So, I read "part 1" of David's research, and my despairing summary is 1. no one knows exactly
2. none of the existing docs are reliable
3. none of the secondary citations of older docs are reliable
4. just when you're about to reach something you hope will clear up an ambiguity or other mystery, the records stop and the hand-waving and mythologizing and tedious discussions of "armorial bearings" and crests and titles and such begin
5. even the records in the 1600s and 1700s are so sparse and such a mess that we can't sort out who was likely descended from whom or where they lived, or be certain whether Patrick married Mary or Margaret Kennedy (let alone whether centuries earlier Piers de Valoines/Piers ii Ponthieu de Valognes was or was not the son of Engeurrand & Adelaide)
6. We're unlikely to ever straighten out any of the family myths.
7. and I am reminded that "my" Vances may not be Irish or Scottish, anyway, even though they were Presbyterians who hung out with a lot of other Scottish and Irish Presbyterians in PA and VA between 1706 and 1800.
Oh, and we need to propose an international law: No one (but especially those with the surnames Vaux or Vaus or Vance or Vans or Vaullx or Baux) is permitted to name another child Robert or John/Johannes/Hans/Johannis or William/Guillaum or Harold or Hubert or Humbert or Hugh/Hugues, but, instead, must use first names unique back at least 10 generations including all cousins on penalty of being ejected from the gene pool.
OR, on the plus side, at least some of our ancestors did a lot better job than we do of protecting our privacy.
Sometimes, it's easier to become resigned to more recent genealogical brick-walls.
So, who's for taking up a collection for a scholarship for a team of mad scientists to develop a device to peek at or take videos from back through the mists of time at what the ancestors were up to in 900 or 1000 or whatever? :B-)