Vans Family Archive
Jamie Vans

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This is the genealogical database of the family of Vans of Barnbarroch compiled by Jamie Vans of Barnbarroch.
In it I have tried to record only that information which is well supported by fact and to regard with suspicion any convenient assumptions, particularly where these appear to give great distinction and antiquity to the family.
I have therefore not recorded the link back to the family of Vaus of Dirleton since no hard evidence has yet been found for the details of this relationship, though it is clear that the Barnbarroch family is a cadet branch of Vaus of Dirleton. The only credible information I know of about the history of the Vaus or de Vaux family at the time of the Norman conquest of 1066 is from the book “The Anglo-Norman Era in Scottish History” by G.W.S. Barrow which suggests that the family was not of great distinction at this time.
Playfair in “Baronetage of Scotland, (quoted by Balbirnie) and Balbirnie in his “Genealogical and historical account of the family of Vance” claim a connection with the lords of Baux, in Provence. To my knowledge there is no documentary evidence to show any such link or any reason to suppose that there is any truth in the idea. I believe that the heraldic evidence shows clearly that there is no such connection.

The information concerning the Rev. John Vaus of Kilmacrenan will be of particular interest to Irish and American members of the Vance family. The ‘Origin of the Irish Vances’ is now available from me; written by my fatherand myself, it sets out the evidence on which the genealogy here given is based.

One further note:
Robert Vans Agnew (b 24 April 1755): his correct surname was AGNEW, his father having assumed the name of AGNEW at his marriage in 1747 (Robert may have been christened Vans, I do not know; he certainly wrote his name Robert Vans Agnew). Robert gave all his children the second christian name ‘Vans’ (ref the family bible in which he recorded this action and which is in my possession). I believe that his children did the same but that all future generations called themselves by the surname VANS AGNEW until my father, Patrick Alexander Vans of Barnbarroch returned to the name VANS in 1965.
I have tried to do justice to everyone, using the name VAUS exclusively (until about 1600) VANS (until 1747), AGNEW (for those who were christened Vans), VANS AGNEW for the succeeding generations and VANS for my father and myself. There are a few exceptions in cases where the only record I have found of a certain person had a particular spelling.

In any case I have found that Vans, Vanns, Vanse, Vas, Vass, Vaus, Vauss, Vause, Waus, Wauss and Vance all seem to be completely interchangeable even within a single document without any discernible pattern of use according to the date or particular branch of the family.

For any inaccuracies and other failings I apologise; I hope to hear from anyone who can offer corrections or who can provide good evidence on which to base further ramifications of the family tree.

I'm starting to try to collate some of the Irish and American Vances in the hope of finally sorting out the connection between them/you and my family of Vans of Barnbarroch. You may be familiar with the work I have already done on the Scottish side of the family which can be found at and with my published paper, "The Origin of the Irish Vances".

I am co-ordinating my work as far as I can with that of the Vance DNA research project - for further details of that, see I would urge any male Vances to take a look at the website and consider having a DNA test done as this seems to be a potentially useful tool in untangling the truth of the matter. I would also be very grateful if any of you Vance descendants would be prepared to share your data with me, preferably as a gedcom file to save me re-typing it all from your web page.

Best wishes to all members of the Vans/Vance family,

Jamie Vans of Barnbarroch.

If you would like a complete Gedcom version of this database please email me.

Major recent revisions to the database:
Dec 2007: info from Scotland’s People and others
Oct 2006, expanded to more than 25,000 names, again with much input from Stirnet
May 2005, with new data from family members and from Stirnet
April, 2002 (with data from Burke’s newly published Landed Gentry of Scotland as well as further research in the Peerage and other sources)
17 September 2001
26 February 2001 (incorporating data from Burke’s Peerage 1999 edition and much new work to the Kennedy records)
10, September 2000
29 July 2000