As many of you are aware, the main goal of William Balbirnie's book in 1860 about Irish Vances was to connect all the Vances then living in Ireland to the Rev. John Vans of Kilmacrenan, whom Balbirnie believed was their common ancestor. In clinging to that focus, Balbirnie ignored or discounted other Vans/Vance immigrants that he knew about like George Vance who came to Ireland around 1662 (see our post about George Vance).
But researchers since Balbirnie have also uncovered other early Vances (and variants of the name) mentioned in Irish records that William Balbirnie never knew about. Two from even before the Rev. John Vans, for instance are mentioned in what is known as the Tudor Fiants.
The Fiants were writs issued in early modern Ireland by the chief governor to the Court of Chancery mandating the issue of letters patent - basically government commands regarding appointments, pardons, grants, and the like. The most complete of these that were indexed date from the time of the Tudor royal dynasty - or basically from the very late 1400s into the first decade of the 1600s.
In these compiled records there are two mentions of very early men who may have been ancestors of today's Vances. The first in 1576 is a grant of land to a John Vause in what is now Meelick village on the River Shannon in Co. Galway:
|From "Reports 11-13 of the Deputy Keeper of the Public Records in Ireland / presented to both houses of the Parliament by command of Her Majesty" published in 1879 (Archive.org)|
The second from 1586 concerns a Hasting Vanse, gentleman, being granted wardship and lands in Cork in the south of Ireland:
|From "The Fourteeth Report of the Deputy Keeper of the Public Records in Ireland / presented to both houses of the Parliament by command of Her Majesty" published in 1879 (Archive.org)|
The pity is that these men do not appear in any of the other fragmentary records from Ireland of that period, so if they DID settle permanently in Ireland and leave descendants it was not recorded for posterity (that we yet know of). Were these men connected with the known Vans lines from Scotland? We don't know.
What we DO know at least is that the Vaus/Vans/Vance name (or variants of it) were living in Ireland at least a generation or two before the Rev. John Vans. Since we know he came over from Scotland to start his ministry (with no known or obvious immediate relations in Ireland), it is likely that these or some of the other known early Vance immigrants to Ireland were different families. And while we don't know yet which ancestor(s) started which of the 4 or 5 known DNA lines of Irish Vances, we certainly know that there were enough separate immigrants to explain how they came about.