Surname Name Meaning, Origin, and Etymology
There are three possible origins of this surname. First, this is a local surname meaning “at the chase”, a name given to one who resided in the part of the park or forest known as the chase, which is an open piece of ground used for herding deer and other game, which was used as a hunting ground. One author notes that the difference between a forest and a chase is that the former belonged to the crown and the later belong to subjects. An old book, “Nelson’s Laws of Games” states that a chase is a “privileged place for the receipt of deer &c., being of a middle nature betwixt a forest and a park”. The name may have been given to someone who was a skilled huntsman or hunter, deriving from the Old French word chaceur or chaceour, or Middle English chase, meaning hunt. The Old French word chacier means to catch or seize. This surname became particular common in the United States.
Second, Ferguson believes that Chase, Case, Cheese, Choice, and Kiss are possibly different forms of verbs meaning “to choose”, coming from the Old Saxon words ciasan, ciesen, and ciosan, the Anglo-Saxon words cysan, ceosan, the Old Frisian kiasa, and the Old Norse kiosa, and that the likely etymon of Cissa or Chissa, who was the King of the South Saxons who came to Britian in 477 AD, and may ultimately mean the “chosen one” or “elected one”.
Third, another author notes that it can also derive from Southern France, where it was a name given to someone who lived in or by a house, likely the occupier of the most prominent house in the village or town, deriving from the Latin word casa (hut, cabin, or cottage).
Common spelling variations of this last name include: Chasey, Chases, Chaces, Chaise, and Chaises. Foreign equivalents include Jesse (Flemush), Jes (Dutch) and Jesche (German).
Early Bearers of the Surname
home of John Chase, West Newbury, MA
The earliest person recorded with this surname was Robert Chace who was documented in the Subsidy Rolls of Essex in 1327 AD. John Chase was recorded in 1393 AD in the Register of the Freemen of the City of York. William Chase was the mayor of Winchester in 1464 AD. Early marriages involving this surname John Chase to Hanna Tailor at St. James Clerkenwell in 1626, Richard Chase to Bridgett Monday at St. Michael in Cornhill in 1657, and John Chase to Ales Hammon at St. Mary Aldermary in 1567. A one Richard Chase was rector of Ellingham in county of Norfolk in 1746 AD.
History, Genealogy, and Ancestry
A gentle family with the surname Chase resided at Yartee, close to Chard, in Somerset in the 17th century.
William Chase Sr. was born in Chesham, Buckinghamshire, England in 1595. He married Mary (surname unknown) in about 1620 and with her had three children: William, Mary, and Benjamin, before he died in 1659 in Yarmouth, Plymouth in the American colony. His son Benjamin Chase was born in 1739 in Roxbury, MA and married Philip Sherman in 1673, together they left the following issue: Mary, Sara, Phillipa Ruth, Benjamin, Walter, and Bethiah. He died in 1730 in Freetown, Bristol.
Early American and New World Settlers
The book “Genealogical Guide to the Early Settlers” mentions two people with this last name. The first is Aquila Chase, born in 1618, of Hampton, who was a mariner from Cornwall England. He married Ann, daughter of John Wheeler and had a daughter named Sarah, before moving to Newbury, Massachusetts in 1646 where had had more issue: Ann (1647), Priscilla, Mary, Aquila (1652), Thomas (1654), John (1655), Elizabeth (1657), Ruth (1660), Daniel (1661), and Moses (1663). He passed away on August 29, 1670 at the age of 52. The second person mentioned is Thomas Chase, who was likely the older brother of Aquila. He married Elizabeth, the daughter of Thomas Philbrick, and had the following issue before he passed away in 1652: Thomas (1643), Joseph (1645), Isaac (1647), James (1649), and Abraham (1651).
The Chase family became involved in politics, law, and religion in the 1800s in the United States. Most descended from Aquila Chase II and Thomas Chase and lived in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
The fourth coat of arms shown above belonged to Walter Greenough Chase, M.D, of Brookline, Massachusetts, who was the son of Charles Greenough Chase. He was born in Boston, on May 30, 1859 and graduated from Harvard University in 1882. He married Frances Scott Hubbard of Wiscasset Maine, who was the daughter of Joseph Hubbard and Fannie Thaxter Scott. He descended from William Chase, a planter of Roxburry, Massachusetts, who with his wife Mary, came to New England in 1630 with Governor Winthrop. Edward Chase, son of Stephen and Margret, was baptized on July 8th, 1679 in the parish of Christ Church in Barbados. Other early settlers include Huldy Chase (Virginia 1652), Honora Chase (New England 1736), John Chase (Philadelphia 1745), and Thomas Chase (1738 Maryland).
The family mottoes include ne cede malis, meaning “yield not misfortunes”.
Famous people with this last name include: 1) Salmon P. Chase (1808-1873) who was the Secretary of Treasury under Abraham Lincoln, a U.S. Senator and Governor of Ohio, and a Chief Justice, 2) Thomas Chase (d. 1449) who was Lord Chancellor of Ireland, and 3) Martha Cowles Chase (1927-2003) who was a geneticist known for her research on DNA.