September 10, 2015


Vance ~ Marsh ~ Old English

Years ago, I was in love with all names that started with V. We lived near a street named Vance, and I thought I'd just found the perfect baby name. Vance manages to be unusual and traditional at the same time, and with its familiar sound and one-syllable appeal, I still think Vance is pretty close to perfect.

History and Modern Appeal
Vance is an English surname that's full of personality and tradition. It comes from the Old English word fenn, describing a marsh or swamp. It's been a staple in America as long as we have records, however, it's also remained rare. My guess is that because it's such an appealing surname, it was often chosen to honor family (perhaps the mother's maiden name) through the years.

Vance is perfectly on par with Chance or Lance, two names that feel pretty casual. And while it definitely strikes a chord with parents looking for short-and-sweet names, Vance holds on tightly to its proper English heritage, and the nickname Van makes it feel even more formal. Throw in the fact that this name sounds like an alternative to the traditional hit Vince (via Vincent), and it becomes very clear why this name feels like a classic.

Despite its low popularity, Vance is a versatile and traditional choice that's never seemed to fall out of use in America. Today, it sits in the high 800s and is falling a bit.

  • Van (also a nickname for Ivan or Evan)
Famous Namesakes & Celebrity Babies
  • Vance Baldwin, son of Chyna Phillips and William Baldwin
  • Vance Joy, Australian singer/songwriter
  • The Legend of Bagger Vance, a book and movie

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