Pence History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

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. [1]

Early Origins of the Pence family

The surname Pence was first found in Buckingham at Penn, a parish, in the union of Amersham, hundred of Burnham. [2]

Penn is also a parish, in the union, and N. division of the hundred, of Seisdon in Staffordshire and while this parish dates back to the Domesday Book when it was known as Penne, [3] it is the former that traditionally most of the family hails.

Indeed, the family of William Penn (1644-1718), founder of the Province of Pennsylvania (today, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania) traces their origin to Penn, Buckinghamshire. [4] [5]

Early History of the Pence family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Pence research. Another 95 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1621, 1670, 1327, 1644, 1718, 1621, 1670, 1644, 1718, 1674, 1696, 1681, 1720, 1741 and 1788 are included under the topic Early Pence History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Pence Spelling Variations

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.

Early Notables of the Pence family (pre 1700)

Distinguished members of the family include Sir William Penn (1621-1670), an English admiral; and his son, William Penn (1644-1718), an English real estate entrepreneur, philosopher, early Quaker who receive a large tract of American land to satisfy a debt the king...
Another 41 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Pence Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Pence Ranking

In the United States, the name Pence is the 2,882nd most popular surname with an estimated 9,948 people with that name. [6]

Ireland Migration of the Pence family to Ireland

Some of the Pence family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Pence migration to the United States +

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 18th Century
  • Leonhard Pence, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1732 [7]
  • Valatine Pence, aged 48, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1738 [7]
  • Adam Pence, aged 22, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1738 [7]
  • Wyrick Pence, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1744 [7]

New Zealand Pence migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Pence Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • J. Pence, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Tongariro" in 1888

West Indies Pence migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [8]
Pence Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Richard Pence, aged 45, who landed in St Christopher in 1634 [7]

Contemporary Notables of the name Pence (post 1700) +

  • Michael Richard "Mike" Pence (b. 1959), American politician, 48th Vice President of the United States (2017-2021), 50th Governor of Indiana (2013-2017)
  • Major-General George Dunbar Pence (1902-1977), American Chief of Staff, Mediterranean Theater of Operations (1944-1945) [9]
  • Brigadier-General Arthur William Pence (1898-1954), American Chief of Staff, Engineer Center, Fort Belvoir, Virginia (1948-1949) [10]
  • 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)
  • 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
  • Charles Pence Slichter (1924-2018), American physicist, best known for his work on nuclear magnetic resonance

The Pence Motto +

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.

Suggested Readings for the name Pence +

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

  1. ^ Arthur, William , An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. London: 1857. Print
  2. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  3. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  4. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  5. ^ Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  6. ^
  7. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  8. ^
  9. ^ Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2014, March 26) George Pence. Retrieved from
  10. ^ Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2014, March 26) Arthur Pence. Retrieved from on Facebook