DNA Project Resources

In recent 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).  At the same time autosomal DNA testing (of all one's chromosomes) is becoming more popular as a tool for researching one's closer family. 

Another use of DNA testing for genealogy focuses on 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.  Y-DNA testing can reach back further than surnames as well, but it is also being used to explore the male-line 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 16 genetic groups which are not related to each other since the use of surnames began.  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 original work on the Vance Y-DNA Groups was done by Adam Bradford in 2011; at that time he mapped the first 8 genetic groups and produced reports on each one.  Since then we have doubled the number of genetic groups related to the Vance surname, and provided new updated reports for the first 8 as well as new reports for the new groups as well.

The 16 known Y-DNA groups related to the Vance surname are summarized here.  The complete reports (both from 2011 and the new reports in 2019) can be found on the Vance/Vans/Wentz Y-DNA Project Results page at https://www.familytreedna.com/groups/vance/about/results.

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;  Group 1a continuing as the line of the Vans of Barnbarroch and although this is not yet proven, Group 1b MAY have been the line of the Vaus of Menie.   Both Groups 1a and 1b had male descendants who emigrated to Ireland from where many different descendants later immigrated to the United States in the 1700 and 1800s. 

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.

Vance Group 3
Group 3 also 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).

Vance Group 4
This group consists of the descendants of Patrick and Elizabeth (McCray) Vance.  Patrick died around 1810 in Fayette County, KY.

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. 

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.

Vance Group 7
This group traces back to two Wentz immigrants who came separately to the US; one from Russia in the Odessa region where the Germans settled by the Black Sea, and one from Bavaria.  Their origin appears to be with a German Wentz lineage most likely from Bavaria.

Vance Group 8
Group 8 is a Vance lineage which became prolific first in Ireland.  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.

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.

Vance Group 10
Group 10 consists of descendants of several Wentz immigrants to the US in the early 1700s from the Rhineland-Pfaltz area of Germany who appear to share a common ancestor around 1450AD-1600AD.

Vance Group 11
Group 11 consists of the descendants of Patrick Vance from Henderson Co, KY in the US and the descendants of James Vance from Ayrshire in Scotland.  They appear to be a branch of Vances who adopted the name perhaps around 1500AD while living in the Ayrshire/Glasgow area of Scotland.

Vance Group 12
Group 12 descends from John Vance (c. 1745-1826/27) who lived in Pendleton Co, WV.  Analysis indicates his Y-DNA was carried by 2 other surnames who branched in the generations before John Vance, and their ultimate origin is uncertain. 

Vance Group 13
A branch of the titled Maxwells of lower Scotland from around 1400AD or so.  Given that this family lived in close proximity to the Vans of Barnbarroch in Galloway in medieval times, this is the likely point at which a Maxwell son took on the Vans/Vance name where it would have continued in a junior branch of the Vans/Vance family until emigrating to other countries. 

Vance Group 14
Group 14 appears to be part of an old and not well-tested subgroup of R-M269 (R1b).  Their known common ancestor is a George Washington Vance who was born in Missouri in 1850.

Vance Group 15
The one man in this Group descends from Richard Vance (1856-1894) who married Celia Vance, daughter of Abner Vance and Mary Ann Whitehead. 

Vance Group 16
These Vances descend from William Vance (1760 - 1831) who lived mainly in Green Co, KY.  The line is most closely related to a branch of the Lands surname, but the exact origins have not yet been established.


  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).

  3. Hello. Per your information I see my family is in group 2b- Samuel Vance and Agnes Penquite. Using DNA as the source do you have known parents and ancestral lineage to that Samuel? Thank you. Deniese