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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

Where did the English Pence family come from? What is the English Pence family crest and coat of arms? When did the Pence family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Pence family history?

The ancestors of the bearers of the Pence family name are thought have lived in ancient Anglo-Saxon England. They were first found near an area that was referred to as the Penn. The surname Pence is a toponymic surname which described where the original bearer held land. In this case the surname was originally derived from the Old English words penn, meaning an area that housed stray animals and penn which referred to a hill.


Until quite recently, the English language has lacked a definite system of spelling rules. Consequently, Anglo-Saxon surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. Changes in Anglo-Saxon names were influenced by the evolution of the English language, as it incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other languages. Although Medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, so it is common to find one person referred to by several different spellings of his surname, even the most literate people varied the spelling of their own names. Variations of the name Pence include Penn, Pen, Penner and others.

First found in Buckingham where they held a family seat from early times and their first records appeared on the early census rolls taken by the early Kings of Britain to determine the rate of taxation of their subjects.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Pence research. Another 189 words (14 lines of text) covering the years 1621, 1670, 1327, 1644, 1718, 1621, 1670, 1644, 1718, 1674, 1696, 1681 and 1720 are included under the topic Early Pence History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 149 words (11 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Pence Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Pence family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 41 words (3 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


Searching for a better life, many English families migrated to British colonies. Unfortunately, the majority of them traveled under extremely harsh conditions: overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the ocean. For those families that arrived safely, modest prosperity was attainable, and many went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the new colonies. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Pence or a variant listed above:

Pence Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Richard Pence, aged 45, landed in St Christopher in 1634

Pence Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Leonhard Pence, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1732
  • Adam Pence, aged 22, landed in Pennsylvania in 1738
  • Valatine Pence, aged 48, arrived in Pennsylvania in 1738
  • Wyrick Pence, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1744

Pence Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • J. Pence arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Tongariro" in 1888


  • Major-General George Dunbar Pence (1902-1977), American Chief of Staff, Mediterranean Theater of Operations (1944-1945)
  • Brigadier-General Arthur William Pence (1898-1954), American Chief of Staff, Engineer Center, Fort Belvoir, Virginia (1948-1949)
  • Denise Pence, American actress, best known for her role as "Katie Parker," R.N., on the soap opera Guiding Light
  • Ellen Pence (1948-2012), American scholar and a social activist, co-founder of the Duluth Domestic Abuse Intervention Project
  • Lafayette "Lafe" Pence (1857-1923), American politician, U.S. Representative from Colorado
  • Stephen B. Pence (b. 1953), American politician, 53rd Lieutenant Governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky (2003-2007)
  • Michael Richard "Mike" Pence (b. 1959), American politician, 50th Governor of Indiana (2013-)
  • Hunter Andrew Pence (b. 1983), American Major League Baseball outfielder for the San Francisco Giants
  • Russell William "Rusty" Pence (1900-1971), Major League Baseball pitcher for the Chicago White Sox in 1921


  • Genealogy and History of the Pense and Allied Families by Beverly Pen.
  • , A Guide to the Pence Families of Ameri.
  • by Richard Allen Pence.

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Dum clarum rectum teneam
Motto Translation: May I keep the line of right as well as of glory.


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  1. Elster, Robert J. International Who's Who. London: Europa/Routledge. Print.
  2. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  3. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  4. Bede, The Venerable. Historia Ecclesiatica Gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History Of the English People). Available through Internet Medieval Sourcebook the Fordham University Centre for Medieval Studies. Print.
  5. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds. Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
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  7. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  8. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  9. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  10. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  11. ...

The Pence Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Pence Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 26 March 2014 at 10:42.

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