Vance

Vance/Vans/Wentz Surname Y-DNA Project
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About us

Explanation of Project Results:

Results of Y-DNA testing by the Project's members indicate that Vances include over sixteen different Groups, where all participants within a Group are genetic cousins and descend from a common male ancestor within the past 1000-1500 years.  Each Group has researchers who have traced their earliest ancestors through traditional genealogy, and we know now through Y-DNA analysis that the earliest ancestors within each Group were related and in some cases even HOW they were related. Our DNA administrators have pieced together the connections (in some cases known, others likely) between these earliest ancestors and are working to rebuild the ancestral trees that connect these ancestors and their current descendants. 


We encourage anyone who believes that they have a male ancestry (father’s father’s father’s, etc., father) back to a man with the surname Vance to test a Vance male Y-DNA in your line with Family Tree DNA [FTDNA] and add their test results to the project database.  Our administrators are available to help you with that analysis and will help assign you to the appropriate Vance DNA Group.

Like most surname DNA projects, we use Y-DNA testing in the Vance DNA project because it tests only the Y chromosome which is only carried by men and is passed down from fathers to sons which typically in Western culture is also how surnames were passed down. 


Current Y-DNA testing focuses on two types of mutations in the human male Y chromosome - STRs (Short Tandem Repeats) and SNPs (Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms).  If you have taken a test of 12, 25, 37, 67, or 111"markers", you have tested STRs.  If you have taken a "SNP panel" or taken a Y-DNA test with Full Genomes Corporation (or several other companies), then you have likely only tested SNPs.  If you taken the"Big Y" tests (currently Big Y500 or Big Y700) from Family Tree DNA,then you have tested both STRs and SNPs.  

Each type of mutation has strengths and weaknesses which, along with traditional genealogy research, help us piece together the likely branching patterns between groups of Vance men known through their shared Y-DNA to be related to each other within the time of surnames.  Although estimating time to common ancestors is an inexact science currently with Y-DNA, it is sufficient for us to distinguish major branches and estimate their relationships.  It is often not sufficient for us to gauge precisely in what order certain branches diverged from each other or in which specific generations.   


Some useful links for additional information:

The Vance DNA Project keeps a Glossary of DNA-related terms and jargon used in genetic genealogy; this can be found at this link

For more detailed general introductions to Y-DNA and other types of DNA testing, we suggest the following resources:

Kelly Wheaton’s Introduction to Genetic Genealogy

CeCe Moore’s DNA Testing for  Genealogy

Kitty Cooper’s DNA Newbie FAQ

Louise Coakley’s Introduction to Using DNA for Genealogy

For a general overview of the known origins of the Vance surname, please see this page on the VFA’s blog.


How our Results are presented:

Our original project reporting started in 2011 with the analysis of the original 8 DNA Groups which had been identified at that time.  For reference, we have provided the links to these original 8 analysis papers by Adam Bradford below.  These are still highly relevant to each Group, and we encourage anyone interested in a particular Group to be familiar with the original 2011 analysis if it exists.  

For current analysis, please see the articles linked under "Current Analysis" for more details on the current state of the DNA Groups.  If there is no "Current Analysis" link listed it simply means we have not yet posted the article and we will be completing these as soon as possible.  

While participation in the Vance DNA Project is open to both members and non-members of the Vance Family Association (VFA), we draw extensively on the resources of the VFA’s pedigree database for information about earlier ancestors.  For this reason and for the privacy of our members, we have made the general information about these DNA Groups available here to the wider public while more detailed information about the lineages between the earliest ancestors and their descendants is available only to members of the VFA.  For access to the VFA’s detailed family pedigrees,please consider joining the VFA using our membership page.

Text in the "2011 Analysis", "Current Analysis", and “Current Branching Tree” columns are clickable links that will open up the PDF reports or PNG pictures in your browser, where you may read or download them further.   

For a graphical summary of how much we currently know about each of these Groups, please see our News page.  


Vance/Vans/Wentz Y-DNA Project Results

DNA Group

Known Origins

2011 Analysis (Adam Bradford)

Current Analysis

Current Branching Tree

 Description

Group 1 (a&b)

Oldest known origins are in Scotland with at least two major branches from Ireland since about 1600AD.

Overview

Group 1a

Group 1b

Group 1 Report Oct 2018

 Group 1

The Vans of Barnbarroch line; appears to have branched out as early as 1450-1500AD.  Group 1a is more closely related to the Barnbarroch line itself and includes the current title holder.  Group 1b separated around 1400AD and is possibly the Vans of Menie.

Group 2 (a&b)

Ireland.  All tested members currently have origins in Ireland, mostly Ulster.

Group 2  

Group 2 Report Feb 2019

 Group 2

An older Irish line of unknown prior origin.  Group 2a and 2b split about 1400AD in Ireland when the line already carried the surname Vance (or a similar surname).

Group 3

 Ireland.

Group 3 

Group 3 Report Feb 2019

 Group 3

Group 3 appears to be of Irish origin. Two members are from lineages that remained in Ireland. Others emigrated either to Canada (Ontario, Nova Scotia) or to the extreme north of the US (Michigan, Vermont/New Hampshire).

Group 4

 US (to date).

Group 4

Group 4 Report Feb 2019

 Group 4

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

Group 5

 German?

Group 5 

Group 5 Report Feb 2019

 N/A

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.

Group 6

 Wales

Group 6 

Group 6 Report Feb 2019

 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.

Group 7

 German

Group 7 

Group 7 Report July 2019

 Group 7

This group traces back to three Wentz immigrants who came separately to the US; one from Russia in the Odessa region where the Germans settled by the Black Sea, and two from what is now south-western Germany.  Their origin appears to be with a German Wentz lineage most likely from Bavaria or Rhineland-Palatinate.

Group 8

Ireland, possibly Scotland before that?

Group 8 

Group 8 Report Mar 2019

 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.

Group 9

Possibly British Isles but unknown.

 N/A

Group 9 Report May 2019

 N/A

This group consists of the descendants of John Vance , who was born c. 1801 in Tennessee and died in 1870 in Washington County, AR.  The MRCA of the group is Martin Van Buren Vance, John Vance’s son. 

Group 10

Rhineland-Pfaltz (now Germany)

 N/A

DRAFT Group 10 Report May 2019

 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.

Group 11

Ayrshire, Scotland

 N/A

DRAFT Group 11 Report May 2019

 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.

Group 12

Of unknown origin; possibly English

 N/A

DRAFT Group 12 Report May 2019

 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.  

Group 13

Ireland most recently; Scotland previously.

 N/A

DRAFT Group 13 Report May 2019

 N/A

A branch off the Maxwells of lower Scotland from around 1400AD or so.  Possibly brought into the Vans name through their known connections with the Vans of Barnbarroch but into a junior branch. 

Group 14

Of unknown origin before Missouri        

 N/A                 

DRAFT Group 14 Report June 2019

 N/A               

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

Group 15

Likely Irish, Scottish, or English origins

 N/A              

DRAFT Group 15 Report June 2019

 N/A        

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

Group 16

Likely Irish or Scottish origins

 N/A                    

DRAFT Group 16 Report June 2019

 N/A

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.