Researching Huguenot Reverand Jean Ranc

+6 votes
I'd like to propose this thread to discuss the origins of Jean Ranc, of Paris, France, 1641.

There was a suggestion, in the 1978 book, "The Rank of Rancks," that Jean might be descended from the du Ranc family.  But, there has so far been no evidence presented to support this theory.

I'd like to open a dialogue and discuss the origins of Jean Ranc and (hopefully), separate fact and fiction.
WikiTree profile: Jean Ranc
in Genealogy Help by SJ Baty G2G6 Pilot (522k points)

There is some suggestion that some du Ranc members converted to Protestantism.  In the "French families of ancient notables," we see some reference:

It's probably a branch of the family from which he comes to be spoken that belonged a Jean du Ranc, doctor in Aubenas,  mentioned in Protestant France, including the three sons, Ayma, Bernardin and Jacques were baptized in 1601, 1602 and 1608 in the reformed church of Aubenas.

But, if Jean Ranc, 1641 did come from this branch of the du Ranc family, certainly he would be a son of one of the three sons above.  To attribute him as the son of Etienne Duranc de Vibrac is without evidence.

To find the parents of Jean Ranc, of Paris, 1641, our best chances lay in first, finding more documentation about the above mentioned branch of the Duranc family.  And second, through DNA testing it may be possible to identify the region that Jean Ranc originates, and maybe even his family.

However, as John P. Ranck points out in his paper: the ONLY evidence that the Ranck family originated in Paris is family legend.  It is quite possible that the family is of German origins.

I hope, that in time - especially with the Ranck DNA project - more answers will be forthcoming.

3 Answers

+4 votes

The French name "Ranc" or a variation has been traced to the area around Montpellier in the Languedoc part of Southern France.  That area was also noted as a region prone to adopting the Calvinist Reformed version of Christianity in the 16th Century.  There was a famous painter from Montpellier named Jean Ranc but 75 years before the Pastor Jean Ranc who was born in Paris in 1641.


Jean Ranc, 1641-1712 Hugenot Pastor - Paris, France A Son Hans Valentine Ranck, 1668-1710 married Margaretha Philippes A Children Ann Barbara Ranck, 1699- John Michael Ranck, 1701-1778 John Philip Ranck. 1704-1785 * Rosine Katherine Ranck, 1705-1712 Susanna Margaretha Ranck, 1707- Johann Valentine Ranck, 1710-1712 Valentine Ranck, 1737-1813 married Anna Maria A Jacob Ranck, 1773-1814 married Anna Nancy Stock, 1780-1865 A Anna Ranck, ...

The above is a quote from this book (not available online - only that summary): = A Sauder family history: with ancestors and descendants of Samuel G. Sauder and Elizabeth Eaby: 2008 by Elizabeth Ranck Eaby. 

Jean Ranc [712], 1641-1712, was born in France and became a Huguenot pastor in Paris. In 1685, Ranc first fled with his family to Strasburg, Alsace, on the Rhine. He later moved to safety in the city of Mannheim in the Palatinate. The Elector Frederick of the Palatinate withstood the French and maintained his province as a refuge for the Protestant exiles. Manheim became a Huguenot center and Ranc probably resumed his preaching there.

The above is from   Pennsylvania German ancestors: a family history : Frysinger, Schaffner, Royer, Keller and related families in Lancaster, York, Berks, Dauphin and Lebanon counties 1999 by Anne Frysinger Shifflet = alas, also NOT online except that excerpt. 

RootsWeb has an Eby/Aebi genealogy series that may include Jean Ranc as apparently the families are related.  I also suggest research there.


by Chet Snow G2G6 Mach 3 (35.3k points)
+3 votes

To date no evidence has been presented, nor any document found that connects the family of Jean Ranc to the du Ranc (Duranc) family.  

John P. Ranck does a wonderful job of chronicling the history of Jean Ranc and his children as well as their time in Germany before coming to America.

He also points out that there is no evidence connecting the Ranc and du Ranc families.  In reading this paper, I learned that some dubious trees were written and the connection to the du Ranc family was first suggested by a charlatan who was selling fake trees.

I spent the last three weeks searching for any possible connections and I was able to find that the connection (Jean as son to Etienne du Ranc) is wrong.  Very wrong.

The first thing we should look at are the family names.  Even cadet sons (second and third sons who do not inherit their father's title) keep the family name.  We see that the other brothers of the du Ranc family remain as du Ranc.  Indeed, those related to the du Ranc family who lived at the Chateau de Vibrac also carry the family name du Ranc de Vibrac.  There are many Ranc families in France - those related to the noble family in Montpellier carry the name du Ranc, those who are not related: Ranc.

Paris is a little over 700 miles from the Ranc Chateau near Montpellier.  It is completely unrealistic to think that a pregnant woman would leave the comfort of her chateau to give birth 700 miles away in Paris in 18th century France.

If we look closer at the du Ranc family, we do indeed see a son, Jean, born to Etienne and Jean.  But, he is born in 1642, not in the same year, 1641, as Jean Ranc.  If we search the French records, we can see that Jean du Ranc is indeed a different person than Jean Ranc of Paris.  Jean du Ranc de Vibrac is given his own piece of land and he assumes the role as Lord of Coussargues.

According to Google maps, Coussargues is about 75 miles northwest of the Chateau de Vibrac:,+Durfort-et-Saint-Martin-de-Sossenac,+France/Sauve,+France/Coussergues,+France/@44.0681774,2.8156446,9z/data=!4m20!4m19!1m5!1m1!1s0x12b4138293cd2071:0x2af9cc1b85fb124a!2m2!1d3.979388!2d43.987939!1m5!1m1!1s0x12b4116b8df42c1d:0x4078821166b3560!2m2!1d3.949454!2d43.940731!1m5!1m1!1s0x12b2f693729af2e7:0x7993d78cbd361d6d!2m2!1d2.877042!2d44.413427!3e0

If we dig deeper, we can find (instead of just a family tree) source document translations.  In this case, we see the reading of the will for Bernadin du Ranc de Vibrac:

In part, it says:

"Judgment of nobility

Claude BAZIN, knight, lord of Bezons, adviser of the Roy, steward of the justice, police and finance in the Province of Languedoc, commissioner deputy by His Majesty to carry out the verification of the title of nobility of this.

Between the Prosecutor of the King, .. in execution of the declaration of February 8th, 1664 and decree of the Council of December 24th, 1667, ...

And Noble Marc-Antoine DURANC of VEZENOBRES, Sieur of Vibrac, Jean DURANC sieur of Coussargues his brother, noble Hercule DURANC of VEZENOBRES sieur de Ferrières and Jean DURANC sieur de Valgrand cousins ​​first cousins ​​of this, Marc-Antoine DURANC of VIBRAC sieur de Saint-Sériès captain and Louis DURANC his brother, cousins ​​of said Marc-Antoine - assigned to know Marc-Antoine for Sieur Etienne DURANC his father and the late Hope of DURANC his aunt, Hercules DURANC Ferrières for the late Hercules, sieur de Valescure his ayeul and defendant.

Titles presented:

* Testament of noble Etienne DURANC lord of Vibrac, Saint-Nazaire and other places.."

Clearly, Jean du Ranc and Jean Ranc are two entirely different people.  I think it is time to end the charade that Jean Ranc is the same person as Jean du Ranc and set the record straight.  Especially here at Wikitree.

by SJ Baty G2G6 Pilot (522k points)

This bit in the bio should be removed as it has been thoroughly debunked:

"There is some validity to connect him with Bernadin du Ranc, Seigneur de Vibrac but it is impossible to make a direct connection other than to suggest that he was the younger son, cadet, who did not inherit the title."

+2 votes
I have added to Jean's profile the category link for the Gustave Anjou fraud page.

JP Ranck explains that the Ranck line was a victim of Gustave and his bogus tree may be the source of most (all) of the believed history for Jean Ranck.
by SJ Baty G2G6 Pilot (522k points)

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