin of French Surnames says: "In France, surnames were first used in about the 11th century to distinguish between people with the same given name, though it was centuries before their use was common"

And from "It was pretty easy to adopt any last name you wished until 1474, when the king decreed that all last name changes had to go through him. From then on, all name changes were recorded, making it easier to trace family history."

From a BBC article:  “The sources from which names are derived are almost endless: nicknames, physical attributes, counties, trades, heraldic charges, and almost every object known to mankind. (
Larry's Note: Politically Incorrect use of "mankind", now known as least for now!). Tracing a family tree, in practice, involves looking at list of these names - this is how we recognize our ancestors when we find them.”

From the Ancestor Search website, we find, and I have copied, the following: French Surname Origins

As in other countries,
French surnames developed from four major sources: (listed here)
Patronymic Surnames
A surname based on the first name of the father is the most common category of French last names. A French prefix or suffix is sometimes added to  given name to form a patronymic surname.
French Suffixes | meaning "son of", is attached to the end of a given name:
        "eau" as in Moreau - meaning "son of the Moor"
French Prefixes | meaning "son of", is attached to the beginning of a given name:
     ◉   "De" - Depaul - meaning "Son of Paul"
     ◉   "Fitz" - Fitzroy - meaning "Son of the King"
Most French patronymic surnames do NOT have a prefix or suffix:
     ◉    Girard
     ◉    Martin
image of the the Eiffel Tower
Occupational Surnames
A surname based on the person's job or trade is also common.
     ◉    Chevalier - Knight
     ◉    Fournier - Baker
     ◉    Lefevre - Iron Smith
Descriptive Surnames
A surname based on the person or personality, usually a nickname.
     ◉    Brun - A person with brown hair or complexion
     ◉    Petit - A small person or junior
     ◉    Lachance - A lucky or fortunate person
              (Larry's addition to the list)
Geographical Surnames
A surname based on a person's residence or former residence
     ◉    Desmarais - lives by the marsh
     ◉    Dupont - lives by the bridge
What we find is that it was not LACHANCE in the beginning, rather is was PÉPIN and it became LACHANCE following the arrival of our original immigrant ancestor, Antoine.  We know that it was  Antoine who was the first to be known as Pépin dit Lachance.

After Antoine, our name began its transformation, thanks to our ancestors’ reliance on a priest, notary, the government or somebody else to spell for them.  The result are the numerous corruptions of the spelling and choices in the original name. As our ancestors migrated from Canada to the US, where English was spoken, somebody else had to write down, what they thought they heard resulting in yet more changes.  And some of these changes we even made on our own because we wanted to assimilate with the American English speakers.
So you see, what really matters is who we are, not what we are called!
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