DNA Project Resources

Over the last fifteen 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 Adam Bradford's original work on the Vance subgroups in 2014.  Although some further research has been done on these lines, this original work still provides an up-to-date overview of these Vance groups. 

The current tested members of the Vance DNA Surname project along with their current DNA STR test results can be found at https://www.familytreedna.com/public/Vance.

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


  1. Muster rolls Of 1630, Londonderry ireland
    Churchlands of Lady McClellandColeraine While the wintz/wentz may have originated in the Palintine, it is clear they were in ireland by the year 1630 on the Plantations set by the british-The 2nd plantation of London derry( Doire)http://www.billmacafee.com/1630musterrolls/1630musterrollsderry.pdf How long does a family stay in say Ireland before being considered Irish? When the USA is only 200 years old. IN less than 100 we were americans. My point is both can be true. Origin of Wentz/Wintz and also Irish. John Moon

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Irish Palintines-http://www.irishpalatines.org/about/name.html Note the name Wentz....I am suggesting that The Wentz/ Vance /Wintz, did indeed hail from Ireland as well as The Palintine. It seems to me this would explain the deviation in DNA. As well explain the Confusion that people have who say they Hail from ireland and yet Dna is showing some German. It would seem they (a goodly number)made a stop over historically In Ireland. THEN, in many instance came to the USA. Then additional wentz came Direct from the Palentine. Two different groups, Two different coutries of origin by that time. One by that time from Ireland.The other from the French/ German Border Palintine.

    3. John it's certainly possible that someone with the surname Wentz emigrated first to Ireland and then to the US, Australia, or anywhere else.

      From the point of view of surnames that became "Vance" however, we don't know of any that went that route. First we do know that several of the Wentz immigrants who came to the US and whose descendants adopted the name "Vance" came from German-speaking countries. We also know that the German "W" is pronounced like the English "V", which made it easy for native German speakers when pronouncing their last names as "Wentz" to have it heard as "Vance". It wouldn't be AS likely for a native English speaker (Irish or otherwise) pronouncing their name as "Wentz" to be transcribed as "Vance", but it's certainly possible.

      Where we know something about the immigrant's background coming to the US or Australia, so far all the Irish immigrants who had the surname Vance maintained the same surname, and a few German-speaking immigrants to the US whose original name was Wentz adopted the surname Vance. But there are also many immigrants at least to the US whose surnames were Vance and we don't know their background. With the ease in which surnames adopted different spelling from the 1600s-1800s, it's not impossible that a Wentz line came from Palatine to Ireland and then became Vance later on. We just don't know of any cases where that happened.

  2. Dave I submitted my DNA a while back and My GGGrandfather is in Group 14 is it to early to tell where I would fit in

    1. Ron thanks for posting. Group 14 is a small group with only 2 members so far as you know. The other member appears to descend from a George Washington Vance in MO - do you have any genealogy information about your own Vance descendants? Your DNA tests look related within about 8 generations, but that's a rough estimate.

      His information suggests his Vance ancestry is from Scotland, and your matches on Family Tree DNA look predominantly from Scotland as well so that's a very possible origin for your Vance line as well. However your non-Vance matches at the Y67 level (none have tested to Y111) are all something like 300+ years back.

      You do have one Y67 match who has taken the Big Y500 test and found his terminal SNP is A9063, so that's a possible terminal SNP for you as well but you'd need to confirm it with more DNA testing. That's a pretty ancient SNP though but it marks your Y-DNA line as belonging to men who were most likely among the tribes known as Bell Beakers who populated Western Europe and first came to the British Isles around 2500BC. They were a pre-Celtic culture who flourished both in Britain and Ireland and on the European continent, so when your specific ancestors might have come over to the Isles isn't really certain.

      What you want to do next depends on what you want to learn. If you want to confirm your Vance genealogy or know more about your specific Vances, you'll probably need to convince other male Vances who might fall into Group 14 to test - not close relatives but more likely other Vance men who descend from other branches of your earliest known Vance ancestors. If you want to know more about your older male line you'd want to do more DNA testing - either a Big Y500 or some targeted SNP testing (like testing for A9063).