Online Books of Interest

The following are links to online books which may be of interest to Vance researchers.  Know of others?  Post a comment!

Caveat Emptor:  None of these publications have been researched as to accuracy or depth of original sources.  In some cases authors have copied stories from older works presenting them as factual history.   While we applaud the efforts of anyone who preserves their research for posterity, we cannot guarantee that all these works are 100% accurate.

Vaux/Vaus/Vans Origins (Norman/English/Scots/Irish Vances)

An account, historical and genealogical, from the earliest days till the present time, of the family of Vance in Ireland, Vans in Scotland, anciently Vaux in Scotland and England, and originally De Vaux in France, (Latin de Vallibus), by William Balbirnie (Cork, J.W. Noblett, 1860) at the Internet Archive.
Note this digital copy is provided by the National Library of Scotland and according to the Rights on this link they make it available under a Creative Commons license requiring attribution and non-commercial re-use only!

Dave's Editorial Comments:  For years the Bible of Vance researchers who trace their ancestry to Ireland, Balbirnie's work in recent years has been called into question on many key assumptions.  There is no doubt that the author had preconceived notions of the nobility of the Vance ancestry and his attempts to tie all Irish Vances to the same original Scottish immigrant to Ireland (Rev. John Vans/Vance in the 1600s) was likely very oversimplified.  However, he does give a decent snapshot of the Vance families living in Ulster in the mid-1800s which remains the major reference work for Vance families attempting to trace their lines to Ireland in this time period. 

Path of a Family, Part I:  The Norman de Vaux to the Irish Vances, by J. David Vance (Self-published, 2011) - PDF version.  E-book version is available for download onto iPads or iPhones by clicking here.

Dave's Editorial Comments:  Ok, for full disclosure, I wrote this for my extended family.  It's fairly "chatty" but if you're interested in the older history of the Irish Vances and the story of their ancestry back to Scotland and from there to the de Vaux who came over from Normandy, it's all here.  Part I is all the older history of interest to anyone who believes they may have descended from the de Vaux.  Part II (not shown here) is the later story of my own line of Vances who emigrated from Ireland to Columbia County, Pennsylvania. 

History of the Lands and their Owners in Galloway, Volume 2, by Peter Handyside M'Kerlie (Paisley, A. Gardner, 1906) at Google Books.

Dave's Editorial Comments:  An authoritative work covering the ownership of land from medieval times onward in the Galloway region, this volume covers Wigton and Kirkinner and in describing land ownership there it spends much time on the early ancestry of the Vans of Barnbarroch and related Galloway families.  While not every assertion by P. H. M'Kerlie is unchallengeable, his research and documentary evidence make this work one of the well-thumbed references for medieval lowland Scottish genealogists. 

Sketch of a genealogical and historical account of the family of Vaux, Vans, or De Vallibus: now represented by that of Vans Agnew, of Barnbarrow, &c. In the County of Wigton, Scotland, by Robert Vans Agnew (Pembroke, Wilmot, 1800) at the Internet Archive.

Dave's Editorial Comments:  Robert Vans Agnew was the fifteenth Laird of Barnbarroch and at the turn of the 19th century he wrote extensively about the ancestry of the Vans family, mainly drawing on the records still available in the family library of the Vans of Barnbarroch; those papers were later destroyed in the fire that ruined the Barnbarroch mansion in 1941.  Robert Vans Agnew was one of the sources William Balbirnie used for his work some 60 years later. 

Correspondence of Sir Patrick Waus of Barnbarroch, Knight, by Robert Vans Agnew (Edinburgh, David Douglas, 1889), at the Internet Archive.

Dave's Editorial Comments:  A series of letters written from 1540-1597 by a former Vans of Barnbarroch who corresponded with royalty and other luminaries of the period, including Mary Queen of Scots; this is an interesting set of snapshots into lives of the nobility of the sixteenth century.


Wentz/Wantz Origins (Bohemian/German/Swiss Vances)

Record of the descendants of Johann Jost Wentz, by Richard Willing Wentz (Binghamton, Binghamton Daily Republican, 1884) at the Internet Archive.
Dave's Editorial Comments: An early genealogy tracing the descendants of an early Wentz immigrant. It is short but spends much time on the various theories of the origins of the Wentz family name.

Wentz, a record of some descendants of Peter Wentz, the immigrant, by Helen Wentz & Bertha Earnhart (Kennett Square, PA, Kennett News and Advertiser, 1939) at Hathi Trust digital archives.

Dave's Editorial Comments:  Another early genealogy of a different Wentz immigrant - Peter Wentz, born in 1680 who immigrated to York County, PA from Partenheim, Germany.  This genealogy also covers the origins of the Wentz name and also includes a coat of arms for the Wentzes.

Descendants of Johann Diel Wentz of Germany and Virginia, by Oran S. Emrich & Katherine Bushman (Kansas City, MO, 1996) at

Dave's Editorial Comments:  A genealogy of Johann Diel Wentz, born in Heidelberg, Germany, in 1728, who moved to Pennsylvania in 1748.  Several of his descendant lines became Vances in the U.S.


Books on U.S. Vance Family Lines

Five typical Scotch Irish families of the Cumberland Valley, by Mary Craig Shoemaker (Albany, NY, 1922) at the Internet Archive.

Dave's Editorial Comments:  A well-known book describing the early generations of five Scotch-Irish families who settled in the Cumberland Valley in Pennsylvania; number four starting on page 65 is a Vance family whose oldest American ancestors were a Patrick and John Vance who first bought land in Guilford township in Franklin County in 1754.  The descendants of these Vance immigrants have been identified as belonging to Group 1b of the Vance/Vans/Wentz y-DNA Project. 


1 comment:

  1. Nice blog.
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