Over the last ten or so years, widespread DNA testing has started to map the major human migrations across the globe on an anthropological time scale (from 75,000 to 30,000 years before present). More specific DNA testing, especially of the Y-chromosome (Y-DNA) which is passed on from father to son and therefore normally follows the same path as surnames in Western society, is just starting to suggest more recent human connections within the timeframe that surnames have been in use over the past 1000 years.
Y-DNA testing of the various Vance families has shown that they fall (so far) into nine genetic groups whose most recent common ancestor is earlier than the use of surnames. That does not necessarily mean they all derived the name independently, since adoptions and other changes of surname over the generations could easily bring other genetic lines into the same families. However, it does suggest that genealogists working backwards through the documentary records of their families should look first at the other Vance family lines within their own genetic group to identify other Vances who are likely more closely related to them.
The following pages contain more information about these Vance genetic groups, taken from the group summary pages of the Vance/Vans/Wentz Y-DNA website at http://www.vancegenealogy.com. That website, by the way, is a fascinating resource for anyone wanting more information on genetic genealogy and how it relates to Vance surname history.
Vance Group 1
This group, the largest in the Vance DNA project, contains the lineal heir of Barnbarroch, and all members of the group are presumed to be descendants of the Barnbarroch Vaus. At some point after the 1300s, the group split into Group 1a and 1b. At least 3 different 1a and 12 different 1b immigrant lines into the United States have been identified, although many are likely branches of other known lines. For more information, check out the DNA Project Summary of Group 1 as a whole, or the DNA Project Summary of Group 1a or DNA Project Summary of Group 1b.
More resources about DNA Group 1
Vance Group 2
This group consists of several distinct early American lineages, a few of which are able to trace back to Ireland. The group is made up of two branches: 2a and 2b. Group 2a is dominated numerically by the descendants of Matthew Vance of Pittylsvania County, VA, and his close relative Abner Vance, but also contains several other significant branches that were in America by the mid-18th century. Group 2b consists of the descendants of Samuel and Agnes (Penquite) Vance as well as Samuel Vance of Bath Co, VA. For more information, check out the DNA Project Summary of Group 2.
More resources about DNA Group 2
Vance Group 3
Group 3 appears to be of Irish origin, as five of its six members are able to trace back there. Two members are from lineages that remained in Ireland. The remaining four all emigrated either to Canada (Ontario, Nova Scotia) or to the extreme north of the US (Michigan, Vermont/New Hampshire). For more information, check out the DNA Project Summary of Group 3.
More resources about DNA Group 3
Vance Group 4
This group consists of the descendants of Patrick and Elizabeth (McCray) Vance. Patrick died around 1810 in Fayette County, KY. For more information, check out the DNA Project Summary of Group 4.
More resources about DNA Group 4
Vance Group 5
This group consists of the descendants of Thomas Vance who came from Rockbridge County, VA, to Gallia County, OH, by 1820. He appears to have originally been a Wentz, so possibly of German origin, and may have been the grandson of a George Wintz or Wentz who died around 1791 in Frederick County, MD. For more information, check out the DNA Project Summary of Group 5.
More resources about DNA Group 5
Vance Group 6
This group consists of the descendants of the Quakers William and Elizabeth (Backhouse) Vance, who emigrated to Chester County, PA, from Ireland around 1741. The DNA evidence suggests that the group’s ultimate genetic origin lays in Wales as an offshoot of the Bassetts of Llanelly. For more information, check out the DNA Project Summary of Group 6.
More resources about DNA Group 6
Vance Group 7
This group consists of at least two, perhaps three, Vance lineages of German origin. They appear to trace back to one or more Wentz families who came to Pennsylvania in the 18th century. For more information, check out the DNA Project Summary of Group 7.
More resources about DNA Group 7
Vance Group 8
Group 8 probably has the best claim to a descent from John Vance of Coagh, who features so prominently in Balbirnie’s work on the Irish Vances. Two of its members are from lineages that remained in Ireland. Three others trace back to a group of brothers or cousins who came to Mississippi from Ireland in the mid 19th century. The group also contains the descendants of James Alexander Vance, who moved to South Carolina from Pennsylvania in the 1780s. Their shared descent with a Hay man with roots in Nairn suggests an ultimate origin for the group in Scotand. For more information, check out the DNA Project Summary of Group 8.
More resources about DNA Group 8
Vance Group 9
This group consists of the descendants of John Vance , who was born 1796 in Tennessee and died around 1860-1870 in Washington County, AR. The MRCA of the group is Martin Van Buren Vance, John Vance’s son. The DNA Project Summary is still pending for Group 9.
More resources about DNA Group 9