The Ranck family history and the Gustav Anjou fraud

+10 votes

I am starting this thread in order to have a place to discuss the early Ranck family history. I am referring to the descendants of Jean Valentin Ranck, specifically, his son Hans Valentine Ranck, his grandchildren, and their families (there is already a separate thread for Jean). There is likely a huge amount of incorrect history related to this family that quite possibly originated from a bogus family tree that was created by Gustav Anjou. You can read about the Anjou fraud in John P. Ranck’s “What do we really know about… "The Origins of our Ranck family?” 

John P. Ranck covers more than just the Anjou fraud. He also covers the four primary histories about the Ranck family, including “The Ranck Family: A Brief Outline of its History” by George Washington Ranck (1841-1904), the second in Mary Carty Ranck’s “Four Revolutionary Ancestors,” next in Cecilia Crane Ranck’s “History of Doddridge Chapel Community,” and lastly in J. Allan Ranck’s “The Rancks of the Rancks.” John P. Ranck does a fine job of picking apart what can be proved through source documents and what has been offered as history without any sources at all. He suggests that a large part of the Ranck narrative may be the result of the Anjou fraud. This means that the majority of the “known” history of the Ranck family that has been circulating for over 100 years is based on fantasy. The problem inflates with each successive generation: books are written citing older books, and those citing yet older books, and each based on an original history that has dubious beginnings.

I highly recommend that everyone who is contributing to the Ranck family profiles to have a read of John P. Ranck’s paper.

Any of the older Ranck histories that are not substantiated with source documents, or even worse, are not documented at all, should be treated as legend. For example, there is no record whatsoever that Jean Ranc was a pastor, nor a Huguenot, nor that he was born in Paris, or even that he is from France at all. It is quite possible that Jean has always been a German.

It is more likely than not that we will not be able to solve the question of his origin (France or Germany) by using source documents. The problem is that there just aren’t any source documents for him during this time period. What we can hope for is to find a Ranc/Ranck/Ronk descendant who has a close enough DNA match to provide some clues. If a DNA relative is found in Paris, that would lend strong credence to the story that he comes from France. If we find a DNA family group in Germany this might give some clues to a Germany ancestry.

Before any profiles in the older end of the Ranck family are changed, the exact source should consulted. If one of the four earlier Ranck histories is used as a source, it should be observed that many of these histories themselves are not sourced and many rely on the fraudulent Anjou history. And some, insert wishful fantasy and supposition without any reference to fact. A case in point is the suggestion that Jean Ranc is related to the Duranc de Vibrac line – this idea has been fully disproved.

Wikitree is all about collaboration. Let’s collaborate and discuss these profiles and make sure that we only register what is fact and annotate when there is doubt.  And with a "lot of cooks in the kitchen," it is bound to get confusing - after discussion and consensus on a change, lets all be sure to leave a comment change narrative so that we can keep track of what's coming and going.

I welcome your comments and contributions.


Hans Valentine Ranck (abt. 1668 - 1710)
Margaretha (Philippes) Ranck (1670)
Heinrich Philippes (1644 - 1683)
Margauerite (Weinkraws) Philippes (1648 - 1672)
Ann Barbara Ranck (abt. 1699 - abt. 1750)
John Michael Ranck (1701 - 1778)
John Philip Ranck (1704 - abt. 1785)
Rosine Katherine Ranck (abt. 1705 - abt. 1712)
Susanna Margaretha Ranck (abt. 1707 - abt. 1780) [Ranck-2] [Ranck-116] (merge pending as of 9 June 2018)
Johann Valentine Ranck (abt. 1710 - abt. 1712)

WikiTree profile: Hans Velten Ranck
in Genealogy Help by SJ Baty G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)
edited by SJ Baty
I'm in the process of rolling back many of these profiles to their earlier state, adding the Anjou category tag & cleaning/organizing as I can.

If any contemporary book is quoted as a source and the information in said book is more than what is available in the source documents (Neckarau church archives), then the book shouldn't just be cited but the information (text) of the material should be quoted and a reference to the source used by the book.  If the source used by the book is one of the 4 Ranck "legends," then the legend should be used and the contemporary book skipped altogether.
Name: Marguerithe Weinkrause
Gender: weiblich (Female)
Relationship: Mother
Spouse: Henri Philippes
Child: Marguerithe Philippes
City or District: Drakenburg u Magdeburg

Source Information Germany, Lutheran Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1518-1921 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2017.

Original data:

Mikrofilm Sammlung.

Originale: Lutherische Kirchenbücher, 1518-1921. Various sources.

btw: is there a date for that record?
Large amounts of the Ancestry Lutheran church records are undated. Rather frustrating.

1 Answer

+8 votes
I couldn't agree more SJ.  When we put in a lot of time into a profile it can be frustrating when there are changes without collaboration.  We all need to communicate before making major changes.

I would also add that anyone that is working on Ranck family ancestors really needs to read and research on the Ranck family website (  It is very well sourced and provides the most up to date research on the family.
by Caryl Ruckert G2G6 Pilot (194k points)
Thanks for best answer Pip!

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