'Donche' in the Haute Savoy,
'Danz' in Germany and the Netherlands...
one family.

The surname Donche is not much in evidence in the world. In fact there are only two areas where the name appears, the Haute Savoy and Flanders. In the Haute Savoy the name is found for the first time in the 'Gabelle du Sel' of 1561, a registration of the population for the sake of the taxation on salt. In the 'Gabelle' the name is listed in two communities, in Viuz en Sallaz and in the nearby St. André de Boëge. It seems that from there the name spreads over the Haute Savoy, and later also further across France. Recently executed DNA-research showed, that the families from Viuz en Sallaz and St. André de Boëge are genetically related, not only mutually, but also to the Donches from St. Jean de Tholome, where the name is found for the first time about 1695.

Migration to other countries is hardly found, except in some cases to the neighbouring Switzerland. One remarkable exception to this rule was made by Joseph Donche from Viuz en Sallaz, who settled down in Cologne in 1763. He married there and raised children, whose names were germanised already at their entry in the baptismal records, at first to Dantz, later to Danz. It is remarkable that the Donche family from Viuz seems meanwhile to have run out in the male line in France, while in Germany and the Netherlands a lot of descendants with the name Danz still exist.

In France the name Donche-Gay is also found. Relationship has not yet been established. But it is not unlikely that a relationship exists, because the name Donche Gay is also mentioned in the Gabelle du Sel in Viuz en Sallaz. Eventually DNA-research can answer this question. Another variation that occurs in France is 'Le Donche'. Since this name is found exclusively in Finisterre a connection to the Donches in Flanders as well as to the Donches from the Haute Savoy is possible, as far as a connection exists.

In Flanders the name has been found much earlier, incidentally as early as 1330. From this family also many descendants can be found today. A relationship between the Donches from Flanders and those from the Haute Savoy has not been found in the archives, DNA-research on this subject has not been done yet.

Gouda, the Netherlands, april 2011
Peter Danz