What is the Vance Coat of Arms?

Many readers find the Vance History Online blog looking for information about coats of arms related to the Vance last name.  The animated gif above shows some of the many different coats of arms carried by past people with the Vance last name.  We have also provided a 13 min video here summarizing the known information about ancestral coats of arms related to the Vance surname and its origins.


Update Nov 13 2013:  The Vance coat of arms shown in the slideshow as "unknown" has been identified from Patrick Kennedy's book of Irish arms sketches from 1816.  It DOES appear to be from either the will of the Rev. John Vans or the Vaus of Menie arms.  The in-depth review below has been updated with all the details. 

If the slideshow isn't enough for you, you can find an in-depth review of Vance-related heraldry and the heraldry of the Vaux/Vans and Wentz families that originated the Vance name here: An Indepth Look At Vance Heraldry.

Some background on coats of arms may be helpful to put this in context. Click here for an Introduction to Heraldry, or see below.

Heraldry developed between the late 10th and 12th centuries as a way for knights to recognize each other on the field of battle and in tournaments.  Individuals would settle on recognizable patterns and colors, but they might vary them on occasion also.  When the idea of passing a coat of arms on to their heirs took hold, the heirs might also embellish or vary the original to identify them as individuals.  Over time, crests, mottoes, supporters, and so on were added to the "armorial bearing" to make additional statements.  An entire jargon based on Old French, called "blazon", was even developed to describe the various styles, patterns, and colors. 

Over the centuries the rules of heraldry were formalized and individual variations occurred less frequently.  The concept was also widened to include others like clergy, towns, and (at least in the British Isles), gentlemen outside the nobility.   But the idea still held that a heraldic achievement (the proper term for a "coat of arms") was associated with one individual and passed on to their heirs.  Since that right traveled for the most part from father to son, it usually followed the family last name also.  But there could easily be several families of the same last name who had separate rights to different coats of arms. 

This slideshow is an overview of the various coats of arms that are known to be associated with past Vance individuals and with the families of origin for the Vance surname.  It is really just a summary since it is impossible to do the subject justice in 4 1/2 minutes!  I would suggest that anyone wanting more detail on heraldry itself should consult the many helpful resources available on the Internet through a basic search.  If you want more detail on Vance-related heraldry, however, check out the in-depth review posted at the link above, or post a comment here, or send me an email at davevance01@gmail.com and I will do my best to help.

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