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About us

Modern day Rankins descend primarily from individuals who were at one time Scottish, Irish, or English, around the time when fixed family surnames became common. Fixed surnames were adopted to varying degrees between the 13th and 17th centuries AD, first among the social elite, and later more broadly. The people who lived in the British Isles at that time and who adopted or were assigned the Rankin surname came from a wide variety of genetic origins, including ancient Stone Age Europeans, Bronze Age Celtics, Roman Era arrivals, Germanic (e.g. "Anglo-Saxon") tribes, and Nordic / Viking / Norman peoples.

There are currently nine defined Rankin Lineages, each consisting of members who are related to each other paternally within a genealogical time frame. Their common ancestor may not yet be known. Nonetheless, each member of a Lineage is proven by Y-DNA to be related to the other members of that Lineage through their paternal line.

In contrast, the members of one Lineage are unrelated to the members of other Lineages. There are also individual Rankin project members who do not yet match any other Rankin project members. Of course, all of these Rankins, and indeed all humans, are related in the ancient mists of prehistory.

Rankin Lineage 1 is of Viking / Nordic origin. Lineage 2 is of Germanic / Anglo-Saxon origin. Lines 3, 5, 6, 7 and 9 are all Celtic. Lines 4 and 8 are associated with other groups, including Ice Age and Stone Age nomadic Europeans. More information on each Lineage is provided below.


All of the earliest known Rankin ancestors of members in Lineage 1 lived and died in Guilford or Iredell County, North Carolina or New Castle County, Delaware. All were Scots-Irish and staunchly Presbyterian. The earliest immigrants doubtless arrived in one of the Philadelphia ports in the early 1700s, when the Great Migration of Scots-Irish was underway. One L1 ancestor is known to have come to Pennsylvania from Letterkenny Parish, County Donegal, Ulster. Family tradition in another branch says that the immigrant ancestor was born near the River Clyde in Scotland, although he also likely came to the Colonies from Ulster.

Lineage 1 descends from the strongly Slavic, Baltic, and Nordic branch of Haplogroup R1a (R-M420). Further downstream of R1a, additional Y-DNA mutations Z289, Z284, and L448 are all closely associated with the late Viking Expansion into Scotland, Ireland, and England, including both Dane and Norman ("Northman"). These were likely among the later arrivals to Britain, compared to the earlier Stone Age arrivals, Bronze Age Celtics, Romans, and post-Roman waves of Germanic immigration (e.g. Angles, Saxons, Jutes).

Lineage 1 ("L1") has two sub-lineages: Robert and Rebecca Rankin of Guilford Co., NC (L1A) and Joseph and Rebecca Rankin of New Castle Co., DE (L1B). Robert was definitely the original immigrant in L1A. Joseph was probably the original immigrant in L1B. No common ancestor for the two lines has been found. Y-DNA results establish a low probability that there is a common Rankin ancestor on this side of the Atlantic. He probably exists around 1400, plus or minus a century, and almost certainly in Scotland.

L1A Robert and Rebecca came to the colonies in 1750 from County Donegal, Ireland, according to the autobiography of a grandson. There is no known evidence of L1B Joseph’s country of origin, although it was most likely either Scotland or Ireland. Both Rankin families first appeared in county records in the area around the Philadelphia ports, where most Scots-Irish immigrants landed during the “Great Migration” from Ulster. See the article about the Scots-Irish at http://digupdeadrelatives.com/2018/12/28/reprise-scots-irish-anyway/ by copying and pasting the link in your browser window.

L1A Robert and Rebecca’s family first appeared in the records in Chester County, PA. Robert and George Rankin, either father and son or brothers, were on the 1753 tax list for West Nottingham Township in Chester. Robert and George received so-called “Nottingham Company” land grants in Guilford (then Rowan) County, NC. According to a grandson's autobiography, they migrated to North Carolina in July 1755.

Robert and Rebecca’s children were almost certainly adults when they arrived in Pennsylvania in 1750. Two sons, Robert and George, are proved. There is convincing circumstantial evidence in the Rowan and Guilford records for other children, including a son John and daughters Ann Rankin Denny (wife of William Denny Sr. of Guilford), Margaret Rankin Braly or Brawley (wife of Thomas Braly), and Rebecca Rankin Boyd (wife of John Boyd). 

The David Rankin who died in Iredell Co., NC in 1789 (wife Margaret, birth surname unknown) may also have been a son of Robert and Rebecca. Y-DNA results establish that David and Robert were close genetic relatives, although there seems to be no paper evidence of a family connection. There has also been speculation among Rankin researchers that Samuel Rankin of Lincoln/Gaston (wife Eleanor "Ellen" Alexander) was a son of Robert. Y-DNA has also disproved that possibility, see an article on that issue at this link: https://wp.me/p7CQxS-ap. Descendants of Samuel and Eleanor do not even remotely match members of either Lineage 1A or 1B.

L1B Joseph of Delaware arrived in the colonies before Robert and Rebecca. He is probably the Joseph Rankin who appeared as a “freeman” (i.e., unmarried and not a landowner) on a 1729 tax list in London Britain Township in Chester Co., PA. By 1731, he had acquired a tract on White Clay Creek in New Castle Co., DE, a short distance away from London Britain Township. Joseph had four sons proved by deeds (Joseph Jr., Thomas, John and William), two sons proved by strong circumstantial evidence (Robert and James), and a daughter Ann proved by a brother's will. Joseph Sr. is buried at Head of Christiana Presbyterian Church in Newark, New Castle County. His 1764 tombstone still exists. Rev. Samuel M. Rankin's book about the Rankin and Wharton families speculated that Samuel Rankin of Lincoln Co., NC (wife Eleanor "Ellen" Alexander) was also a son of Joseph of Delaware. Y-DNA testing has conclusively disproved that theory. 

Based on birth dates that are known, Joseph’s children were born in Delaware. Two of his proved sons – John and William – moved to Guilford Co., NC. Probable son James almost certainly moved to Washington Co., PA; here is a link to an article about him. https://wp.me/p7CQxS-yd. Joseph Jr. and Thomas remained in New Castle. Probable son Robert's migration is unknown. Descendants of John and William have Y-DNA tested, and the two men who tested are a close genetic match. There seems to be no evidence of the birth surname of Joseph's wife, except that she was named Rebecca, birth surname unknown. Joseph and Rebecca were almost certainly married in the colonies. There is no known evidence of either Joseph's or Rebecca's family of origin. 

An outline descendant chart for Lineage 1 appears below. There is no information for anyone born after 1900 in order to protect members' privacy.


1 Robert Rankin, d. abt 1770 Guilford NC. wife Rebecca MNU. Immigrants to Chester Co., PA from County Donegal, Ireland. Here is an article about 4 Robert Rankins of Guilfordhttps://wp.me/p7CQxS-q9 

  2 Robert Rankin, d. 1795 Guilford NC. Wife uncertain. Many researchers identify a Jean Denny, although she was most likely his niece. She probably married the Robert Rankin from Iredell Co., NC, son of David.

    3 George Rankin, b. 1767 Guilford NC d. McNairy TN 1851. Wife Nancy Gillespie.

      4 John D. Rankin, b. 1816 Guilford NC d. 1870 McNairy TN. Wife Mary (“Polly”) Kerby.

        5 Francis Marion Rankin, b. 1836 TN d. 1890 McNairy TN. Wife Louisa Elizabeth James.

          6 Robert W. Rankin, b. 1860 TN, d. 1919 Chester, TN. Wife Margaret J. MNU.

          ... Project participant

      4 Robert Rankin, b. 1792 Guilford NC, d. 1845 Pope AR. Wife Isabel Rankin, also a great-grandchild of Robert & Rebecca Rankin.

        5 Reuben Burr Rankin, b. TN 1834 d. 1909 Franklin AR. Wife Nancy Elizabeth Nash.

          6 George Alver Rankin, b. Crawford AR 1868 d. Franklin AR 1938. Wife Ollie Delana Francis.

          ... Project participant

  2 George Rankin, d. Rowan NC 1760. Wife Lydia Steele.

    3 Robert Rankin, b. 1759 Rowan d. 1840 McNairy TN. Wife #1 Mary (“Polly”) Cusick, wife #2 Mary Moody. Revolutionary War vet.

      4 Isabel Rankin, b. 1791 Guilford d. 1861 Pope AR. Married her second cousin Robert Rankin b. 1792, see above for their line.

  2 David Rankin, d. Iredell NC 1789. Possible son of Robert & Rebecca. Wife Margaret MNU.  

    3 Robert Rankin, b. abt 1748, d. abt 1834, Gibson TN. Wife Jean, probably Jean Denny. They had a son named Denny. Here is a link to an article about Robert: https://wp.me/p7CQxS-5Y 

      4 James Rankin, b. 1778 d. 1854 Iredell NC. Wife Elizabeth McMin.

        5 James Rankin, b. 1807 d. 1890 Iredell NC. Wife #1 Frances (“Frankey”) Mayhew, #2 Patsey Little.

          6 George Lee (or Leroy) Rankin, b. 1833 NC d. 1909 NC. Wife Margaret Mills.

            7 George Whitfield Rankin, b. 1874 Iredell NC, d. 1942 Iredell NC. Wife Sara Jane Parker.

             ... Project participant

          6 Osborne Tatum Rankin, b. 1852 Iredell NC d. 1918 Rowan NC. Wife Amanda Isabella Shuford.

            7 James Daniel Rankin, b. 1875 Rowan NC d. 1966 Watauga NC. Wife Tula Roberta Abernathy.

           ... Project participant


1 Joseph Rankin, b. unknown 1704 d. New Castle, DE 1764. Wife Rebecca MNU. Here is an article about Joseph and his family: https://wp.me/p7CQxS-te

  2 John Rankin, b. abt 1736 New Castle DE d. 1814 Guilford NC. Wife Hannah Carson.

    3 Robert Rankin, b. 1780 Guilford NC d. 1866 Guilford NC. Wife #1 Margaret Scott, #2 Margaret Patterson.

      4 Robert C. Rankin, b. 1830 Guilford NC d. Alamance NC. Wife Mary Ann McLean.

        5 James R. Rankin, b. 1860 Guilford NC d. 1938 Vance NC. Wife Minnie Rowland.

          6 James Rowland Rankin, b. 1894 Vance NC d. 1945 Wayne MI. Wife Charlotte Knudsen.

          ...Rankin who tested and his results are confirmed by a match who is a Project member; he does not participate in the Rankin Project.

  2 William Rankin, b. 1744 New Castle DE d. 1804 Guilford NC. Wife Jane/Jennet Chambers.

    3 John Chambers Rankin, b. 1781 NC d. 1858 Rowan NC. Wife Tabitha Wharton.

      4 Watson Wharton Rankin, b. 1814 NC d. 1857 Cabarrus NC. Wife Sarah Elizabeth Alexander.

        5 Watson Wharton Rankin (Jr.) b. 1852 d. 1906. Wife Margaret C. Houston.

          6 Dr. Fred Wharton Rankin b. 1886 Catawba NC d. 1954 Fayette KY. Wife Edith Mayo.

         ... Project participant


Rankin Lineage 2 (“L2”) is the largest Y-DNA lineage in the Rankin family project. There are currently more than two dozen Rankin Project members whose Y-DNA results place them in L2. The family lines represented in the lineage are diverse, although the Y-DNA results are not. The group members are relatively closely matched genetically, suggesting that there may be a common ancestor no earlier than 400-500 years ago. The common Rankin ancestor is probably in Scotland, although Ulster is also a possibility. The immigrant ancestor of many of the L2 members first appeared in Pennsylvania or Virginia during the "Great Migration" of Scots-Irish from Ulster. From there, they spread west into the Ohio Valley or south and southwest into Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee.

Genetically, L2 belongs to one of the largest Haplogroups in Western Europe, R1b (R-M343) and its downstream R-M269, the Western Atlantic Modal Haplotype ("WAMH"). Further downstream, L2 descends from the distinctively "Germanic" R-U106 haplogroup, with additional distinctive downstream SNPs L48 and Z9. These represent a possible later addition to the Scots-Irish family tree, descending from similar genetic stock as Angles, Saxons, and Jutes. No other known Rankin lineages descend from R-U106 at this time, although a couple of ungrouped individual members do also have R-U106+.

Thus far, there are six identifiable Rankin sub-lineages in Lineage 2. There are also a number of L2 members who are "one of a kind," meaning their last known Rankin ancestor isn’t shared (so far as is known) with another L2 member. Some members of L2 are “one of a kind” only because they have provided no information about their Rankin family trees, although they may well belong in one of the six known L2 families.

The known L2 family lines having more than one member in the project are: 

(1) Lineage 2A, the line of John Rankin d. 1749 in Lancaster Co., PA; 

(2) Lineage 2B, the line of Samuel and Eleanor ("Ellen") Alexander Rankin of Lincoln/Gaston Co., NC; 

(3) Lineage 2C, the line of David and Jeanette McCormick Rankin of Frederick Co., VA;

(4) Lineage 2D, the line of the brothers Joseph and Benjamin Rankin of Armstrong/Clarion Counties, PA;

(5) Lineage 2E, the line of William Rankin of Indiana Co., PA and very close genetic relative William Rankin m. Ursula Keene; and

(6) Lineage 2F, the line of William Rankin of Fayette Co., PA.

Members of Lineage 2 who don't yet have a common ancestor or SNP variant with another member of L2 are designated "Lineage 2U" on the DNA results chart.

Lineage 2A, Line of John Rankin d. 1749, Lancaster Co., PA

Lineage 2A ("L2A") is the Rankin family line memorialized on the bronze tablet in the Mt. Horeb Cemetery in Jefferson Co., TN. Here is a link to an article which identifies facts, assertions lacking evidence, and plain errors in the Mt. Horeb legend. https://wp.me/p7CQxS-ed. Lineage 2A consists of descendants of John Rankin who died in 1749 in Lancaster Co., PA. His wife is identified in family oral history as Mary McElwee, although there is no known evidence on the issue. John’s will named his widow Margaret (rather than Mary), sons Thomas and Richard, six daughters, and two sons-in-law. All of the L2A members are descended from John’s son Thomas, who appeared briefly in the records of Cumberland Co., PA, moved to Augusta Co., VA for a time before migrating to east Tennessee. No member of the Rankin project self-identifies as a descendant of John's son Richard, who moved from Pennsylvania to Augusta Co., VA, where he died.

John d. 1749 was reportedly (according to the Mt. Horeb tablet) a son of William Rankin and grandson of Alexander Rankin of the Scotland “Killing Times” and the 1689 Siege of Londonderry. Hazel Townsend, who is descended from John, has done research in Ireland. She found no evidence that John was a son of William, or that William was a son of Alexander. In light of Hazel’s research, the outline descendant chart below does not include either William or Alexander and, instead, focuses on the line that can be proved. As with Lineage 1, there is no information for persons born after 1900.

1 John Rankin, d. 1749, Lancaster Co., PA. Will named widow Margaret. He had two sons and eight daughters.

  2 Thomas Rankin, b. 1724, PA, d. 1812. Wife Isabel Clendenon. Family oral history says that he was a Revolutionary War Captain, although that is highly unlikely. An article with evidence on that issue can be found at this link: https://wp.me/p7CQxS-zA.

    3 John Rankin, 1754 - 1829. Wife Jane/Jenny Waugh. Blount Co., TN.

      4 John Rankin, b. 1781, d. aft. 1870. New Albany, Indiana. Wife Jane Wouk. This is the famous abolitionist.

        5 Campbell Rankin, b. 1807, d. aft 1880. Livingston, KY. Wife Mary Ellen Prather.

          6 William Sanders Rankin, 1848-1925. Wife Elizabeth Hovious.

            7 John Albert Rankin, 1878-1918, KY. Wife Ada M. Ryan.

            ... Project participant.

       4 Samuel W. Rankin, b. 1794, d. 1884, Blount Co., TN. Wife Isabella McClure or Ewing.

         5 William Walter Rankin, b. 1838, TN, d. 1910, Macon Co., NC. Wife Rebecca Sylvane Moore.

          6 Jesse Moore Rankin, b. 1884, NC, d. 1970, Baker Co., OR. Wife May Imogene McConnell. 

          ... Project participant. The above line has a weak link; please verify before using.

    3 Richard Rankin, 1756 - 1827. Wife Jennett/Jane Steele. Jefferson Co., TN.  

      4 Samuel Steele Rankin, 1784-1859. S. Wife #1 Mary White, #2 Ethelinda Balch.

        5 David Steele Rankin, b. 1813 IL d.1898 KS. Wife Matilda Mickelson.

          6 Samuel Joseph Rankin.

          ... Project participant.

       4 Robert Henderson Rankin, b. 1810 - d. 1840 Cass Co., IN. Wife Eliza Rowe Lowry Adams.

        5 John Knox Rankin, b. 1837 - d. 1915, Douglas Co., KS. Wife #1 Laura Finney; wife #2 Augusta Fisher.

          6 John Karl Rankin Sr., b. 1880.

          ... Project participant.

    3 Thomas Rankin, 1764 - 1821. Wife Jennett Bradshaw. Jefferson Co., TN.

      4 William Rankin, 1796 - 1871, Jefferson Co., TN. Wife Susan Kimbrough.

        5 Mark T. Rankin, b. 1841, Jefferson Co., TN, d. 1913, Coles Co., IL. Wife Nancy Jane Newman.

          6 William Patrick Rankin, b. 1867, Jefferson Co., TN, d. 1942, IL. Wife Ella Brown.

          ... Project participant.

      4 Christopher Rankin, 1809-1881, Jefferson Co., TN. Wife Frances George Galbraith.

        5 John Fain Rankin b. 1840 d. 1917. Wife Martha Williams.

          6 George Elbert Rankin b. 1870 d. 1951. Wife Mary Middleton.

          ... Project participant.

        5 Christopher Houston Rankin, 1851-1932. Jefferson Co., TN. Wife Catherine Ruth Franklin.

          6 Frank Walter Rankin, 1875-1962. Jefferson Co., TN. Wife Lula Belle Sharp.

          ... three Project participants.

Lineage 2B, Line of Samuel and Eleanor ("Ellen") Alexander Rankin

Lineage 2B (“L2B”) is the line of Samuel and Eleanor (“Ellen”) Alexander Rankin of Rowan, Tryon, Mecklenburg, and Lincoln/Gaston Counties, NC. There are several misconceptions about Samuel and Eleanor that persist among online family trees. Here is a link to an article addressing some of those errors: https://wp.me/p7CQxS-90. One myth is that Samuel was a son of either Joseph Rankin of Delaware (see Lineage 1B, above) or a son of Robert and Rebecca Rankin of Guilford Co., NC (Lineage 1A). Both of these possibilities are conclusively disproved by Y-DNA. Another myth claims that Samuel and his wife were married in Pennsylvania, although her family of origin (her parents were James and Ann Alexander) was already in Anson/Rowan County by at least 1753. Here is a link to an article about her charming Alexander family: https://wp.me/p7CQxS-3h. Samuel and Eleanor were married about 1759, almost certainly in Rowan. There is no evidence of Samuel’s birthplace. The oral family history of one of Samuel’s descendants claims that he was the original immigrant in his line. His nickname was "Old One-Eyed Sam."

Samuel’s tombstone at the Goshen Grove Presbyterian Cemetery in Gaston Co., NC no longer exists, although his wife's stone (possibly a replacement) does. A WPA cemetery survey in the 1930s transcribed his tombstone inscription to say that he was born in 1734 and died in 1816, which is consistent with the records. His will was dated 1814, but wasn’t probated until 1826. His last appearance in the Lincoln Co., NC records was in June 1816. He left most of his surviving children (his son Richard predeceased him) a token bequest, devising the bulk of his estate to his son James. Lincoln Co. Will Book 1: 37. Samuel and Eleanor’s children either remained in the Lincoln/Mecklenburg/Iredell area or moved to Arkansas, Rutherford Co., TN or Shelby Co., IL.

1 Samuel Rankin, 1734-1816, Rowan/Mecklenburg/Lincoln Co., NC. Wife Eleanor "Ellen" Alexander, daughter of James and Ann Alexander. 

  2 Robert Rankin, b. 1765 NC d. 1845, Shelby Co., IL. Moved from NC to Rutherford Co., TN, then to Shelby Co. Wife #1 Sarah Farrar, #2 Sarah McAllister.

    3 Samuel Rankin, 1803-1891. Wife Rebecca Hiatt. Moved to Shelby Co., IL.

      4 Greenberry Rankin, b. 1861 Shelby Co., IL d. 1945, Macon Co., IL. Wife Sarah Margaret Giles.

        ... Project participant.

  2 David Rankin, b. 1768, NC, d. 1830, Rutherford Co., TN. Wife Anne Moore Campbell.

    3 Joseph Breden Rankin, b. 1816, Rutherford Co., TN, d. 1891, Shelby Co., IL. 

      4 James H. Rankin, b. 1841, Rutherford Co., d. 1915, St. Clair Co., AL. Wife Sarah J. Hutchinson.

        5 Joseph P. Rankin, b. 1875, AL, d. 1959, St. Clair Co. Wife Ola or Ollie.

        ... Project participant.

    3 Robert Donnell Rankin, b. 1811, Rutherford Co., d. 1899, Bedford Co., TN. Wife Matilda Liza Lynch. See 1850 census, Bedford.

      4 David Gray Rankin, b. 1840-42, d. 23 Apr 1901. Married Laura Theressa Erwin, Bell Buckle, Bedford Co., TN.

        5 Robert Erwin Rankin, b. Mar 1868, TN, d. 1924, Abilene, Taylor Co., TX. Wife Annie May Scharbauer.

          6 Robert Christian Rankin, b. 1898, Midland Co., TX, d. 1984, Abilene, Taylor Co., TX.

          ... Project participant.

  2 Richard Rankin, b. 1769, NC, d. 1804, Mecklenburg Co., NC. Wife Susannah Doherty. Here is a link to an article about Richard's family: https://wp.me/p7CQxS-8I

    3 Samuel Rankin, b. abt 1799, Mecklenburg Co., d. 1862, Jefferson Co., AL. Wife Mary F. Estes, daughter of Lyddal Bacon Estes and "Nancy" Ann Allen Winn.

      4 John Allen Rankin, b. Tishomingo Co., MS 1843, d. Haynesville Par., LA, 1888. Wife Amanda A. Lindsey, d/o Edward Buxton Lindsey & Elizabeth Jane Odom. John was a Civil War deserter. Here is a link to an article about him and Amanda: https://wp.me/p7CQxS-2f

        5 John Marvin Rankin, b. LA, 1875, d. Bienville Par., LA, 1932. Wife Emma Leona Brodnax, d/o James Harper Tripp Brodnax and Susan Demaris Harkins.

          ... Project participant.

  2 James Rankin, b. 1777 NC, d. 1832, Lincoln Co, NC. Wife Mary Johnson.

    3 James Alexander Rankin, b. 1830, d. 1881, Lincoln Co., NC. Wife Sarah Elizabeth Cloninger. 

      4 Robert Benjamin Rankin, 1870-1957.

      ... Project participant.

Lineage 2C - Line of David and Jenette McCormick Rankin of Frederick Co., VA.

David’s line is apparently represented by three project members, although one hasn’t posted an ancestry except to state he is descended from “David Rankin b. 1691 in Londonderry,” presumably the same man as the David Rankin who died in 1768 in Frederick Co., VA. He is not shown on the descendant chart below.

David left a Frederick Co. will naming his wife Jennett and four children: sons Hugh, William, and David Jr., and a daughter Barbara. Frederick Co., VA Will Book 3: 443. Many online trees identify David Sr.’s wife as Jennett Mildred, although all of the records involving Jennett identify her without a middle name or initial. Those trees have probably conflated David Sr.’s wife Jennett with a Mildred Rankin who was married to a different David Rankin, one of David Sr.’s and Jennett's grandsons.

David Jr. married Hannah Province or Provence, probably in Frederick County. Their line is represented by two Rankin project participants. David Jr. moved from Frederick to Washington Co., PA and then to Harrison Co., KY, where he died. David Jr.’s brother William also moved to Washington County and died there in 1799. William left a large family, although no known descendants have tested and joined the Rankin project. Some of Hugh’s line probably moved to Kentucky and then to Ohio.

1 David Rankin (Sr.), d. 1768, Frederick Co., VA, wife Jennett McCormick.

  2 David Rankin (Jr.), b. 1726 - d. abt. 1796, Harrison Co., KY. Wife Hannah Province/Provence.

    3 Thomas Rankin, b. 1751 - d. 1820, Harrison Co., KY. Wife Hannah Jane Montgomery.

      4 John Rankin, b. 1773-74, d. 1834? Wife Susannah Catherine "Casey" Hunt.

        5 George Hunt Rankin, b. 1798, Harrison Co, KY, d. 1844, Obion or Weakley Co., TN. Wife Martha "Patsey" Fields.

          6 George Ezra Rankin, b. 1828, Williamson Co., TN, d. 1877, Obion Co., TN. Wife Susan M. Phelps.

            7 George Thomas Rankin, b. 1870, Williamson Co., TN, d. 1928, Brookhaven, MS. Wife Dora Ada Sane.

            ... Project participant

          6 Thomas Walter Rankin, b. 1843

            7 Benjamin Maynard Rankin, b. 1872, Monroe Co., GA, d. 1958, Bibb Co., GA. Wife #1 Mamie Erwin, #2 Janie Batton.

Lineage 2D, line of brothers Joseph d. 1839 and Benjamin d. 1845, of Armstrong/Clarion County, PA

There are many online family trees that list “Steen” as Joseph’s middle name. There is no known evidence in any county records or other documents for the middle name or even the initial "S." 

These two brothers have a colorful history, although evidence is unknown. Joseph and Benjamin Rankin reportedly fled Ireland for their lives after being caught poaching rabbits on the king's land. They arrived in Massachusetts from Ireland in 1798. Many unproved histories claim they were sons of William Rankin b. 1745 County Donegal, IRE d. 1833 Ulster and his wife Jane Steen; William was allegedly a son of Benjamin Rankin, b. 1719 IRE d. 1810 IRE, and his wife Rachel Hill. The ancestry chart below excludes these unproved ancestors and begins with what is proved. 

There are also other alleged sons of William Rankin, reportedly Joseph and Benjamin's father, but no one claiming that descent has Y-DNA tested.

Joseph and Benjamin Rankin reportedly landed in Boston, Massachusetts on June 18, 1798. They married two Johnston sisters of New York, in New Jersey; Benjamin to Lettice and Joseph to Elizabeth Jane. On April 14, 1802, they entered Pennsylvania and stayed with Johnston relatives in Mifflin County before settling in Armstrong County. In 1805 they bought one hundred acres on Catfish Run, Toby Township, Clarion County, PA.

Joseph’s will (dated 4 Mar 1839 in Armstrong County, PA) names wife Elizabeth; sons James, David, Joseph, William, Benjamin; daughters Jane, Rachel, and Elizabeth; executors James and David Rankin; and witnesses William Rankin (?) and David Mortimer.

One current L2D project member descends from Joseph’s third son, Thomas “William” Rankin, while another descends from Joseph’s fifth son Joseph A. Rankin. These two descendants are confirmed DNA matches.

 1 Joseph (unproved middle name “Steen”) Rankin b. 1774, reportedly County Donegal, IRE immigrated 1798. Died 20 Jun 1839 Clarion Co. PA. Wife Elizabeth Jane Johnston. His brother Benjamin Rankin was b. aft. 1774. Dromore, Donegal, IRE, d. 17 Dec 1845 Toby, Clarion Co., PA. Wife Leticia Johnston.

      2 James Rankin 1803-1863

      2 David Rankin 1805

      2 Thomas W Rankin 1818-1878. Received his bequest in father Joseph’s will as “William.” Heirs proved by 1887 Estate Partition in Clarion Co., PA)

        3 James Murphy Rankin b. Clarion Co., PA 1846, d. Rose, Jefferson Co., PA 1934. Wife Polly Ann Phelps.

         4 Ephraim Phelps Rankin b. Jefferson Co., PA 1880, d. Cyclone, Mckean Co., PA 1964. Wife Anna Bair.

           5 Norman James Rankin b. 1902 Mckean Co., PA 1902 d. 1979, same. Wife Faye Aharrah.

            ... Project participant.

      2 Benjamin Rankin 1823-1889

      2 Joseph A Rankin b. 1809 (alt. 5 Mar 1811) d. 1903 m. Jane Hillis, Clarion Co., PA

        3 Joseph Lemuel Rankin b. 1852 d. 1936, m1. Martha Jane Travis m2. Matilda “Tillie” Hanst.

         4 Perry Martin Rankin b. 1875 d. 1924, m. Anna Elizabeth “Lizzie” Hartzell

             ... Project participant.     

Lineage 2E, line of William Rankin 1743-1826, Indiana County, PA (wife reportedly Jane Taylor) or his close ancestors.

Lineage 2E has three current members who are Y-DNA matches to each other. The common ancestor of two of them, William Rankin d. Indiana Co., PA in 1826, is often confused with one of the numerous other William Rankins who lived in Pennsylvania in the same era. Among others, William d. 1826 has been confused with William, son of William and Mary Huston Rankin of Franklin Co., PA. The latter was a son of Adam and Mary Steele Alexander Rankin, whose descendants are not a match with the descendants of William d. 1826. Here is link to an article on that issue: https://wp.me/p7CQxS-LP

Lineage 2E members carry a relatively modern SNP, downstream of (or more recent than) the Lineage 2 umbrella SNP R-BY105452, which dates from about 1600 AD. Lineage 2E members carry a SNP named R-FTD51312, which is estimated to have appeared in a man around 1700 AD. None of the other Lineage 2 subgroups carry this SNP, making it a great reference point for Big Y testers to prove their descent from this subgroup.

Two members of this subgroup descend directly from the proven sons of William Rankin m. Jane Taylor, will proven in 1826 in Indiana Co. The will proves two sons, Matthew and William. Well-documented descendants of both these sons are Y-DNA matches to each other:

1 William Rankin b. 1743 d. 1826, Indiana Co., PA. Wife Jane Taylor. Will of William Rankin of Armstrong Twp Indiana Co. da 18 Apr 1822, pr May 1826. Indiana Co., PA WB 1: 140. Wife Jane, Daughters Hannah McKinly, Isabella Miller, Jane McMichael, Mary Miller, and Margaret McMichael. Son Matthew, large Bible. Land divided equally between sons Matthew and William. Residue to wife Jane and two sons. Execs John Thompson, Matthew Rankin. Witnesses Thomas and Joseph Thompson.

  2 Matthew Rankin, b. 1783 or 1785, d. 1847, wife Mary Elizabeth McCullough.

    3 Matthew Rankin, b. 1816, d. 1898, bur. Atwood Cemetery, Plumcreek Twp, Armstrong Co. PA. Wife Margaret R. Elgin.

      4 Hugh Elgin Rankin, 1844 - 1912, Atwood, Armstrong, PA. Wife Ada Malvina Harding.

        5 Wilson Howard Rankin, b. 1884, Atwood, Armstrong Co., d. 1996, Pittsburgh. Wife Elizabeth Olive Prugh.

          6 Howard Earl Rankin, b. 1909, Butler Co., , PAd. 1965, Armstrong Co. Wife Edith Pearl Wagner.

            ... Project participant.

  2 William Jackson Rankin 1788-1870 m. Margaret McHargus Ramsey

    3 William Rankin, b. Armstrong Twp, Indiana Co., PA, 4 Feb 1813, m. Nancy Johnston Anthony (1815-1870) in 1835.

      4 William Wilson Renkin, b. Shelocta, Indiana Co., PA, 13 Jul 1843, d. Bellevue, Allegheny Co., PA 14 May 1922. Married Sarah Heffron Hunter in 1869. She was b. 1848.

        5 William Oran Renkin, b. Pittsburgh, Allegheny Co,. PA, 6 Feb 1875, d. Lancaster, Lancaster Co., PA, 16 Apr 1943. Wife Jane Fulton Stewart, b. Pittsburgh, Allegheny Co., 19 Oct 1878.

           6 William Stewart Renkin, b. 16 Jun 1913, Pittsburgh, Allegheny Co., d. 11 Feb 1967, Lancaster, Lancaster Co., PA. Wife Genevieve Rita Conklin, b. 16 Dec 1911, Manhattan, NY, d. 22 Jul 1990, Lancaster, Lancaster Co., PA.

           ... Project participant.

A third Big Y tester also has this same Big Y SNP which is distinctive to this L2E subgroup alone. The relationship of this third member to William d. 1826 in Indiana Co. has not yet been identified, but his Y-DNA SNP proves he belongs to this lineage. He traces his line to William Rankin of Westmoreland Co., PA, wife Ursula. This William appears extremely likely to be a cousin of the brothers William and Matthew, i.e. therefore also a nephew or cousin of William m. Jane Taylor, progenitor of L2E. We do not currently have a paper trail proving that William (m. Jane Taylor) had one or more brothers or close cousins. But the shared Y-DNA SNP suggests that he must have. His will proves he had two sons, Matthew and William. The son William cannot be the same man as the William who married Ursula, however, because the birth years are different, William and Jane Taylor's son married Margaret Ramsey (not Ursula), and the William who m. Ursula had a brother John.

1 Unknown parents. Some descendants believe this line traces back to Adam and Mary Steele Alexander Rankin (Lineage 3B) through their son William m. Mary Huston. That possibility is conclusively disproved by Big Y and a clear and convincing paper trail. See article at this link: https://wp.me/p7CQxS-LP 

  2 John Rankin, b. MD ca 1800. 

    3 Henry C. Rankin b. abt. 1845, executor of William's wife Ursula Rankin’s will, see next entry.

  2 William Rankin, born MD 1790, d. 1874, Allegheny Co., PA. Wife Ursula Keene. Census records establish that he and his brother John were both born in MD and both of their parents were foreign born.

    3 Barclay W. Rankin, 1825 - 1885, d. Allegheny Co. Wife Jane McCleary.

     4 William James Rankin, 1856 - 1924. Wife Harriet Keeler.

       5 William James Rankin Jr., 1903-1966, Allegheny Co. Wife Margie Herchelroath.

       ... Project participants.

LINEAGE 2F, line of William Rankin of Fayette Co., PA. 

1 William Rankin, d. 1797, Fayette Co., PA. Wife Anne, reportedly Davidson.

  2 William Rankin, b. 1762, d. 1807, Fayette Co. Wife Jane, reportedly Huffman.

    3 Thomas Rankin, b. 1786, Fayette Co., d. 1841, Guernsey Co., OH. Wife Elizabeth Stephens/Stevens. Birth date from family Bible; death date from tombstone and Bible.

      4 William Thomas Rankin, b. 1820, OH, d. 1915, KS. Wife Lucinda Bowman.

        5 Thomas William Rankin, b. 1858, DeWitt Co., IL, d. 1938, Chanute, Nosh Co., KS. Wife Mary Jane Pape or Pope.

         ... two Project participants.


L3 belongs to Haplogroup R1b (R-M343) and the R-M269 (WAMH) group that predominates modern Western European DNA. L3 further descends through the P312 Beaker / Italo-Celtic Bronze Age migration to Western Europe, L21 Celtic, and L159 "Hibernian" (a Latin name which itself borrows from the ancient Greek name for present day Ireland).

There was formerly a separate Lineage in the Rankin surname project. It was originally deemed a separate lineage from L3, because the Y-37 tests of group members did not match. There were, on average, 5 STR differences out of 37 markers, which is not a likely match. As it turns out, that's only because most of the genetic differences that accrued over time happened to occur in those first 37 markers. The rest of the 111 markers match extremely well. On average, L3A and L3B members have 8 differences out of the 111 markers, which is indeed a match. The final proof is that members of L3A and L3B share the same terminal SNP in the Big Y Block Tree. This nucleotide change, or SNP, is a more definitive proof of relationship than the STR tests alone.

The recent Big Y 700 tests in this line prove conclusively that these two known lines - David Rankin of Greene County TN and Adam Rankin of Lancaster PA - are in fact related, with a common ancestor who likely lived between 12 and 16 generations ago. That's about 400 years, or roughly 1600 AD. This is only about 150 years prior to the current oldest known ancestors of each sub-lineage. With further research and additional Big Y testing among the L3 members, there is a decent chance of identifying this historical connection someday.

Lineage 3A

The common ancestor for Lineage 3A is David Rankin Sr. who died in Greene Co., TN in 1802. His will identified seven children but did not name his wife, who evidently predeceased him. David Sr. was reportedly among the “Overmountain Men” who left what was then Washington Co., Tennessee to fight in the Battle of King’s Mountain. That battle was a major defeat for the British in the Southern Campaign. 

There is some disagreement among Rankin researchers about several issues concerning David Sr. First, researchers identify his wife (or wives) as Margaret Kerr, Anne Campbell, both, or neither. Anne Campbell was the wife of a different David Rankin, so she is unlikely. If someone reading this has any evidence regarding the identity of David’s wife, we hope that you will share it in the  “Activity Feed” link at this website or by email to an administrator. 

Another question is where David Sr. lived before coming to Greene Co. in 1783. Many researchers are convinced that David Sr. was the same man as the David Rankin who received a 1771 patent in Bedford Co., VA. In fact, at least one of David Sr.’s children was born in Virginia. There is also circumstantial evidence linking David of Bedford to David Sr. of Greene, both of whom had connections to the Dinwiddie/Dunwoodie family. On the other hand, David Rankin of Bedford was a Quaker, while David Sr.’s son David Jr., his wife, and other family members were Presbyterian. On balance, it seems likely that David Sr. of Greene was the same man as David of Bedford. Again, evidence on any of these issues would be appreciated.

Finally, some online trees and other sources claim that David Sr. of Greene Co., TN was a son of the William Rankin who died in 1792 in Franklin Co., PA  and his wife Mary Huston. William was a son of the immigrant Adam Rankin, who died in 1747 in Lancaster Co., PA, and his wife was Mary Steele Alexander. However, David Sr. of Greene was definitely not the same man as David, son of William and Mary Huston Rankin of Franklin. The latter David, whose proved wife was Frances Campbell, migrated along with some of his children from Franklin to Des Moines Co., Iowa and died there. That is conclusively proved by deeds in Westmoreland Co., PA and by notes from a family Bible provided to Flossie Cloyd in the 1950s.

It may be the case that David Sr. of Greene Co. was the immigrant ancestor for Lineage 3A. It is also possible that the family relationship between Adam and David Sr. may be discovered through testing of new project participants.

Here is an outline descendant chart for Lineage 3A.

1 David Rankin Sr., d. 1802 Greene Co., TN. Wife unproved.

  2 James Rankin b. 1768, d. 1810 Bledsoe Co., TN. Wife Mary Brashear/Breser.

    3 Samuel Rankin, b. 1801 Greene Co., d. 1875 Bledsoe Co., TN. Wife Dicy Brown.

      4 William Franklin Rankin, b. 1831 Bledsoe Co., TN, d. 1895, Garvin Co., OK.

        5 Henry Lonzo Rankin, b. 1883 Denton Co., TX d. 1972, Garvin Co., OK. Wife Sina M. Ray.

          6 Rankin DNA Project Participant

    3 James Rankin b. 1809 Greene Co., TN d. ______. Wife Jane Alley.

      4 James Valentine Rankin, b. 1865, Marion Co., TN, d. 1938, Bledsoe Co., TN. Wife #1 Maggie Levan.

        5 James Milton Rankin, b. 1891 Bledsoe Co., TN, d. 1951, Jackson, AL? Wife Roxie.

          6 Rankin DNA Project Participant

        5 George Morgan Rankin, b. 1900, TN, d. 1978, Polke Co., FL. Wife Lillian M. Banham.

          6 Rankin DNA Project Participant

  2 David Rankin Jr., b. 1776, d. 1836, Greene Co., TN. Wife Jane B. Dinwiddie.

    3 Lewis Rankin, b. 1802 Greene Co., TN d. 1881, Greene Co., TN. Wife Mary Gray.

      4 John Gray Rankin, b. abt 1829, Greene Co., TN, d. 1896 TN. Wife Elizabeth Birdwell.

        5 William Glaze Rankin, b. 1874 Greene Co., TN d. 1956, Edmund, OK. Wife May Haworth.

          6 Rankin DNA Project Participant

Lineage 3B 

Adam Rankin was the immigrant ancestor in his line. His only proved wife was Mary Steele Alexander, widow of James Alexander and daughter of John Steele of New Castle Co., DE. Some researchers claim a prior wife, although there doesn't seem to be any evidence on that issue. Adam's will, written and proved in Lancaster Co., PA in 1747, named his daughter Esther Rankin Dunwoody and sons James, William, and Jeremiah. James (wife Jane/Jean Campbell) and William (wife Mary Huston) lived in Montgomery and Antrim Townships, Franklin Co., PA, respectively. Most of their children remained in PA for at least one generation. They are not difficult to trace, although there are several puzzles among their grandchildren. The third son, Jeremiah, married Rhoda Craig and died in a mill accident in 1760 in what is now Franklin County. His four sons went to Kentucky.

The oral family history claims Adam Rankin died 1747 was the brother of John Rankin who died in Lancaster in 1749. John was the common ancestor for Lineage 2A. However, the L3 genetic descent through R-P312 Beaker, rather than through R-U106 Germanic, disproves that legend conclusively. Put another way, L3B Adam Rankin descendants are NOT related paternally to the descendants of L2A progenitor John Rankin, despite the proximity in place and time of Adam and John.

1 Adam Rankin d. 1747, Lancaster Co., PA, wife Mary Steele Alexander.

  2 William Rankin d. 1792, Franklin Co., PA, wife Mary Huston, daughter of Archibald and Agnes Houston.

    3 Dr. Adam Rankin, b. 1762, Cumberland Co., PA, d. between 1820-1830, Henderson Co., KY. 3rd wife Susan Anderson:

      4 Nathaniel Alexander Rankin, b. 1809, Henderson Co., KY. 2nd wife Martha B. Holloway:

        5 Adam Rankin, b. 1837, KY, d. 1910, Los Angeles. Wife Mary Alice Worrell.

          6 Adam Worrell Rankin, b. 1880, Johnson Co., KS, wife Gertrude I. Gesner.

          ... Project participant

  2 Jeremiah Rankin, d. 1760, Cumberland Co., PA. Wife Rhoda Craig.

    3 Rev. Adam Rankin, b. Cumberland Co., PA, 1755, d. 1827, Philadelphia, PA. There is an article about him at this link: https://wp.me/p7CQxS-kj

      4 Adam Rankin, 1791-1852, wife Sarah ("Sally") Harrison. The couple went to Maury Co., TN, then Chickasaw Co., MS.

        5 Dr. William R. Rankin, b. 1816. Wife Parthenia Lester.

          6 William H. Rankin, 1853-1932, wife Nancy E. M. Gilliam.

          ... Project participant

      4 Samuel Rankin, b. 1784, Augusta Co., VA, d. Fayette Co., TX, 1842. Third wife Hannah Harrison:

        5 Hananiah Luther Rankin, b. 1828, Maury Co., TN, d. 1904, Leon Co., TX. Wife Caroline N. Lane.

          6 Luther Pat Rankin, b. 1844, LaGrange, Fayette Co., TX, d. Ft. Worth, Tarrant Co., TX. Wife Frances Walker.

         ... Project Participant

LINEAGE 4 - STONE AGE IRISH - 3 men tested. The information on these three men is insufficient to construct a descendant chart for the lineage.

Lineage 4 belongs to Haplogroup I (M170). The members' downstream SNP I-M423 establishes the haplotype was among the earliest arrivals in Ireland, with example remains found from Mesolithic ("Middle Stone Age") Ireland.


Rankin Lineage 5 has five members who come from four different families. Their common ancestor is not yet known. L5 is archetypal Rankin, tracing ancestors through traditional genealogy back to the province of Ulster in Ireland and Ayrshire in Scotland.

Big Y tests confirm this line descends from Strathclyde Brittonic ancestors in the area of the Clyde River valley in southern Scotland, and even further back to the Iron Age tribes of the southern Scottish borderlands in the Roman era. The distinctive Big Y SNPs of Lineage 5 include R1b (R-M343), R-M269, P312 Italo-Celtic, L21 Celtic, DF21 Insular Celtic, S424 Little Scottish Cluster, S190 Damnonii and/or Maeatae (Iron Age tribes of the Roman Era), and S425 -- which arose about 400 AD and is now associated with numerous Sloans and Rankins, among other surnames.

David Rankin is the earliest ancestor for one L5 participant without proved roots in Ulster, although he was undoubtedly Scots-Irish. It is estimated that he was born ca 1750. He was married to Mary Cochran and they bought a tract of land he called "Rankins Purchase" in Unity Township, Westmoreland County, PA. David died in 1790 leaving 8 minor children. His wife was also dead by 1790. His will and estate documents prove their children were Daniel, David, Chambers, Matthew, William, Martha (md. Beatty), Margaret (md. Fulton), and Jane (md. Kennedy.) This L5 participant's line continues through the son David who was born in 1776. He married Martha Culbertson and their known children were: John Culbertson Rankin (1805-1897), Chambers Rankin (1805-1835), Culbertson Rankin (1817-1851), David Rankin (1810-1866), and Martha (md. Bisel... 1818-1878.) Most of these children remained in Westmoreland County. Chambers, however, is buried in Bedford County and Culbertson lived in New Lexington, Somerset County, PA.

1  David Rankin b. circa 1750 d. Westmoreland Co., PA, 1790. Wife Mary Cochran.

  2  David Rankin b. Westmoreland Co., PA, 1776 d. Westmoreland Co., PA, 1857. Wife Martha Culbertson.

    3  Chambers Rankin b. Westmoreland Co., PA, 1805 d. Bedford Co., PA, 1835

      4  Franklin Rankin b. Bedford Co., PA, 1834 d. Somerset Co., PA, 1878

        5  Lee Halbert Rankin b. Somerset Co., PA,  1862 d. Mifflin Co., PA, 1956

          6 Frank Robert Rankin b. Somerset Co., PA, 1894 d. Mifflin Co., PA, 1985

   ... Project participant.

Another L5 participant still resides in County Down, now Northern Ireland, in the traditional province of Ulster. The earliest known Rankin ancestor for this line is Michael Rankin, who died in County Down in 1722.

1  Michael Rankin b. Scotland d. County Down, 1722

  2  Michael Rankin (Jr.) d. N. Ireland, 1749

    3  James Rankin d. N. Ireland, 1783

      4  Henry Rankin d. N. Ireland, 1793

        5  Michael Rankin b.1771 d. N. Ireland, 1856

          6 Henry Rankin d. N. Ireland, 1860

            7  William Henry Rankin b.1836 d. N. Ireland, 1908

              8  William Henry Rankin Jr. b.1866 d. N. Ireland, 1940

   ... Project participant.

James and Rosana Rankin, the earliest ancestors in the third L5 family, are buried in County Tyrone, now Northern Ireland. Descendants have located the family acreage and home, a charming farmhouse with a traditional thatched roof. James and Rosana are buried in the Old Donagheady Burial Ground in County Tyrone along with a son. The tombstone is inscribed “Sacred to the memory of James Rankin of Carrickatain who died Nov. 1835, aged 80 years. Also Rosana, his wife, Oct 1834 and his son William, died 29 Jan 1866 age 66.”

William’s widow Matilda and children migrated to Perry County, Alabama. Several are buried in the Marion Cemetery there. The tombstones for Matilda Rankin and her son Anthony state that each of them was born in County Tyrone.

1  James Rankin b. Scotland, 1755 d. County Tyrone, 1835. Wife Rosana. James and Rosana are buried in the Old Donagheady Burial Ground in County Tyrone along with their son William.

  2  William Rankin b. 1800 d. County Tyrone, 1866. Wife Matilda. Widow and children immigrated to Perry Co., Alabama.

    3  John Robert Rankin b. County Tyrone, 1846, d. Perry Co., Alabama, 1903

      4  John Robert Rankin Jr.  b. Perry Co., Alabama, 1899 d. Atlanta, Georgia, 1972

   ... Project participants.

The fourth L5 family's earliest known ancestor is Peter Rankin, who was born in Frederick County, Virginia in 1770 and died in Adams County, Ohio in 1824. All that is known of Peter's father is that his name was Henry. Present-day descendants are in possession of a family journal that notes: “_____ [unidentified] Rankin was born and raised in Virginia, was father of Henry Rankin, who was father of Walter, Ann, [and] Peter Rankin born Fredrick Co Va May 28th 1770 & Died Adams Co Ohio Sep 9 1824. Married Jane Tong Jan 11th 1790 - Loudon Co Va & Died Ohio Sep 8 1824."  This journal was written by Peter's grandson, Alfred Washington Rankin (1827 - 1911). The journal notes that Peter was raised by his Aunt Polly Coe, his mother having died in his infancy, and the author did not know "what become of Henry, Walter, or Ann." The same journal also records that Peter had an older cousin named Daniel Rankin of northern Virginia and Maryland, whose parents are unknown. Both Peter and Daniel are also closely associated with the Coe and Tong families. Daniel Rankin served together with Milburn Coe in the Maryland First Regiment, while Peter was too young to have served in that war. Peter and Daniel and Milburn Coe married three Tong sisters. All of those, along with a Tong brother and his wife, migrated from Virginia and from Prince George’s County, MD to Adams County and Brown County, OH between 1796 and 1801. Peter and Daniel are both found in the Loudoun County VA Militia Records after the Revolutionary War, and on the tax rolls in Adams County OH after 1801.

1  Peter Rankin b. Frederick Co., Virginia, 1770 d. Adams Co., Ohio, 1824. Wife Jane Tong. Both YDNA and Autosomal DNA prove his near cousin Rev. War veteran Daniel Rankin m. Eleanor Tong..

  2  William Walter Rankin b. Adams Co., Ohio, 1802 d. Davis Co., Iowa, 1880. Wife Margaret Francis.

    3  Alfred Washington Rankin b. Adams Co., Ohio, 1827 d. Davis Co., Iowa, 1911. Wife Mary Glover Jennings.

      4  Arch Edward Rankin b. Davis Co., Iowa, 1863 d. Iowa City, Iowa, 1940. Wife Alice Lamb.

        5  Arthur Charles Rankin b. Lane Co., Kansas, 1886 d. Wapello Co., Iowa, 1971. Wife Virdie Ellen Gillespie.

   ... Project participant.

Peter Rankin and his cousin Daniel Rankin married sisters, Jane and Eleanor "Nella" Tong. Peter and Daniel's grandfather is not yet identified. Daniel and Nella had numerous proved children including Daniel, Polly, Samuel, Thomas, Quin, James, Nancy, and John.

1  Daniel Rankin b.1752 d. 30 Apr 1833 Brown Co, OH. Wife Eleanor “Nella” Tong

  2  John R. Rankin b. abt 1809 OH d. 1866. Wife Mary Harbaugh

    3  William Marion Rankin b. 30 Sep 1841 Hamilton Co, IN. Wife Martha “Mattie” Farnsworth

      4  Dr. John Silas Rankin b. 28 Feb 1878 Allerton IA d. 7 Nov 1949 Portland OR. M#1 Maude Gertrude Stewart; M#2 Nellie Larue Depp

        5  Dr. Larome Stewart Rankin b. 8 Nov 1904 Toledo, OH d. 6 July 1947 Portland, OR. Wife Delores “Doris” Geneva Sims

    ... Project participant.


Lineage 6 shares a common pre-historic heritage with many other Rankin lines, from the Italo-Celtic R-P312 and Celtic R-L21 branches of the Haplogroup R1b (R-M343) and Western Atlantic Modal Haplotype (R-M269). The L6 line diverges from the other Celtic R-L21s such as L3, L5, L7, and L9 around 2,100 BC. These Celtic lines all represent likely Bronze Age arrivals to Ireland, Scotland, and England, displacing, absorbing, or outnumbering the earlier Stone Age populations of Haplogroups I and J. But still arriving much earlier in the British Isles than the various Germanic U-106s such as Angles, Saxons, and Jutes, or the even later arrivals representing Viking Expansion and the Normans. The L6 distinctive SNP R-M222 is called "Northwest Irish" or "Ancient Irish". From genetichomeland.com: "Sometimes called Northwest Irish, concentrated in Ireland and western Scotland. Associated with Niall of the Nine Hostages and Ui Neill clans. Britain's DNA labeled this branch: Ancient Irish."

Lineage 6 includes the so-called "Northern Neck Rankins." The earliest known ancestor for each of the six Lineage 6 participants (see outline chart below) was born in Virginia. Four of the L6 lines trace to Frederick Co., VA, one line comes from Stafford Co., VA, and the precise Virginia origin of the 6th is unknown.
Moses Rankin may have lived in Frederick, Fauquier, and/or Loudoun Co., VA. The name Moses (along with Reuben and Benjamin) appears often among the Northern Neck Rankins. The Moses in question migrated to Mason Co., KY from Frederick around the turn of the century. He last appeared in the records of Nicholson Co., KY, which was created from Mason. His wife was Mary “Polly” Gill. They married in 1795 in Mason County. His will was probated in Nicholas Co., but recited that he was "of" Mason Co. Moses and Mary are proved by a Kentucky death record as the parents of the next generation on the chart -- William Rankin, 1808-1877, who died in Robertson Co., KY.
John, born by 1766, lived in Stafford County, VA. His prior whereabouts are unknown. His family, or some of them, went to Licking Co., OH. The paper link between John Rankin of Stafford Co. and the Ohio Rankin family is thin. However, a descendant of the Licking County Rankin family is a definite Y-DNA match with the other Northern Neck Rankin lines.
The second John Rankin in the chart was born in Virginia, county unknown. He migrated to Henderson Co., KY and married Elizabeth Clay, daughter of Marston Clay. John's line there is well-established.
The Robert Rankin on the chart is the Revolutionary War soldier who is buried in the Texas State Cemetery in Austin. His line is unusual in two respects. First, one line is proved by autosomal matches to Rankins who were proved via Y chromosome testing. The Rankin Project has not previously used autosomal in identifying lineages, although we hope to make more use of that tool. Second, two of the participants who are descended from Robert Rankin have one “unknown” link in their line of descent. Two of Robert Rankin’s sons, Thomas Berry Rankin and Joseph Rankin, died at the Battle of Ft. Mims, Alabama in 1813. Robert’s land grant in Texas (then part of Mexico) says he came to Texas with "
tres huerfanos" – three orphans, almost certainly children of one or both of the dead soldiers. The “character certificates,” documentation required to obtain a grant, for William and James Rankin identify them as orphans from Alabama. They were both the right age to be sons of one of the Ft. Mims soldiers. There is apparently no extant evidence regarding the family of either of the two Ft. Mims Rankins. Consequently, it is uncertain which Ft. Mims soldier was the father of orphans William and James. It is certain, however, that they belong in Lineage 6.

Robert Rankin and his brother William have wonderful Revolutionary War histories. Their stories can be found in four online articles: introductions at https://wp.me/p7CQxS-uQ and https://wp.me/p7CQxS-vJ, William's story at https://wp.me/p7CQxS-Eg, and Robert's story at https://wp.me/p7CQxS-wl. Subsequent articles in that series trying to identify their parents generally debunk the accepted wisdom.
No common ancestor has been identified for the four “senior” Rankins in Lineage 6: Moses, two men named John, and Robert. 
A Rankin family (or families) began appearing in Richmond Co., VA in the late 1600s may be the origin of all of them. Families by that name spread westward in Virginia in the counties on the south side of and lying on the Potomac River. By about the mid-1700s, these Rankins had appeared in almost all of Virginia’s Northern Neck counties and into what are now Berkeley and Morgan Counties, West Virginia. Given the relatively early arrival in the Colonies of these Rankins, it is possible they migrated to the Colonies from England rather than Scotland or Ulster, Ireland. The Scots-Irish didn’t begin arriving in the colonies in substantial numbers until the “Great Migration” beginning in 1717. Further, the Northern Neck Rankins lacked the Presbyterian affiliation characteristic of the Scots-Irish.

Here are outline charts for the four families to which the six L6 participants belong:

1 Moses Rankin, b. abt 1765. Wife Mary "Molly" Gill. From Virginia to Mason Co., KY. Owned land in Nicholson Co., KY.
  2 William Rankin, 1808-1877.
    3 Moses P. Rankin, 1854-1941
      4 Claude E. Rankin, 1854-1941.
      ... Project participant

1 John Rankin, b. by 1766, VA. Lived in Stafford County. Wife Isabel Bryan.
  2 Peter B. Rankin, b. 1796, VA, d. 1851, Scioto Co, OH. Wife Margaret Haines.
    3 Martin Van Buren Rankin, b. 1848, OH, d. 1908, Adam Co., OH. Wife Martha Jane Leisure.
      4 Milton V. Rankin, 1883-1955. Wife Glada Newman.
      ... Project participant
1 John Rankin, b. 1785 VA, county unknown, d. 1841, Henderson Co., KY. Wife Elizabeth Clay, d/o Marston Clay.
  2 Abia Benjamin Rankin, b. 1822, Henderson Co., KY, d. 1898, Crittenden Co., KY. Wife Sarah E. Smith. Abe was an interesting character, see an article about his family, with a good bit of info about Abe, at this link: https://wp.me/p7CQxS-px.
   3 James Leonard Rankin Sr., b. 1857 in Henderson Co., d. 1926, Crittenden Co. Wife Alice Lee Hull.
   ... Project participant

1 Robert Rankin, b. VA 1753, d. St. Landry's Parish, LA, 1837. Wife Margaret "Peggy" Berry. Neither Robert nor Margaret ever used a middle name or initial, although internet speculation abounds.
  2 William Marshall Rankin, b. VA Dist. of KY 1786, d. 1857, Montgomery Co., Texas. Wife Sarah Landrum. Lived for a while in Rankin Co., MS, although he was not related to the Congressman for whom the county was named.
    3 William M. Rankin, b. 1837 Montgomery Co., TX d. 1900 after 1900, TX. Wife Matilda Hull.
      4 Thomas Berry Rankin, b. 1870, Montgomery Co., TX, d. 1953, Hardin Co., TX. Wife Annie Laurie Sewell.
      ... Project participant.
  2 Joseph Rankin or Thomas Berry Rankin, sons of Robert who died in 1813 at Ft. Mims. "Orphan William" & "Orphan James" moved from Alabama to Texas with their grandparents Robert and Peggy. AL records don't reveal which of the dead soldiers is the father of either orphan.
    3 Orphan William Rankin, b. AL 1814, d. TX 1859.
      4 James H. Rankin, b. Polk Co., TX 1848, d. San Antonio, Bexar Co, TX 1928. Wife Nebraska Snelling.
        5 John Alvin Rankin, b. 1883.
        ... Project participant
    3 Orphan James M. Rankin, b. AL 1810, d. TX 1869. Wife Elvira Jones.
      4 James Collins Rankin, b. TX 1855, d. TX 1918.Wife Mattie Chittum.
        5 Hill Cornelius Rankin, 1885-1963. Wife Lela Lorena Street.
        ... Project participant


Like the other Celtic lines (L3, L5, and L6), Lineage 7 descends from the R1b (R-M343) and R-M269 (WAMH) haplogroups that constitute the majority of modern Western European DNA. L7 further descends from the WAMH through R-P312 Italo-Celtic, R-L21 Celtic, and then the distinctive L7 SNPs R-Z253 and R-FGC3222. The L7 SNP is associated with both Scotland and Ireland, but doesn't currently have a distinctive place name like the other three Celtic lines have. There is some research indicating that Lineage 7 participants may have a family history tracing back through the Highlands around Lochaber.


Lineage 8, like Lineage 4, belongs to Haplogroup I (M170), which represents a likely Stone Age arrival to Western Europe. However, L8 diverges from L4 around 25,000 BC, so there is not anything approaching a close relationship between the two lines. L8's downstream SNPs include I-M253 "Teutonic" and I-L22 "Scandinavian." The two participants share a SNP dated to about 1700, but their common ancestor is not yet identified. 

Outline chart for Lineage 8 participants. Common ancestor unknown, possibly around 1700.

1 James Pinckney Rankin, b. 1828, allegedly Edgefield Co., SC. Died Apr. 1876, AL. Wife Rachel Ellen Boatwright. Some trees wrongly ID his parents as Jesse and Cynthia Sellars Rankin of Gibson Co., TN. All their children were b. TN, however. Also, the middle name "Pinckney" clearly signals a SC connection.

  2 George Washington Rankin, b. 1855, Blakely, Early Co., GA, d. 1923, d. 1923, Jacksonville, Duval Co., FL or Early Co., GA. Wife Clementine Jernigan. 1910 census, Early Co., GA, age 54, wife Clementine. Son D. Walter Rankin, 21. 1900 census, Early Co., GA, Geo W. Rankin, 45, b. May 1855. Parents b. SC. Wife Clementine. Son Walter D., b. June 1888, GA, parents b. GA. A death certificate in Early Co. G

    3 Walter David Rankin, b. GA 1888, d. 1966, Jacksonville, Duval Co., FL. 1930 census, Tuscaloosa AL.

     ... Project participant.

1 William O. Rankin Sr., b. abt. 1794, d. Lexington Co., SC 1872. Wife Betty Hallman.

  2 John Elmore Rankin, b. 1838, Lexington Co., d. 1906, SC. Wife #1 Alice MNU, wife #2 Elizabeth MNU. Appeared in 1850 census with parents.

    3 Daniel Rankin, b. 1865, Lexington Co., d. 1894, same. Wife Mary Irene Burgess. Appeared in 1880 census with parents.

      4 James Franklin Rankin, b. 1889, Lexington Co., d. 1926, same.Wife Bessie Cockcroft. Parents proved by Lexington Co. death certificate.

       ... Project participant.


LINEAGE 9 - Ireland and PA; Celtic Scottish and Irish (SNP DF41)


Lineage 9 has two members as of October 2023; their common ancestor is unknown. James Rankin, the earliest known Rankin ancestor in one family, was born in County Donegal, Ireland. He migrated to the United States in 1826 and eventually settled in Wisconsin. William Rankin, the earliest known ancestor in the second family, first appeared in Pennsylvania in the mid-1700s. His origin is unproved, although his time of arrival and location suggest he was probably part of the Great Migration of Scots-Irish from Ulster that began arriving in the Philadelphia ports beginning circa 1720. His family migrated from Pennsylvania to North Carolina prior to the Revolution.


Like the other Celtic lines (L3, L5, L6, and L7), Lineage 9 descends from the R1b (R-M343) and R-M269 (Western Atlantic Modal Haplotype, or WAMH) haplogroups that constitute the majority of modern Western European DNA. L9 further descends from the WAMH through R-P312 Italo-Celtic, and R-L21 Celtic. This line departs from the other Celtic lines at the ancestral SNP R-DF41 dating from around 1800 BC. SNP R-DF41 is the line that also spawned the line of Royal Stewarts much later. Below DF41, this line has a shared SNP dating from around 70 BC; the current terminal SNP is still quite old, several hundred to perhaps a thousand years old. 


Family 1 -- James Rankin of County Donegal


1 James Rankin, b. 1804, County Donegal, Ireland, d. 1874, Sussex, WI. Wife Mary Keyes.


2 David Rankin, 1851 - 1922. Wife Angeline Fisher. Lived in Lisbon, Waukesha Co., WI.


3 Walter D. Rankin, ca 1885 - ca 1969. Wife Louise Caroline Manke. Lisbon, Waukesha Co., WI.


... Project participant


Family 2 -- William Rankin of Pennsylvania and North Carolina


1 William Rankin b. unknown, d. 1786, Caswell Co., NC. Wife Victory Alcorn. Migrated from Franklin Co., PA to Orange/Caswell Co., NC. Is often identified as a son of Adam and Mary Steele Alexander Rankin, but that is disproved by Y-DNA.


2 James Rankin, b. 1754, d. 1828, Sumner Co., TN. Wife #1 Elizabeth Fuller. Wife #2 Hannah Fairbush.


3 Jesse Rankin, b. NC 1792, d. 1884, Lafayette Co., MO. Wife Elizabeth Ann Ashley.


4 William M. Rankin, b.  KY 1835, d. 1911 in Lafayette Co., MO. Born Logan Co., KY.

5 George Walker Rankin, b. Odessa, MO, 1876, d. Kansas City, MO in 1960. Wife Ida or Emma Hader.  


... Project participant.