Proving connections between medieval people is quite difficult. Often the records no longer exist and even the best genealogists must be content with an educated guess. Luckily, there are techniques one can use to make these guesses more certain.
In 2011, I began research, now on the Sinclair DNA website, into possible name connections. The page is called A Confluence of Surnames. The approach was to look for consistencies in families who gifted land to abbeys and priories.
In late January, I found a blog posting on a Yahoo group, called Crispin Cousins, which validated this approach. They had written several research axioms. Two are listed here:
- Benefactors to ecclesiastical institutions are kin of the founder
- Primary witnesses (ie, not including those witnessing on behalf of the of institution) of ecclesiastical charters are invariably kin of the primary benefactor; by extension, of course, also kin of the founder source
There have been strong reasons to believe in connections between the Vaux family of Scotland and the Vere family of England. But the Vaux / Vance family DNA project administrators are careful to make no claims without documented facts.
If one starts with the above axioms, then researches Monasticon Anglicanum and Keats-Rohan, it's easy to claim that Aubrey de Vere, who founded Colne Priory c. 1100, is directly related to Herueus de Vallibus (Vaux) who gave land of Belcamp, Essex to Colne Priory.(Keats, p.756)
Herueus de Vaux, a tenant of Bigod in Essex, gave lands to Colne Priory.
Open and shut case, right?
Furthermore, starting with those axioms, it's easy to claim other names are directly related by blood to Aubrey de Vere:
Hugh de Munchensi
Richard de Beauchamp
Roger Bigot (of whom the Vaux held much land)
William de Mandeville earl of Essex
Adeliza de Vere
Peter de Burgate
It's certainly very interesting. But I don't think we can prove it as a fact unless we have more data; such as DNA data.
Apparently, nothing much remains of Colne Priory. There's a great article on it at this link.
Keats-Rohan, K.S.B. Domesday Descendants: A Prosopography of Persons Occurring in English Documents 1066-1166 II: Pipe Rolls to `Cartae Baronum' (Vol 2) (Hardcover), Boydell Press (April 15, 2002) ISBN-10: 0851158633, ISBN-13: 978-0851158631
Monasticon Anglicanum: A History of the Abbies and Other Monasteries ... By John Caley, Bulkeley Bandinel, Sir Henry Ellis, Longman, 1823 via Google Books