It is virtually impossible to be precise in locating the origins of the Racine family in Europe, particularly in France. This is due in part to the absence of civil records prior to the 17th century. Therefore, we must be satisfied with drawing conclusions from the documents which are available.

With respect to the meaning of the Racine name, Albert Dauzat, author of the Etymological Dictionary of names and surnames of France offers this explanation and provides us with information on the origins of the Racine name: "It is a surname describing a country peasant with a stubborn attachment to the land". The other interpretation, not from Dauzat, bears Frankish origins and recalls the Racineburgs, who were known to be wise and assisted the Counts of Carolingian, the people in charge of administering justice throughout the land. These affirmations seem to fit our ancestors, who greatly enjoyed working the land and also, in the old days, many Racines were educated and were in the practice of law, in the midst of the great families of the kingdom of France.

The Racine surname is mentioned for the first time when the Knight Ponce de Racines, Lord of the Racine manor, married at Pameron de Briel, located in the Champagne area between the villages of Troyes and Auxerre. He served the King of France, (Louis the VII) in the 2nd Crusade which ended in 1149 with the disastrous siege of Damascus.

This illustrious family who had direct descendants in Champagne until the 14th century carries the following Coat of Arms: Azure three left hands appaumée Or.


From the 15th to the 17th century, the descendants of this family appear to have perpetuated with the Racine Nobles of Forgirard and Villegomblain , located in Val-de-Loire. Louis Racine, "Grand Maître des Eaux et Forêts" of Blois city and his son, Francois Racine (1530-1619), governor of Blois city, carried the same Coat of Arms.

The grand-daughter of Louis Racine, Louise de Racine, married in 1565, at Bouffry, Vincent Tascher de la Pagerie. Empress Joséphine, Emperor Napoléon III and the kings of Belgium and Sweden are part of their descendance. And in Normandy, during the 17th century right up to the French Revolution, the Racine who was Lord of Tremblay of Neuville-sur-Authou (parish priest) carried a very similar coat of arms. Needless to say, the Racines who were identified as the Lords of Tremblay, vallots Beaulieu, and those who were considered "common people" can be found in great numbers in Neuville-sur-Authou and the surrounding villages such as Morainville, Le Theil-Othon and Fumichon, the latter being the birth village of Étienne Racine, ancestor of the majority of the Racine families in North America.

One wonders if there exists a family relationship or a link among them? We believe there is, but there are no records that exist today which would allow us to prove our theory.

We find the Racine origins particularly important in the north of France and also in other countries. Here is a partial listing:


Guillaume and Tubold Racine
became established in the village of Castillon en Auge during the period (1225-1270) and probably left descendants in the area.

Guillaume Racine
who can be traced as far back as 1255 in Falaise, probably left descendants in the area. Louise Racine great-great-grand mother of Edith Gassion (Édith Piaf), who is a world renown celebrated singer, is probably part of his descendance.

Guillaume Racine,
surgeon, accompanied the King of France, Good John the 2nd, during his captivity in London from 1357 to 1359. He also left descendants who practiced medicine and law in Liseux before becoming Lords of Boscherville (Eure).

Simon Racine
de Morainville 1579-1599 married Marthe Cauvin and Jacques Racine married Marguerite Maingot in 1640. Their descendants can be traced for two centuries later.

Nicolas Racine
of Rouen 1674-1715 left a many descendants. He is most likely related to Jean Racine, the sculptor of the cathedral in Rouen and Pierre Racine of Saumur, an architect.

Pierre Racine
of Anveville (1620-1698) who married Madeleine Le Prince around 1660, left many descendants in Anveville, Yvetôt, Belmesnil, Dieppe, Rouen, and St. Basile de Madawaska, New Brunswick, (Canada) and Montevideo (Uruguay).

René Racine,
of Fumichon, married Marie Loysel around 1590 and left descendants in the neighboring communities. His son, Etienne, born in Fumichon in 1606 is the common ancestor to the majority of Racines found in North America .


The Racines, Guillaume and Nicolas Racine of Rennes, Lords of Galisson, who were  
probably related, were lawyers, advisors and solicitors of the Rennes Parliament, Senechal of Fougeres and Crepy en Valois during the 15th century. Several Racine families in Brittany were originally from the villages of Baguermorvan and Bonnemain.

It should be noted that the village of Corseul is where you will find the origins of the name Raciné. Later these Raciné became Racine or Racinet in the region, mostly at Ploubalay and St-Lunaire.

Nicolas Racine
bailiff and Lord of Ormoy of Crepy of Valois (Oire)(1617-1694) was knighted by King Louis XIV in 1687 and became the Royal counsel secretary.

He left famous descendants right up to the French Revolution, and some family members were also titled Lord of Jonquay, Baron de Monville, who held several important functions at Alençon, Orleans and Rouen.

This family was probably related to the famous poet Jean Racine (1639-1699) from Ferte-Milon. His uncles were responsible for the salt lofts in that area. In 18th century, the districts of Abbeville, St. Riquier and Brucamps where the origin of several important Racine families.


Jean-Baptiste Racine
born in the parish of St-Severin, Paris (1693-1732) was the son of Jean-Baptiste Racine Lord of Reaumont, officer of the King's office in Paris. He married Marie-Madeleine Gosse in 1720 at Pointe-Noire, Guadeloupe, and left an many descendants in the island.

Léogard Racine
was born in 1580 at Provencheres (Doubs) and left many descendants who provided France with many valiant soldiers. At least 12 of the 28 Racines were knighted into the order of the Legion of Honour. Today we find their descendants in Paris, Marseille, Metz, Besancon and Dijon.

Guillaume Racine
from Le Barboux, was the manor advisor for the seigneury of Reaumont between 1432 and 1437.
François Racine procurator, and
Blaise-Joseph Racine lawyer,
both were members of Besançon Parliament at the beginning of the 18th century.
Guillaume Racine
Born about 1510 at Lamboing (canton of Bern), left a large number of descendants in the area.  Today, his descendants can be found mostly in the canton of Bern and also in many cities of the United States (America)

General notes

  • During the religious wars, several Racines sought refuge in neighboring countries ie: Switzerland, Britain, Germany, and other European countries.

  • This explains the significant presence of the Racines at Chaux de Fonds (Canton of Neuchatel) at Tramelan and Lamboing (Canton of Bern, Switzerland).

    Among these important families there is census data for at least ten Racine names from 1665 to 1825, who practiced the profession of notary and judiciary in the cantons of Neuchâtel or Bern.

    The brothers Aime, Auguste, Frederic and Jacob Racine, from the Canton of Bern, emigrated to the United States about 1865 and settled in Fort Wayne (Indiana) where they left many descendants. Also from the same canton, Abram-Gedeon Racine (1795-1844) and his family settled in Mustapha, Algeria about 1840.

    Mount Racine, (elevation: 1439 meters), near Le Locle, Canton of Neuchâtel, will always be a reminder of their historical presence.

  • Today there are more than 1500 Racines residing in France, 600 in Switzerland, and more than 100 in the others European countries.